The Returning Officer

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Birmingham City FC started life as Small Heath/Small Heath Alliance and played at a ground in Coventry Road. Latterly, however, the ground was known as Muntz Street. George Frederick Muntz had been MP for Birmingham (1840-57) and his brother Philip Henry Muntz sat for the same constituency (1868-85) once it had been expanded to three MPs. George's son Philip Albert Muntz was elected Liberal MP for North Warwickshire from 1884 to 1885, moving to the successor seat of Tamworth (1885-1908) as a Tory.

Lord Ninian Crichton-Stuart was elected MP for Cardiff Boroughs in December 1910, having lost in the January election. In the same year he stood as guarantor for Cardiff City's new ground and it was named after him (Ninian Park). His opponent was the Liberal Sir Clarendon Hyde, who had previously lost at Southampton in 1900 to the Tory MP Tankerville Chamberlayne, president of Freemantle FC, which almost merged with Southampton (St Mary's) in 1897.

This article first appeared in the 09 May 2011 issue of the New Statesman, Beyond the cult of Bin Laden