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MY FATHER AND OTHER WORKING CLASS FOOTBALL
by Gary Imlach Published by Yellow Jersey Press 2005. www.randomhouse.co.uk
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 wasnt 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 doesnt 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 its more than that.
Its a great football book thats 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 its too late, because
not everyone will have the chance to study scrapbooks and news clippings
of their dads footballing prowess.