Friday, 07 October 2011 08:45
The City Archives - The Famous Match
We have a new feature to place alongside our previews this season, as one of Saints Chat's regular posters, Brummie, delves into the history books to provide us with match reports from the past. This gives a chance to walk down memory lane, or learn a little about City's past, before the next match in the present!
Brummie has given us a real treat this week, which will be of major interest to all Saints fans. He has reproduced the Dulwich Hamlet FA Cup tie from 1922, otherwise referred to as 'The Famous Match'!
FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round Replay 25th November 1922
DULWICH HAMLET v ST ALBANS CITY
To score seven goals on an opponents ground and then suffer defeat is galling enough. But this was the heartbreaking fate which befell the Citizens in the replayed Cup tie at Champions Hill on Wednesday. It was a thrilling and exciting encounter which concluded so dramatically that the better side lost by the very last kick of the game. This game will be talked about in future years as the most remarkable in the annals of the game. So far as can be traced there has been no instance of a team locked in a game of football and losing by the odd goal in fifteen!!.
The feature that stood out in the most remarkable encounter was the amazing performance of Wilfred Minter who scored all seven of the Citizens goals, He played the game of his life by eclipsing not only his own record of four goals in a game but also records nationally. It is impossible to find a parallel to Minter’s achievement in a Cup tie. Some forty years ago D Weir got all eight goals scored by Halliwell against Notts County and Jimmy Ross junior scored seven goals for Preston North End against Stoke. On both occasions both Weir and Ross were playing on the winning side.
Two hours of continuous excitement is the best description that can be given for the game which was fought at a tremendous pace. Many of the players on both sides exhibited wonderful stamina. There was such clever and stylish football on display. The Citizens did the greater part of the attacking. Their combination reached a high standard it being the best that they had attained for many a long day. Their passing was not only pretty to watch but it was far more skilful than that of the homesters who relied on the more dashing attacks of the usual cup-tie order.
Minter led the line well and, as an individual, displayed excellent ball control. He was more alert and was always just where he was supposed to be. Always ready to try a shot at goal. His marksmanship was excellent. He owed much of his success to the splendid support rendered by H S Miller whose footwork and an ability to hoodwink the Dulwich defence and make openings for his colleagues was delightful. Harold Figg, who took the place of Bert Butcher at outside right, had endless dash and had great success with his clever dribble. It was his forcefulness that aided the attack more than anything else was. The
Citizens had the advantage in the half back line. Here Bird alone excelled above all the other middle men in the match. His headwork was another outstanding feature of the game. His defence work was invaluable while he vied with George Meagher in the matter of pushing the ball to his own attackers in a most advantageous way. The excellent feeding of the halves helped the forwards in the development of the splendid combination that, at times, completely baffled the Hamlet’s fine defence.
WHERE DULWICH EXCELLED
Rearguard superiority and sheer bad luck neutralised the Citizens attacks. Both sets of full backs were erratic and the St Albans pair were marginally less successful than Brooker and Goodliffe for the Hamlet. The combination of the home forwards were not as formidable than that of Minter and his colleagues. Each side had to field a deputy in goal. In that matter Dulwich were more fortunate than St Albans City. Dulwich were able to call on Williams who is a goalkeeper of Isthmian League experience. Whereas St Albans had to make the experiment of playing Alf Fearn, a half back who has captained St Albans Gasworks, in goal. Williams had three times as much work to do than Fearn. He made two mistakes but more than atoned for these errors by stopping powerful shots that could have done credit to Coleman. On the other hand Fearn, who did his best in what was an unaccustomed position for him. He lacked that experience which might have enabled a man who plays between the sticks regularly to have averted three or four of the homesters goals. Particularly from corner kicks which Hamlet turned to their account. St Albans, it must be said, suffered from poor refereeing. Extra time only resulted from a goal from a corner kick. The corner kick being insisted upon by a linesman after the referee had signalled a goal kick. During extra time St Albans should have been awarded two penalties for bad fouls on Minter which seemed to be noticed by everyone except the referee. The circumstances from which Dulwich won the game were unsatisfactory and everyone, including Brooker, their captain, sympathised with the Citizens in the manner in which they lost the match. If merit had met its reward they would have been he victors instead of the vanquished.
