By Vince Cooper
We all have an era that we feel was football’s golden one. This mostly relates to our own formative years and the stars that were our heroes. The players who, maybe, who knows, we could one day emulate. Three recent books from Pitch Publishing look at three different times in football’s rich and varied past and try to put them in perspective within the game’s history.
Chronologically, first of the three is An End Of Innocence written by Tim Quelch. The book relates specifically to the 1959-60 season and the memory changes that were taking place both on and off the pitch.
The 1959-60 campaign saw a thrilling climax to the season with Burnley claiming the title in the last match of the season, pipping Wolves and Spurs to the crown. The Lancashire men were very much a club of the 50s with the majority of the side coming from the local area and manager Harry Potts having spent most of his war-interrupted playing career at Turf Moor.
Soon after came the rise of the ‘glamour clubs’ and big-money signings but, as Quelch explains, changes were happening on many levels. With P.F.A chairman Jimmy Hill pushing for the abolition of the minimum wage, names like Jimmy Greaves and Brian Clough banging in the goals and the rise in importance of the European Cup and An End Of Innocence explores all of this and so much more in fascinating detail, and looks all the way back to when football restarted after WWII and forward to 1970.
The 70s brings us on to All Crazee Now by David Tossell, which covers English football and footballers of the decade. The decade was packed with players who were entertainers but it also saw the rise of hooliganism, repeated failures by the English national team and, diversely, successes of English clubs in European competition.
Then there was the emergence of players like Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis who helped open the game up to players from all backgrounds and the purchase of overseas players, a trickle that started toward the end of the decade and turned into a flood.
In All Crazee Now covers all of these ares and so much more in a complete and in-depth back at an era in which the balance of power was starting to switch from clubs to players, and the game was switching from the back pages of national newspapers to the front. It’s a great read; if you remember the 70s well it will bring back many memories; if you don’t it will help you understand how football got to where it is today in the national and global consciousness.
Coming even more up to date, when the seagulls follow the trawlers by Tom Whitworth brings the 1990s back to life.
The 90s was the decade when football really became showbiz and showbiz, to some extent, became football. The book’s title comes of course, from an Eric Cantona quote and the Frenchman, along with David Beckham and the Spice Girls epitomise the period the book covers.
Whitworth travelled to London. Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle from his Yorkshire base, spoke with major figures from the time including David Dein and Les Ferdinand and took a close look at the major changes in the game, both on and off the pitch, as the country moved from the bleakness of the Thatcher years to the heady optimism in the country as Tony Blair took charge and England hosted the Euros.
So there you have it. Three books covering three periods and there will be one for everyone and surely in some cases, all three!
An End Of Innocence by Tim Quelch £12.99
All Crazee Now by David Tossell £19.99
when the seagulls follow the trawlers by Tom Whitworth £12.99
Are published by Pitch Publishing and are available from their website (www.pitchpublishing.co.uk) or where all good books are sold