Book Review – Glove Story 2: Another book for every goalkeeper, past and present by Rob Stokes, Derek Hammond & Gary Silke
In November 2017, the team of Stokes, Hammond and Silke unleashed, Glove Story: The Number 1 book for every goalkeeper, past and present, which turned out to be a great success. That book and this enormously enjoyable second helping are inspired by the incredible collection of goalkeeping memorabilia from Rob Stokes, who was a more than useful No: 1 for Waterlooville (334 appearances between 1989 and 1998), and the creative duo of Derek Hammond and Gary Silke, authors of the hugely successful Got, Not, Got series of books.
As with the first book, this is a feast on the eyes, with the superb graphics once more of illustrator Doug Nash and page after page of images that set the fingers tingling in anticipation of the next glove, shirt or other ‘keeper related ephemera.
Some of the article titles reappear in Glove Story 2, with Legends on the line giving a second airing with ten new custodians, including Pat Jennings, Sepp Maier, Neville Southall and the goalkeepers equivalent of the panto-baddie Toni Schumacher. Memorable Saves from the first tome is replaced with Memorable Goalkeeping Moments, stretching back from 1956 with Bert Trautmann playing with a broken neck in the FA Cup Final to 1999 and Jimmy Glass scoring in the dying minutes to save Carlisle United from being relegated from the Football League.
Invariably this is a nostalgic book based on Stokes’ quite incredible collection. However, one of my personal favourites from Glove Story 2 is actually probably the most modern entry. On Page 171 is an image of the water bottle that Jordan Pickford had in the 2018 World Cup in Russia for the game against Columbia. Nothing extraordinary about that you might say, however, the bottle has written on it analysis of the Columbians players and the way they took penalties. England even had a contingency if the bottle was removed, with England Goalkeeping coach explaining, “we also had backup information written on Jordan’s towel – a trick we learned from the England women’s hockey team.” An absolute gem of a story.
As a reader and retired member of the ‘Goalkeepers’ Union’, this book brought memories flooding back of my time between the sticks, and longingly reminiscing about my first pair of Ulhsport gloves, blue and black adidas goalkeeping shirt and matching shorts and socks, all bought with my first wage. This is a book that I know I will revisit a number of times as I gaze fondly at gloves and shirts I once donned and it will no doubt have the same effect on anyone who has guarded the net as the last line of defence.
Having served my time between the sticks down the years, it seems appropriate to finish with a quote from the book which defines those of us who have taken on this specialist and not always appreciated role. “The ‘keeper is a reckless extrovert, a cautious outsider, a spoilsport acrobat masochist with a Maradona Complex. And big gloves.”
Note: As with the first instalment, this book is written in support of the Willow Foundation, a charity set up by ex-Arsenal and Scotland International, Bob Wilson, which provides Special Days for seriously ill young adults. More information can be found on their website: www.willowfoundation.org.uk
(Conker Editions Ltd. October 2020. Paperback 180 pages)