THE GOAL SCORING BEGINS
(Brummies note. After each goal I will give the score with Dulwich’s score first)
Fortunes fluctuated fast and furiously for both sides. The first quarter of an hour was goalless. This was mainly due to the smartness of Williams more than anything else was because the Citizens did almost all of the attacking during this period. Williams was very alert to turn two very good hot shots around the post from Minter. He also gathered up a shot from H S Miller. Later Miller also shot over the bar. As was the case in the first game Dulwich’s first raid produced the first goal. In the15th minute KAIL headed into the Citizens net from a corner (1-0).
In the next quarter the Citizens claimed three goals. In the 18th minute Meagher was fouled and when his free kick went into the penalty area it was cleared. Meagher played it back again and Miller headed against the bar. When it rebounded out MINTER shot the ball home (1-1). The second goal came about when Meagher sent the half backs Figg and Pierce on the attack. Figg sent a perfect cross over from the left for MINTER to head home (1-2). A minute later a great bout of passing between H S Miller and Minter resulted in Miller crossing for MINTER to score with a fast cross shot to complete his hat trick. (1-3)
Thus, with half an hour played the Citizens led by three goals to one. But, by the interval, Dulwich were on level terms. In the thirty second minute a long pass to Hunt caught the St Albans defence up in a tangle. When the outside left centred Field jumped to try to head the ball clear but misjudged the ball which fell to the feet of KAIL who shot hard and low into the corner of the net from close range (2-3). The Citizens began to press strongly with Minter having a drive caught by Williams and a header from Figg was cleared. Pierce was brought down “rugby style” by Goodliffe. The energy of Kail enabled Dulwich to draw level just before half time. A long centre fell behind the City backs and Kail stopped the ball as it was going out off play and centred again for DAVIS to rush it into he net (3-3) at half time.
Half Time Dulwich Hamlet 3 (Kail 2, Davis) St Albans City 3 (Minter 3)
Within seven minutes of the restart, by scoring twice in quick succession, Dulwich appeared to have the game won. In the second minute after resuming Hunt forced a corner off Holland. When the corner kick came over DAVIS headed through (4-3). Five minutes later Shorrocks swung the ball into the goalmouth and Fearn and Nichol jumped together and Fearn, the goalkeeper, was knocked out as the ball was headed against the bar. Whilst Fearn was still on the ground DAVIS forced the ball into the net. Fearn was able to resume after some treatment (5-3)
A ST ALBANS REVIVAL
Leading by two clear goals it seemed as though Dulwich Hamlet had the game won. St Albans began to display a more aggressive approach. However, by the end of the first quarter of the second half the score was still 5-3. Then within ten minutes Minter obtained three more goals to take St Albans into the lead. The whole context of the game had changed. In the sixteenth minute of the half Meagher began a movement which resulted in Minter putting Figg through. The inside right struck a shot which hit the inside of the post and rebounded out to MINTER who promptly netted (5-4).
The Citizens raids were swiftly carried out and, at times, overwhelmed the home side. In an exciting scramble around the Dulwich goal Williams saved on the ground from Figg and pushed a shot away for a corner from Holland. In the twentieth minute of the second half St Albans drew level. Minter and Miller rushed their away into the Dulwich half of the field with some fine headwork. The ball came back to MINTER who brought it to his feet and crashed the ball into the net with some force (5-5). Soon after this H S Miller only just missed the target with a fine ground shot. Five minutes after drawing level the Citizens forged ahead. Minter, with the ball, forced his way through the Dulwich defence and was fouled badly. The ball ran on and was returned in Minter‘s direction. MINTER sprang to his feet and hooked the ball over Williams (5-6).
