Amazon. Can't believe it was ten years ago next month that this came out in hardback. Issued in paperback for the Japan/Korea World Cup the following summer. People still say very nice things to me about it and it still crops up in all-time favourite football books lists. Was extracted in The Times (they ran a whole chapter) and was hailed by them as "truly outstanding" amongst some very welcome reviews. Also a top five sports book bestseller. That said, it's still small beer. Quite a niche market. Sadly, a few of the interviewees have since passed away.
The cover shown here is for the paperback, which I wasn't wild about. Publisher's decision. The hardback jacket had Bobby Moore traipsing off the pitch after the Brazil game wearing Pele's shirt. For me that was the image.
This was a really personal project as the 1970 World Cup was my first deep football immersion. Seven years old at the time. I remember vividly the FA Cup Final and replay (Leeds v. Chelsea) that preceded the tournament. After the World Cup, my Dad took me to my first game, Pompey v. West Ham in a pre-season friendly at Fratton Park. Still got the programme somewhere. Moore and Hurst had been rested. Some kid in the Hammers team, Brooking T.
Pompey were on the slide. Older fans were still living off the glory of back-to-back league championships twenty years before. Pre-figuring later cycles of boom and bust, there was a false dawn of recovery under spendthrift chairman John Deacon, who brought in over-the-hill stars like Ron Davies, George Graham and "Scottish George Best", Peter Marinello, but they were in the fourth division by the end of the decade.