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Boland, John Pius (1870–1958), politician and tennis player, son of Patrick Boland (1840–1877), businessman, and his wife, Mary Donnelly, was born at 135 Capel Street, Dublin, on 16 September 1870. His father, the wealthy proprietor of the largest bakery in Ireland, died in 1877, and his mother in 1882, leaving their seven children under the guardianship of ...

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Brady, William (1881–1960), bookmaker, was born in Yorkshire Street, Salford, son of John Brady, commission agent, and his wife, Mary, née Hanoran. Known as Billy, he attended St John's Cathedral Boys' School in Salford and went to work with his two brothers at a local cable manufacturing business. He played rugby league for the factory team and later for ...

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William John Bremner (1942–1997) by unknown photographer, 1965 Getty Images

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Bremner, William John [Billy] (1942–1997), footballer and football manager, was born in Stirling on 9 December 1942, and was adopted by James Lobban Bremner, a coalman, and his wife, Bridget Bessie Newlands, on 18 February 1943. He was educated locally at Catholic schools: ...

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Burns, Thomas [Tommy] (1956–2008), footballer and football manager, was born on 16 December 1956 at 43 Soho Street, Calton, in a tenement building in Glasgow's east end, the second of three children of Thomas Burns, steel erector, and his wife, Margaret, née McInnes...

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Sir Matthew Busby (1909–1994) by Sefton Samuels, 1969 © Sefton Samuels / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Busby, Sir Matthew [Matt] (1909–1994), football manager, was born on 26 May 1909 at 28 Old Arbiston, one of thirty-two two-room cottages near Bellshill, Lanarkshire. He was the eldest child of Alexander Busby, a coalminer, and his wife, Helen Greer. It was a hard life made harder when his father was killed at the battle of ...

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Cavanagh, John [Jack] (d. 1819), fives player, was born in Ireland but moved to London and earned his living as a house painter. Ireland was the home of handball, the game from which fives originates; it was established in England by the mid-eighteenth century as a working-class sport played for wagers or rewards. According to ...

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Chisholm, Archibald Macra (1824–1897), army officer and shinty player, was born on 5 July 1824 at Taewig on the banks of the River Glass, in Strathglass, in the parish of Kilmorack, Inverness-shire, the eldest son of Dr Stewart Chisholm (d. 1862), deputy inspector-general of ...

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Learie Nicholas Constantine, Baron Constantine (1901–1971) by Godfrey Argent, 1968 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Constantine, Learie Nicholas, Baron Constantine (1901–1971), cricketer and politician, was born on 21 September 1901 at Petit Valley, Diego Martin, near Maraval, Trinidad, the second child and eldest son of Lebrun Samuel Constantine (1874–1942), cricketer and cocoa estate overseer, and his wife, Anaise Pascall...

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Cooper, Sir Henry (1934–2011), boxer, was born on 3 May 1934 at the Lying-In Hospital, York Road, Lambeth, London, the elder identical twin and second of three sons of Henry William Cooper, tram conductor, and his wife, Lily, née Nutkins. At the time of his birth registration the family lived at ...

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Sir Henry Cooper (1934–2011) by Jim Gray, 1966 © Jim Gray / Keystone / Getty Images

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Cusack, Michael [Micheál Cíosóg] (1847–1906), schoolmaster and a founder of the Gaelic Athletic Association, was born on 20 September 1847 at Carron parish, Burren, co. Clare, Ireland, second son of Matthew Cusack (d. 1868), a herdsman, and his wife, Bridget Flannery (...

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Davin, Maurice (1842–1927), sportsman and farmer, was born on 29 June 1842 at Deerpark House, Carrick-on-Suir, co. Tipperary, the first of five children of John Davin (1814–1859), farmer, and his wife, Bridget Walsh (d. 1884). His parents were both natives of Carrick-on-Suir...

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Basil Lewis D'Oliveira (1931?–2011) by Dennis Oulds, 1968 © Getty Images

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D'Oliveira, Basil Lewis [Dolly] (1931?–2011), cricketer, was probably born on 4 October 1931 in Signal Hill, Cape Town, South Africa, the son of Lewis D'Oliveira (1904–1979), tailor, and his wife, Maria. Uncertainty, however, still surrounds the year of his birth. For some time he claimed to have been born in 1934, but later confessed that, had someone suggested he was nearer forty than thirty-five when he first played for ...

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Stephen Donoghue (1884–1945) by Bassano, 1920 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Donoghue, Stephen (1884–1945), jockey and racehorse trainer, was born on 8 November 1884 at Aikin Street, Warrington, Lancashire, the eldest son in the family of three sons and two daughters of Patrick Donoghue (1862–1936), an iron puddler at the steel-wire works of Pearson and Knowles...

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Robert Dover (1581/22–1652) by unknown artist, 1636 [Dover figure in front centre] © The British Library