Thus, with twelve minutes to go, the Citizens were leading by six goals to five. For the majority of the time left they had the better of the play. Williams saved well from Figg and Holland. H S Miller, with only Coleman’s deputy to beat from close range, should have settled the issue but, in getting his foot under the ball, he shot over the bar. The Citizens remained in the lead until five minutes from the end of normal time. When Hunt tackled Holland and the ball went behind thee referee gave a goal kick. The linesman intervened and, after a short discussion, the referee changed his mind and gave a corner kick. When the corner kick came over NICHOL headed into the net. (6-6).
End of normal time
Dulwich Hamlet 6 (Davis 3, Kail 2, Nichol) St Albans City 6 (Minter 6)
TOO MUCH EXTRA TIME?
Six goals each was the score when the ninety minutes were concluded. Although the light was beginning to fail extra time was played. For the first ten minutes of this part of the game St Albans did the attacking, In the tenth minute a free kick was played into the Dulwich goalmouth. The ball was heftily cleared down field and was gathered by KAIL who was standing on the halfway line. He sprinted clear at great pace. He tricked Holland and made for goal. He sent in a ground shot that Fearn got to but allowed to slip through his hands and into the net (7-6).
During the second quarter hour of extra time St Albans made the pace. Williams saved two shots from H S Miller and when Minter twice looked a certain scorer he was fouled. The Citizens cries for a penalty went unheeded. On the first occasion Minter had only the goalkeeper to beat and Goodliffe brought off another rugby tackle without being penalised. The second instance was when Minter had eluded him Goodliffe fetched him down in the goalmouth. In the darkness that incident escaped the notice of the referee. With four minutes to go H S Miller forced a corner which was also taken by him. He found MINTER from the kick who scored with a neat header. (7-7).
It seemed as though the teams would have to fight another day but there was a dramatic finale to this great game. When, according to the clocking of the majority of the pressmen present, the game should have been terminated, play was still in progress on the touchline in the Citizens half and not far from the corner flag. The linesman alleged that Figg had handled the ball. The free kick was lobbed into the goalmouth and in the darkness Fearn misjudged the ball and DAVIS headed through (8-7). Thus it was Dulwich Hamlet who go through to the next round to entertain Clapton.
Both Pierce and R B Miller, who pluckily turned out with a damaged shoulder, played excellently. In addition to the players already referred to, Holland was very successful when he figured at right half. He changed with Webdale and Webdale was visibly tiring after ninety minutes. Kail was the mainstay of the Dulwich Hamlet attack. Hunt played the best from the providers point of view. Jones set out to shadow Minter but never had a chance of getting close to the Citizens centre forward. Both Broker and Goodliffe were steady and in Goodliffe’s case was sometimes a little too rough.
Dulwich Hamlet 8 (Davis 4, Kail 3, Nichol) St Albans City 7 (Minter 7)
Alf Fearn, Arthur Webdale, W Field, Fred Holland, Percy Bird, George Meagher, P Pierce, Harold Figg, Wilfred Minter, Harold Miller, Reuben Miller.
Thanks, as always, go to Brummie for delving into the City Archives to provide us with an interesting read!
Friday, 07 October 2011 08:42
The City Archives - A Special Edition!
We have a new feature to place alongside our previews this season, as one of Saints Chat's regular posters, Brummie, delves into the history books to provide us with City news reports from the past. This gives a chance to walk down memory lane, or learn a little about St. Albans City's past, before the next match in the present!
This time, Brummie has given us something a little different which will be of major interest to all Saints fans. He has reproduced two notices as they appeared in the Herts Ad regarding the foundation of the first St. Albans club in 1881 and the present one in 1908. Over to Brummie for the details!
I thought I would reproduce the very first item that appeared in the Herts Advertiser with relation to the first club that bore the St Albans name. It appeared on September 14th 1881
“A meeting will be held on Wednesday evening next at eight o’ clock at the Crystal Palace Inn, London Road. The meeting will take into consideration the proposed formation of a football club for the city.. All those interested in the pastime are invited to attend”.
