The people at Pitch Publishing, one of the foremost publishers of sports books, have certainly been busy and here are six of their new titles with, surely, every football taste catered for.
Divided Cities by Kevin Pogorzelski
The local derby is undoubtedly one of the staples of our beautiful game and we all know the score. Form goes out of the window as crosstown rivals go head to head for local bragging rights. Let’s be honest: Is there anything better than being able to walk down the street the day after your team have just claimed a win over their neighbours?
Kevin Pogorzelski takes us from Liverpool to Genoa and Rome with stops in between in Portugal, Scotland, Hungary, Brazil, Turkey, Argentina, Serbia and Spain to see how the fans from different countries are united by a common cause; the burning desire to put one over on their local rivals.
This book effectively outlines the ultimate road trip for football fans. Between 2018 and 2019, the author visited the cities covered and enjoyed the passion, the differences and the similarities among the clubs and their supporters.
If you’re planning a football-watching journey to any of the countries mentioned, or if you just want to sample what the different rivalries are like, this is definitely the book for you.
The Derby Game by Ian Collis
From the title you might imagine that this book would be a similar read to ‘Divided Cities’.
But this a completely different take even though it’s broadly the same subject. Derby Shrovetide football has it’s own place in the game’s history and this, in fact, is where the ‘Derby’ began.
Shrovetide football was a unique form of the game and it certainly took on a life of it’s own as villages in and around Derbyshire competed with the each to win honour, often regardless of cost.
The Derby Game examines the efforts, ultimately successful, to have the game outlawed and how the local players did whatever it took to keep the tradition alive. It also looks at the links between these original ‘Derbies’ and the current form.
The Derby Game is a fascinating look at an oft-forgotten part of this history of ‘The Beautiful Game’.
The Number 10 by Andy Bullen
There is no doubt that of all the numbers footballers wear on the back of their shirts (and there are plenty of them these days), the number 10 holds a special place.
Eusebio, Pele, Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Messi. The list goes on with so many of the game’s outstanding players having worn this iconic shirt, in many cases for both club and country.
Our author has chapters about all of the players mentioned above along with 13 others whose best football has been played with the 10 on their back. Some greats are left out, for which he apologises, but this just goes to show the esteem wearing this shirt at the highest level means.
There isn’t a set position associated with the number – there’s a huge difference in style of play between Maradona and Luka Modric for example, but the expectations are the same. To be the leader and focus of their team.
You undoubtedly know about all of the players but the writer tries to explain what makes them unique, and what makes them ‘Number 10’s.
Forgotten Football Clubs by Phillip O’Rourke
Every now and then, for one reason or another, football clubs disappear. But many retain support even when they no longer exist.
In ‘Forgotten Football Clubs’ Phillip O’Rourke has scoured the world and uncovered 50 such clubs. From those that almost reached the pinnacle in their country to ones who never even made it out of the lowest level. There are just three clubs from England but those three alone (Aldershot, Chester and Dick Kerr Ladies) make fascinating reading as to what can, and sometimes does, go wrong in football.
O’Rourke has taken things further, tracking down fans of the now-non existent clubs to ask what exactly went wrong in their eyes and also what it’s like to support a club that doesn’t even exist. There are tales of mismanagement and of failed mergers and in some cases the book shows us that the demise can be merely down to a shifting population
These are fifty interesting stories and the book is well worth a read, if nothing else you’ll find out how not to run a football club!
England’s Calamity by Chris Jones
In 1953 Hungary travelled to Wembley to meet England in a prestige friendly. The Magyars, led by the great Nandor Hidegkuti and Ferenc Puskas, thrashed their hosts 6-3 in what many have long said was a seminal moment in English football which, until then, had seemingly considered itself above the rest of the world.
Chris Jones takes a different look and claims that what happened that day was part of the ongoing evolution of the game in its country of birth. Hungary, along with other continental teams, had taken the game and in many ways remade it as more of a team affair and less about putting the best 11 players on the pitch and hoping it works out.
A whole book about one match might be a bit much but Jones cleverly divides things up between how football was before that game, what happened on the day and it’s future ramifications.
England’s Calamity takes that one match as its centre point and revolves the growth of the game both tactically and in terms of it’s participants since, and as such is an enjoyable read.
Fortune’s Always Hiding by Paul Brand
The recent history of West Ham United has been a sometimes bumpy ride. From the closure of the club’s atmospheric East End home at The Boleyn Ground (or Upton Park) and the move to the somewhat sterile Olympic (or London) Stadium. From Premier League battles and often struggles to a magical European run, it has been ‘Never A Dull Moment’ in East London.
Season-ticket holder Paul Brand takes us along on his own rollercoaster ride through the period at a club and shows us the ups and downs that fans of any ‘normal’ clubs go through. It also looks at some of the heroes and villains during this often tumultuous time for the club and the fans.
Fortune’s Always Hiding is a fun read, especially for Hammers devotees, but also for anyone who enjoys the ups and downs and has lived through the highs and lows of being a football supporter.