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by Gary Imlach Published by Yellow Jersey Press 2005. www.randomhouse.co.uk

My father and other working class football heroesWritten by a son who wanted to find out more about his footballing father after he died, this book is more than just a biography. It reveals a football world that has changed beyond all recognition in the past 50 years. In 1955, the average footballer's wages were £8; factory workers might have expected to earn £11. Many players lived in club houses. They travelled on public transport with the fans, they had jobs like the fans. "Football was a game of the working class, for the working class, by the working class. One thing it wasn’t was a golden passport out of the working class.” Eventually something had to give, and in 1961 the threat of a players strike by the Players Union and the football maximum wage was breached.

As for the author, he doesn’t really do football anymore. “At what stage does sport become such big business that the original point is lost? How do you passionately support a PLC? How do you maintain tin the undying devotion that makes you a fan when the club is doing its damnedest to turn you into a customer? One answer is that you simply blank it all out and focus on the team, on what happens out on the pitch. But what if the team is a rotating cast of millionaires with no more connection to your world than Tom Cruise, what are you rooting for then?”

‘My Father and Other Working Class Football Heroes’ serves as testimonial to Stewart Imlach, but it’s more than that. It’s a great football book that’s well worth reading but also serves as a reminder for us to talk to our parents and grandparents and find out about their lives before it’s too late, because not everyone will have the chance to study scrapbooks and news clippings of their dads footballing prowess.

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