Within a month the very first official game was arranged. It was against a team from Hemel Hempstead. This was reported in the Herts Advertiser edition of October 15th 1881.
“The first football match of the season of the St Albans club was played on Saturday afternoon in drenching rain on their ground in Hatfield Road kindly lent by Mr J Reynolds. The local team competed with the Hemel Hempstead club and, owing to the want of sufficient practise and to most of the members being new to the game, the former club were defeated by four goals to nothing. The play of Winter, the visitors captain, being most noticeable. T L Brash officiated as captain to the local team. The following were the sides.
St Albans. J R Ball, G Brown, T Harris, F J Preece, A Webdale, H C Webdale,(forwards) F Gentle, Herbert Slade,(halfbacks) L Sell and T L Brash (backs) and R Cook (goals)
Hemel Hempstead F St J Badnock, Roget, Winter, Puddifoot, Clarke and Woodman (forwards) Burrage, Balderson (half backs) Hancock and Collins (backs) and Bethorn (goal)
Mr W Masters officiated as umpire. The next match will be with Luton Excelsior to-day (Saturday) at 3 o’clock on the same ground, when, in all probability, there will be better play than shown a week ago.”
Let’s go forward in time to April 1908 when the present club was formed. A meeting was held at the Queens Hotel in Chequer Street. Here’s how the Herts Advertiser reported it.
“The newly formed St Albans City Football Club set its house in order on Wednesday evening when a meeting was held at the Queens Hotel, there being a fairly good attendance.
Mr G W Simmons was voted to the chair and he retraced the circumstances which had led to the formation of the club. He said that a meeting was arranged to take to form an F A club to be called St Albans City. On the previous Monday however, a meeting was called to form a St Albans City AFA Club and it therefore became necessary for those intending to form the FA club to attend the AFA meeting and carry resolutions that a City FA club should be formed to affiliate with the FA. They would remember that those resolutions were carried and the meeting that evening was to perfect the formation arrangements.
A letter was read from the Town Clerk agreeing to let the new Club have the use of Clarence Park on the condition that the Corporation should take one-fourth of the “gate” and one-half of the stand receipts. That the club should pay £4 4s for the use of the dressing rooms etc and that four Saturdays should be reserved for the Old Albanians.
Mr R W Fox, secretary, who read the letter, said he ad extended an invitation to Councillor Horace Slade to attend that meeting but that gentleman, in view of his position on the Clarence Park Committee declined to take any part in the management of any club using the Park. An apology was also received from Mr F Gladden.
The Chairman said that Mr Cliff and Mr Lindley, on behalf of the Old Albanians, had asked him whether the new club could set aside more Saturdays for the Old Albanians. He promise he would lay the matter before the next meeting.
Replying to a question as to how the Club would be affected by giving up a certain number of Saturdays if a reserve team were run, the Chairman replied it would leave five Saturdays for a reserve team. If they could meet the wishes of the Old Albanians without prejudicing the chances of success of the new Club he would be very pleased.
At a later stage of the meeting, it was decided that two teams would be run.
Mr Simmons stated that he had done all he could to bring in the AFA people. He had, however met with no success.
Proceeding with the election of officers the Chairman suggested the Mayor should, for the time being, be president, this was unanimously agreed to. For vice president, a number of names were suggested, but it was decided to leave the election to the committee.
Mr R W Fox was unanimously elected as Hon treasurer and secretary. In his reply Mr Fox said that he was secretary of a football club at 14 years of age which had finished their fixtures and paid their way.
Mr Anderson was appointed assistant secretary.
It was decided to run two teams, the first entering for the Association Cup, the Association Amateur Cup, the Herts Senior Cup, the Herts Charity Cup and the Herts County League. The second team will enter Herts Junior Cup. The Bingham-Cox cup and the Mid Herts League Division 1. The Chairman mentioned that there was every prospect of a strong County League next year, as Redbourn and Harpenden were probably declaring as senior clubs.
