Grandad – What was football like in the 1970s?

(***** Five out of Five Stars)

I loved this book! Partly because this is the era I grew up in and started going to football matches with my mates, and also because I run a blog devoted to this decade – ‘Once Upon a Time in The ’70s.

I found it took a bit of time to get going, and I was on the verge of giving up, but I’m so glad I persisted. Not unnaturally I suppose, author Richard Crooks focuses very much on his team, Sheffield Wednesday – especially so in the early pages. Nothing wrong with that at all.It would still have been an interesting read overall.

However, the scope of the book widens as you read on, and all aspects of football in England through The Seventies are covered, evoking some really strong memories – even though all my football experiences during the decade (other than a couple of trips to Wembley and one to White Hart Lane) were in Scotland.

Richard paints a vivid picture of the match day experience, covering everything from the players and referees of the time to the grounds and half time refreshments. Pages are als devoted as the means by which matches and results were reported and how e, as fans, would discover how our rival teams fared.

If you’re of a certain age, this book is full of warm nostalgia; if you’re not quite there yet, you’ll realise how spoilt you are now when you go to watch your team.

(OR – are you ….? )

‘Back Next Year!: The Story of Following Stockport County and the 20/21 season’ by Stewart Taylor

(***** Five out of Five Stars)

The book opens with the author attending Edgeley Park for the first time on returning to live in the country, and looking for something different to his Grandfather instilled Man United allegiance. Coincidentally, it was only a few months after this I attended my first County match, having moved down to the area from Scotland.

I can completely identify with the way the Club grabs the fan! I didn’t get to as many games as I’d have liked – Friday nights in those Yuppie years were for staff socialising in the Manchester bars – but I fell in love with the club, standing mainly Pop Side in crowds of @ 1500

I don’t get to see the team live much now I’ve moved back North, but retained my support, and the one ‘good’ thing about Lockdown in 2020 was the fact that all the County matches were streamed.

I didn’t quite make the same number as Stewart did – I missed two due to my own sporting commitments – but it was great to read about and identify with all those matches again.

Very enjoyable read.

‘Get Those Sheep Off the Pitch!: A Life in Non-league Football’ by Phil Staley

(***Three out of Five Stars)

As a non-league fan and fan of grassroots football, I was really looking forward to this one. It’s interesting and easy read and on a football front, it gave a good feel for what it must be like working in a sporting environment a million miles away from the Premier league.

I don’t think fans of the ‘big’ clubs can ever appreciate the time and effort that goes into running a club like those mentioned in this book – and for miniscule, if any, financial reward. There are many hilarious moments / situations in which the author finds himself, but regrettably the attempt at humour didn’t always come across in a good light, hence the three stars.
However, I’d still recommend this one for any fan of Non-League football.

‘We Are Sunday League,’ by Ewan Flynn.

This is a book that pretty much everyone who has ever played amateur football will appreciate.The commitment of the players to the Wizards is to be commended – at times it is more than that evidenced by some superstars of the Premier league. The sort of ‘gang mentality’ sense of belonging shines through every page.
I could identify with pretty much all that was written. It’s now almost 40 years since I was forced to give up amateur football through injury, but like the author, I can still recall individual moments of triumph and glory in specific matches. It’s kind of sad, I know – but hey, that’s us blokes for you.

I did wonder how so many pages could be written about an amateur team, but a few chapters go off on a tangent to deal with specific players and their subsequent careers, which I did find interesting.

A really good read if you’re into grassroots football of any description.

REVIEW: ‘The Bottom Corner: A Season with the Dreamers of Non-League Football’ – Nige Tassell

As a follower of Non-League football myself, I found this book quite engrossing.

The format was tidy, accounting for the season and off-season on a month by month basis, and concentrating on only a couple of clubs each chapter. I would, though, have preferred to read about more teams from the middle the pyramid, my only slight criticism being that the book seems more focused on National League, and then clubs right at the bottom of the pyramid.

But that really doesn’t detract from providing a well written account of life at the Bottom Corner. of British football