After last winning promotion to the First Division in 1935, it took Brentford 31,449 days to retake their position in the top tier of English football, when they hosted Arsenal on a balmy night in August 2021 and surprised a worldwide audience of more than a billion fans with a famous victory.
But would the stunning opening night triumph prove to be a false dawn? How would the Bees – Just a Bus Stop in Hounslow, – cope with the challenge of the Premier League where they would face clubs whose resources, squad depth, and quality dwarfed their own? Could a team that began the season without a single player who had started a Premier League match compete on a level playing field? Would Brentford’s revolutionary methods – under charismatic manager Thomas Frank – eye-pleasing play, and tactical nous be enough to ensure Premier League survival?
Written with the full co-operation of the club and including exclusive interviews with players and officials, Just a Bus Stop in Hounslow follows Brentford’s debut season at home – in their beautiful Brentford Community Stadium – and away, as they took on the 2021/22 season.
Detailing matches, rumours, signings and departures – including the arrival and impact of Christian Eriksen – and offering behind-the-scenes information plus historical insights, author Greville Waterman paints a fascinating picture of a club with an indelible bond, connection, and sense of unity with its supporters and local community.
Just a Bus Stop in Hounslow? Absolutely not!
(Publisher: Hawksmoor Publishing. July 2022. Paperback: 400 pages)
In The World at Your Feet: One Man’s Search for the Soul of the Beautiful Game, Tim Hartley takes us on a footballing world tour. We meet fans in Hong Kong who refuse to bow to China, help clear the goats off a pitch in Africa and kick off the chanting at a bizarre game in North Korea. Back home, Hartley visits all 92 Premier and Football League grounds and watches a prisoners’ team desperate to play a competitive match.
Using wry observation and detailed research, The World at Your Feet unfurls the good, the bad and the ugly of football. It is brutally honest, informative and often very funny. This is a rough guide with a difference. The power of football across the world is put in the balance and measured, its successes raised up, its failings laid bare. Hartley rails against the excesses of professional football but he never loses faith and through his travels he finds the soul of the game is still alive and kicking.
If you want a global health check of the game we sometimes struggle to love, then you really need The World at Your Feet.
Read our review here: Book Review – The (footballbookreviews.com)
(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. August 2021. Paperback: 224 pages)
Football changed in the 1990s. For better, for worse – but mainly for better. The shirts and shorts got baggier and brighter. Exotic-named players were enticed from overseas. New stadiums were built in the wake of the Taylor Report. The Premier League emerged, and England hosted its first international tournament since 1966. The era of ‘New Labour’ and ‘Cool Britannia’. It was the decade English football went mainstream.
In When the Seagulls Follow the Trawler author Tom Whitworth travels to the hotbeds of English football – the cities of London, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle – to meet the people who lived through that era of great change: the players and the managers, the owners and the fans. He looks back at key moments, the teams, the title races, the twists and turns, the characters and the rivalries. All from a decade when English football began to shrug off its bad-lad image – at least off the pitch – and move out of the darkness and into the light.
(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. March 2021. Paperback: 256 pages)
It is July 1976 and Robin Friday is now a Third Division footballer, but he still dreams of reaching the top of his profession.
There is only one thing that stands in his way: himself.
Kane takes us inside the mind of Friday and brings him back to life in this vivid tale of one of football’s wildest men.
This biographical fiction finally reveals the details that led to his difficulties at Reading and Cardiff City before his tragic death aged just thirty-eight years old.
Read our review here: Book Review – Man Frid (footballbookreviews.com)
(Publisher: Helpston Fuller. November 2020. Paperback: 324 pages)
After a trophy-laden and record-setting club and international career, England’s greatest ever goalkeeper, Peter Shilton, could rightly look forward to an equally successful post-playing career. But a gambling habit forged in his playing days soon spiralled into a gambling addiction: a silent, self-destructive and ruinous obsession that destroyed relationships, his mental health and very nearly himself.
With the love and support of his wife Steph, he was able to face up to his addiction, find hope for the future and overcome his 45-year secret and turn his life around.
Peter and Steph – who has over 20 years’ experience working in the NHS – now campaign to raise awareness of this, and other destructive addictions, helping both addicts and their partners weather the long and arduous journey back to recovery. Their support for and work with ‘The Big Step’ campaign aims to bring in stricter advertising controls and team kit sponsorship rules.
Steph and Peter bravely tell both sides of their journey with a direct honesty and an empathy born of real-life experience, offering advice and hope to not only those affected by gambling, but sufferers of other chronic addictions. They also shine a light on football’s obsession with gambling, taking millions of pounds from the gambling sites and bookies who sponsor the game, while neglecting to support both the players and fans who fall prey to addiction.
This is the ultimately uplifting story of how he was saved – by Steph’s love and support, and his own strength and determination.
(Publisher: Ad Lib Publishers Ltd. September 2021. Hardcover: 288 pages)
A million miles away from the rich uplands of the Premier League lies the Poundland world of non-league football. A far grittier version of the beautiful game, it’s a glorious ragbag of former EFL clubs on the down, impoverished minnows and ambitious outfits on the make, played by a mix of full-time, part-time and amateur performers.
This is the inside story of life in the lower reaches of English football, seen through the eyes of a player with over a decade’s experience in the Conference and National Leagues.
Footballer X lifts the lid on never-before-told stories of dust-ups, bust-ups, backhanders and betting scandals, the players lucky enough to get contracts and the rest who live precariously from game to game. It’s a story of constant financial struggle, big sacrifices and small victories for owners, fans and players alike. Our footballer is still playing, so the cloak of anonymity allows him to give us a true picture of what life is really like playing as a non-league footballer today.
(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. January 2022. Paperback: ?272 pages)
In 2019, an app called OwnaFC hit the market promising football fans the chance to by and run their own club. Just a few months later it collapsed leaving customers hundreds and thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Fit and Proper People tell the story of the business that was supposed to revolutionise the game, the people who lost out and the violent consequences suffered by those who tried to hold OwnaFC to account.
The book uncovers how poor regulation and the financial structure of English football makes clubs easy prey for unsuitable owners and how time and gain, the fans are left to pick up the pieces.
With the aborted launch of the European Super League, there is finally widespread recognition that billionaires, venture capitalist, broadcaster and tech business must no longer be allowed to dictate the future of the game.
Fit and Proper People is a powerful expose of the state of football and a call to properly protect clubs and to involve the people who really love them – the fans – in how they are run.
Read our review here: Book Review – Fit (footballbookreviews.com)
(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. January 2022. Paperback: 352 pages)