It was decided that the club colours should be blue and gold.
The Queen’s Hotel was selected as the Club headquarters. Mr Craddy, the tenant, promised to do all he could to help the new club.
Mr Stanley, on behalf of the old Abbey club, offered goal posts and nets to the new club which the Chairman notably acknowledged.
It was decided to nominate Mr R W Fox for a seat on the Herts F A Council.
Thanks, as always, go to Brummie for delving into the City Archives to provide us with an interesting read alongside our usual match previews!
Thursday, 20 January 2011 18:24
There will be many supporters dotted around the terracing and seats at Clarence Park who feel distraught at the passing of Adrian Jolliffe. I’d known him since noticing his absurdly long hand knitted gold and blue scarf at Woodford in a best forgotten FA Cup game in 1985. I also noticed that day the passion he had for the club. What makes him stand out is that he was just a fan. He had supported the club for longer than me and most others, but he never let the issues, angst and politics interfere with the joy of supporting such a great club – something many of us, myself included, can learn from. He was just a fan – a smiling face amongst, quite often, a lot of disenchanted frowns. His personality rose above all the off field ‘stuff’. He didn’t particularly feel the need to get involved or anything like that – he just enjoyed coming down to the Park, rain or shine, good football or bad. And when he did, he spread a lot of happiness around.
I doubt he attended even half the games the club played season by season, yet he was part of the furniture here. I’m not even sure he was a regular paid up member of the supporter’s club/trust, but he was a shining example of why so many of us come down here, game after game, year after year. He was that chap on the terraces who’ll talk to anyone about the club. That chap who knows the club – someone for diehard city fans and for first time visitors. He’d tell us he’d managed to organise a business trip to Exeter/Heybridge/Yeovil/Weston for Tuesday so he’d be able to make the game down there. His ridiculously long scarf was his trademark, but he added the absurdly tall blue and gold jester’s hat for the trip to Wisbech in 1996 – and it stood out amongst the red and white of the massed ranks of home support that day in the first half as he arrived late and no doubt doused the tension around him as the first 45 minutes unfolded.
I also remember with affection his attempt to get the massed ranks of City support to understand and appreciate the world of real ale. He formed the St. Albans City Real Ale Appreciation Society (or something like that) in 1993 and decreed that we’d hold our first outing in a backstreet boozer in Chesham in September of that year. Four of us turned up – including two at least who had no appreciation at all for his passion and clung shamefully onto pints of lager. City went on to lose the match 5-0 and Adrian’s attempts to build a real ale empire at the park folded with our cup run.
Sticking with the theme of FA Cup debacles, the only controversial memory I have of Adrian was his one man pitch invasion at Ford Utd in September 1990, when, with the Saints 3-1 down five minutes from time in a tie we could not possibly lose, the ball went out of play for a Ford goal kick. In a blaze of gold and blue fury, his trademark scarf flapping all ways in the wind, Adrian retrieved the ball, tucked it under his arms and raced into the penalty area to place it on the pitch ready for the Ford keeper to restart the game, shouting at the same time “now move your buttocks”.
In later years Adrian and I spent time together watching cricket in the summer. Adrian’s passion for real ale stayed with him. After one particularly happy mid-summer’s day at Hove, we left the ground after 6pm both happily affected by both the day’s play and the day’s intake of beer. But Adrian told me “now, I think there’s a Harvey’s pub somewhere about half a mile to our right (the station and hence route home being to our left) – we can’t go home without seeing if they have any of that elusive ------ ale on draught.” They did – and we drank it. And went home happy.
And that was Adrian. Happy, fun, positive, always with a smile on his face. He was just a fan. He was also a truly wonderful person to be around and he will be sorely missed by many of us here at Clarence Park.
