There was a perception during the early days of the 1914-18 war that footballers (or football, as in the institution of the game) was failing in its patriotic duty. This arose from the failure of the Football League to suspend play at the outset of hostilities. Rugby Union footballers were seen to be flocking to the colours as one.
Footballers did, of course, make proportionate sacrifices. Fatalities included Leigh Richmond Roose (Wales and numerous clubs- notably Stoke and Sunderland), Walter Tull (Northampton Town, Tottenham Hotspur), Bradford City's Bob Torrance, Jimmy Speirs, Evelyn Lintott, James Conlin, James Comrie and Gerald Kirk. George 'Gattling Gun' Hilsden (Chelsea, West Ham United and England) was incapacitated by a mustard gas attack having rather ignominiously tried to avoid the call up- he was arrested having hidden in a shed.