Book Review: Ebdon to Charlery: London Road Legends – Compiled by Jamie Jones

This eBook (from Division Four Publishing), takes its title from the defining moment in the 1991/92 Third Division Play-Off Final at Wembley between Peterborough United and Stockport County. On a scorching day in May, it proved to be dramatic ninety minutes. After a goalless first-half, the game sparked into life on 51 minutes when from a corner, Ken Charlery had a header which hit the underside of the bar and bounced down. Stockport protested, but the goal stood to give the Posh a controversial 1-0 lead. With the heat draining their energy and players looking tired, the game entered the closing minutes. Then, Stockport broke away on 87 minutes and a cross-shot was parried by Peterborough keeper Barber, which fell kindly to Kevin Francis who had the easiest of headers to level the score. Suddenly the prospect of extra-time loomed, however with 89 minutes on the clock, Marcus Ebdon launched a perfect ball forward, Ken Charlery headed it on, burst past the defender into the box, before coolly slotting over the County keeper. In such moments legends are created.

Therefore it is no surprise to find the two Wembley heroes heralded within the pages of this book. Ebdon and Charlery are joined by players from as early as 1951 (Norman Rigby) through to 2011 (Paul Taylor), as well as influential coaches and managers. The individual articles have been submitted from various writers and so provides a range of styles. Some are humorous observations, whilst others are heartfelt appreciations of those who have graced London Road.

For me the great thing about this type of book is that it provides Posh fans from across the generations, with a view of their club down the years – something of an alternative history. It also has interest for other fans who may not have realised that one of their favourite players wore the blue and white of Peterborough. As a result you’ll find pieces penned on the like of Derek Dougan, Micky Gynn, David Seaman, George Berry, Simon Davies and Jimmy Bullard. My favourite though features Ray Hankin, a centre-forward who included Burnley, Leeds United and Arsenal amongst his clubs prior to London Road.

“…I think Ray Hankin was the ultimate cult hero for Posh. I remember he was dropped for apparently misbehaving in some way before an evening match at London Road vs. Cobblers. He was supposed to be at the ground anyway, but I saw him sat on a bar stool in the Cock Inn, Werrington the whole night. At the end of the game, the barman told him Posh had won 6-0. Ray remained completely expressionless and ordered another drink…”

Football is about moments at our own clubs like Peterborough’s win at Wembley in 1992 and the legends it creates, but equally for me it’s about our cult hero’s as well, warts and all.

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Posted July 27, 2012 by Editor in category "Reviews

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