John Lapwood 15/01/2011
Friday, 07 January 2011 11:14
SAINTS SUPER FANS – ST. ALBANS CITY FC NORWEGIAN BRANCH
Those loyal Saints fans who will be attending tomorrow's match between St. Albans City and Bromley at Clarence Park would be forgiven for thinking that only the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea have fans dotted all over the globe. However, the Saints City Trust website can reveal that the result of tomorrow’s match will also be eagerly anticipated by a group of fanatical Saints supporters in a small corner of Oslo!
The St. Albans City Norwegian Branch have been following the Saints since 2006 when a trip to England gave them a very special experience at Clarence Park. Geirr Sethre explains, ‘The first game we saw was against Grays Athletic on 21st October 2006 when the Saints were in the Conference. We took the train from London and didn’t know what to expect. When we arrived at the ground it absolutely blew us away. This was the bullseye!’
Geirr continues, ‘We didn’t know anyone except from Barry at the club shop, who we had e-mailed before we came. At half-time we went to see him and bought the home shirt, grabbed a burger and went back to the stands wearing the club badge on our chests very proudly.’
Unfortunately, the new supporters were not greeted by a win for their first game at Clarence Park. In fact the opposite, as City suffered a heavy defeat. Nevertheless, they were hooked on the Saints and determined to be fans of the club from day one. ‘The goals kept running the wrong way and the score ended at 0-6’, Geirr says. ‘As we left the game everyone, despite the result, was hooked and we were already making plans to visit Clarence Park again. We just couldn’t wait till next time!’
I caught up with the dedicated City fans and asked them some questions about their love of English Non-League football and the mighty Saints.
What is it that you love about English non-League football?
For us, it is about real football culture and the down to earth people at the club. We like the sense of experiencing a touch of the original English football in contrast to the commercial circus that the Premier League has become.
So how and why did you adopt St. Albans City as your English Non-League team?
Most of us have been interested in English football since the seventies. We were catching up on the games from England sent by Norwegian national television each Saturday. We wanted to go back to the days with non-commercial football, and for us, any club needed to be close to London. We were really impressed with how the club was run by friendly volunteers and we thought the official homepage on the Internet was really excellent. Also, playing for St. Albans at the time was Ram Marwa, a Norwegian footballer, who we enjoyed supporting. The Saints were like the typical underdog for us, and we saw that this team was obviously in need of support. It was a sure thing!
Can you tell us what your best experience or memory of following St. Albans City has been so far?
It has to be the first win that we saw. We were playing at home versus Eastleigh on 19th April 2008. After being behind 0-1 at half-time, the Saints scored three in the second-half. There were two great goals from W. Sunday.
I think also, we all really like how the club are so friendly and have great memories because of this. The clubhouse is great and we have enjoyed meeting the people at the club on and off the pitch. The friendliness from people like Barry, Ian and the others has been fantastic. Also, we enjoy the stories from Tony the announcer, who is a top guy. Plus, we remember all the other volunteers at matchday, who always welcome us with a friendly "hello good to see you back again". This kind of atmosphere is what football should be all about.
Could you describe your match day routine when you come to watch the team play?
When we arrange a trip, we always see if we can go to an away game first, before finishing with a home match. We always want to have the home game last.
For home games, we usually eat a good English breakfast at our hotel and then we head out for one of the many pubs. We relax with some beers and watch some of the early Premier League games. Then we head down to the The Crown for some more beers! We try to be at the ground around 2pm to have a chat with Tony and Barry before we walk the stairs up to the clubhouse. After the game we go back to the clubhouse before we “hit” the town. Hopefully, we find a pub with a quiz night and we are still waiting for the first time that we manage not to finish in the last spot! Questions on English politics and children’s TV isn’t easy for us! On Sundays we like to go to a museum or to take a walk in Verulamium park.
What do your friends and family think of you following the Saints?
Our friends and family don’t quite get it but soon enough daughters and sons will be coming along with us!
Finally, do you have any message for the St. Albans City fans?
The fans are the hearts and souls in every football club. Enjoy the game tomorrow and COYS!
