Manchester United are probably one of the most famous football teams on the planet and therefore the appetite and interest in anything associated with the Red Devils from the past and present of the Old Trafford Club is huge.
This slim tome from Iain McCartney, a Scot who fell under the spell of the side from the red half of Manchester as a schoolboy, “looks at some of the most iconic and interesting pieces of Manchester United history.” McCartney is well placed to write this book, since he is a respected collector and editor of the Manchester United Collectors Club, Chairman of the Manchester United Writers Association, as well as author of a number of books on United.
It was a pleasant surprise to find that Amberley had upgraded the paper quality of this book compared to their Fifty Defining Fixtures series and also that it contained a good number of quality colour illustrations. However, the layout at times seemed strange with some of the pages containing large areas of blank unused space and the book would have benefited from clearer direction for the reader on the locations of items that McCartney was referring to in his text, i.e. programme overleaf.
On the positive side, this book has some interesting pieces amongst the 140 illustrations, which will appeal to football fans and collectors irrespective of whether they support the Red Devils or not. Also, McCartney has some great advice for collectors on ways they might specialise or develop their own collection and over the eight chapters looks briefly at the range of United associated collectibles, including traditional items such as programmes, various types of cards, badges, tickets, books, magazines, newspapers and pennants as well as some more obscure memorabilia including Funeral Order of Services and Balance Sheets & Accounts. There are as expected included items pertaining to the Munich Disaster, the European Cup triumph of 1968 and league title wins during the 1960s, with the emphasis on the pre and post war period rather than the Premier League era.
McCartney admits himself, that individual books could have been easily been dedicated to United collectibles such as programmes, tickets, and cards, so to produce in less than 100 pages something as engaging as this book is quite an achievement.
(Amberley Publishing. August 2018. Paperback 96pp)