The St. Albans City Norwegian Branch pictured with Steve Castle, from left-to-right: Geirr Sethre, Jörn Aarsland-Skaarud, Per Christian Wolden, Saints manager Steve Castle, Jörn Olkvam, Terje Nilsen.
Photograph Credit: Robert Walkley.
Saturday, 18 December 2010 12:34
A PERSONAL VIEW FROM THE TERRACES: A Top 5 List of Football Books!
The bad weather is here once again and Saints fans are, no doubt, left frustrated on yet another Saturday afternoon as the snow spoils our chance of getting our football fix! How can we fill the void of another empty match day? In this mini-article, a Saints fan looks at one way to fill the agonising emptiness while the snow continues to fall outside.
Whether you are looking for a book to read this Christmas, or just searching for something to entertain you and to take your mind off your football withdrawal symptoms, you may well find the answer on this page!
The author of this list is a bit of a bookworm and has been collecting football books for many years. He would like to make it clear that this top 5 is in no way definitive. Such a list would surely have to include The Ball is Round by David Goldblatt, Brilliant Orange by David Winner or Calcio by John Foot, to name a few books absent from this selection. In this top 5 list, we are looking off the beaten track and away from the well-worn paths of Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby or All Played Out by Pete Davies. With that caveat out of the way, we can now proceed to the top 5 football books to read this Christmas:
1) Inverting the Pyramid by Jonathan Wilson - if you don’t know your ‘WM’ from your ‘Pyramid’ formation, or indeed your libero from your regista, then this is the perfect book for you. Jonathan Wilson’s book attempts to explain the evolution of football tactics throughout the history of the game, usually reaching the conclusion that us Brits are always well behind the rest of the world! Before you know it, you’ll be dissecting England’s World Cup performances from the summer better than the so-called experts and passionately attempting to persuade your family and friends that Signor Capello should ditch the archaic 4-4-2 in favour of a modern 4-2-3-1 formation.
2) Football Memories by Brian Glanville – This is actually a football book disguised as an autobiography. In it, Brian Glanville takes us through one of the most interesting periods in football history, from the 1950s up until the present day. He has also covered every World Cup since 1958 and discusses each tournament in depth, so this might be the perfect way to analyse where it all went wrong for English football this summer! Never shy of a good old-fashioned anecdote, Glanville is witty and entertaining, and this becomes a compelling page-turner from one of the world’s leading football journalists.
3) Beastly Fury: The Strange Birth of British Football by Richard Sanders – An absolutely fascinating account of the birth of the game in Britain. At the heart of the book are many stories about southern amateur gentlemen fighting it out with northern working class men over the rules of the game and the establishment of football culture. It is also full of very eccentric and quintessentially British stories such as that of Arthur Kinnaird, the gentleman amateur of the 1870s, who played the game in full length white flannels. Or Billy Meredith, who roamed the wing for Manchester City (and later Manchester United) in the first decade of the 20th century with a tooth-pick in his mouth (which he often swallowed by accident when challenged!) An entertaining early history of the beautiful game.
4) My Favourite Year (an anthology of football writing edited by Nick Hornby) – Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch was the book that seemed to kick-start a whole genre of football fan culture books. This collection of writing covers similar ground and perfectly captures why football is such an addiction for so many fans. It also has a chapter on St. Albans City, which makes it the perfect book from my very biased point of view! It’s the perfect book to dip in and out of as you please.
5) The Bromley Boys by David Roberts –The true story of a young boy who falls madly in love with his hopeless local non-League side, this book captures the absurd optimism of the football fan. The narrative will have you rolling in the aisles. It will make you fall in love with your own club all over again and also bring to mind all of the reasons you started following your favourite team in the first place.
Join in the discussion over at the Saints Chat forum where we have previously been discussing our favourite football books (click here to be directed to Saints Chat!)
Happy reading and a very Merry Christmas from the Saints City Trust, but most of all, COME ON YOU SAINTS!