Four years after the crowning glory of 1966 and a decade after the abolition of the maximum wage, a brash new era dawned in English football. As the 1970s took hold, a new generation of larger-than-life footballers and managers came to dominate the sport, appearing on television sets in vivid technicolour for the first time.

Set against a backdrop of three-day weeks, strikes, political unrest, freezing winters and glam rock, Get It On tells the intriguing inside story of how commercialism, innovation, racism and hooliganism rocked the national game in the 1970s. Charting the emergence of Brian Clough, Bob Paisley and Kevin Keegan, and the fall of George Best, Alf Ramsey and Don Revie, this fascinating footballing fiesta traces the highs and lows of an evolutionary and revolutionary era for the beautiful game.

Jon Spurling has been interviewing footballers for twenty-five years, including legends George Best and Jack Charlton, European Cup-winning captains Emlyn Hughes and John McGovern and pioneering black footballers Cyrille Regis and Brendon Batson. Get It On presents these heroes of the era in their unvarnished and uncompromising glory and explores how the 1970s was the most ground-breaking decade in English football history.

(Publisher: Biteback Publishing. March 2022. Hardcover: 416 pages)


As Marcelo Bielsa’s interpreter, Salim Lamrani was his right-hand man throughout his first season in charge of Leeds United. As a privileged witness to that remarkable 2018/19 campaign, Lamrani tells the inside story of how the club came within a hair’s breadth of returning to the Premier League before winning promotion in the very next season to end a 16-year exile.

Lamrani lays bare the secrets behind Bielsa’s methods, starting with the demands he makes in an intense pre-season, through to the Argentinian tactician’s unwavering loyalty to a highly effective style of play – a style based on possession, collective coverage, rapid transitions, changes of tempo and constant attack. For him, beauty is non-negotiable.

Thanks to Bielsa, the players of Leeds United were the actors in an unforgettable epic, which made an indelible mark on millions of supporters. Taking us match by match through Bielsa’s first year in English football, Lamrani weaves a fascinating narrative and paints an intimate portrait of a unique football genius.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. March 2022. Hardcover: 320 pages)

LS92 by Billy Morris

Two years have passed, but the events of Bournemouth 90 continue to cast a dark shadow over the lives of everyone who travelled south on that hot Bank Holiday weekend.

Max Jackson is out of jail and trying to re-establish himself in a Leeds underworld being torn apart by gangland warfare. The Yardsley brothers are still paying the price for their actions, with the spectre of Alan Connolly continuing to haunt them. At Millgarth, Sergeant Andy Barton finds himself in the limelight after Bournemouth, but terrace culture is changing, and police intelligence is struggling to adapt to the new normal of the nineties.

At Elland Road, a resurgent United are heading towards their first league title in eighteen years, but a disturbing, malevolent force is threatening to gate-crash the champions’ victory party.

Old scores are settled, and new ones imagined, as the climax to the title showdown becomes a deadly quest for vengeance, forgiveness and redemption. LS92. Dark crime fiction from a time when it was still grim up north.

(Publisher: Independently published. January 2022. Paperback: 176 pages)


Read our review here: Book Review – LS92 by (

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Book Review – LS92 by Billy Morris

What can you say about a book that you read cover to cover in one session? There’s almost no higher praise than that.

LS92 the sequel to Bournemouth 90 is simply gripping from start to finish.

This follow-up from Billy Morris picks up two-years after events down on the south coast when Leeds United clinched promotion from the old Second Division. Readers are reacquainted with many of the central characters from the first book as the fall-out from events at Bournemouth resurface.

As with the first instalment from Morris, LS92 has both fictional and non-fictional elements in a compressed timeline which contributes to the books urgency and immediacy. In terms of the fictional storyline this centres on the Leeds underworld and the gangland warfare whilst the non-fictional follows Leeds United attempts to clinch the League Championship. And as the two worlds collide there are cameo appearances from Eric Cantona and another real-life person who readers of a certain age will be able to identify.

Morris uses the same (and successful) formula of Bournemouth 90 with the wonderful depiction of Leeds city centre venues and landmarks that have been lost in recent years, brought to life with his dark, grim and gritty language.

As history tell us, Leeds United would eventually clinch the title in a highly dramatic run-in, completing the journey from the old Second Division on that Bank Holiday day in Bournemouth back in 1990. Is there a similar conclusion for central character Neil Yardsley? That is for readers to discover in this fast-paced must read, “from a time when it was still grim up north.”

(Publisher: Independently published. January 2022. Paperback: 176 pages)

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Interview with Billy Morris, author of Bournemouth 90 and LS92

Back in November 2021 FBR reviewed Bournemouth 90 by Billy Morris and the author followed up his debut novel with LS92 published in January 2022. Both books feature Leeds United in the early nineties set against a background of murky gangland activities. Following the release of the his second title, we caught with the author to find out a bit more about the man behind the books, which Morris himself describes as, “dark uncompromising crime fiction from a time when it was still grim up north.”

FBR: Given the two books you have written we presume that Leeds United is the Club you support, but how did you come to support them?

Billy Morris (BM): I was born into a family of Leeds fans who followed the Club home and away so there was never any chance of me supporting anyone else. I was born in 1966, just as Don Revie’s team were rising to prominence and starting to win trophies, so I guess the excitement and optimism of the time rubbed off on me at a very early age. I have photos of me as a toddler wearing Leeds colours and as a small child in the famous all-white Leeds kit. I guess it was in my blood!

FBR: So presumably it’s a safe bet that your first football memory features Leeds?

1972 FA Cup Final Programme

BM: It is. I remember standing outside Elland Road to see the team bring back the FA Cup in 1972. My first game was in 1973 season against Chelsea, but I remember nothing of the match. My memories are of being in a pub before the game, the smell of Tetley bitter and cigarettes, surrounded by foul mouthed giants with collar length hair and denim jackets covered in Leeds patches, the smell of boiled burgers and onions, the sense of excitement and potential danger. Then after the game, buying a Green Post outside the ground with the full time match results and a report of the first half, and wondering how they got it out so quickly. (I still struggle with that one!)

FBR: What is your standout football memory from your time supporting the Club?

AFC Bournemouth v Leeds United programme 1990

BM: It probably sounds strange to a lot of people given the events of that particular weekend, but it was Bournemouth in 1990. I came of age watching Leeds. I left school and started work the year we got relegated, 1982, so I had a bit of money to start going to away games. It’s obviously frowned upon now but the whole mid-80s football scene was an amazing buzz for teenagers, travelling round the country with a gang of mates, with the very real possibility that the day could end in a cell or A&E. I was more into the casual fashion than the violence personally, but at that age the risk factor was a big draw, as was the chance to get one over on rival fans and the police. The grounds were awful, the football was usually terrible too, but for those of us of a certain age, they were the best days of our lives from a social angle. Friendships made back then endure to this day. Then in 1987, we got a brief taste of what success could feel like when Leeds reached the FA Cup semi-final, and the play-off final. We were within minutes of a return to the First Division, but in true Leeds style, blew it in injury time against Charlton. The following year, Howard Wilkinson took over and changed the whole culture of the club, much like Bielsa was to again do thirty years later. At the start of the 1989/90 season there was a real feel that this was to be our year. ‘Shit or Bust, this year promotion’s a must’ said the very unofficial T-Shirt displaying the snarling face of Vinnie Jones. Prophetically, the back of the shirt said, ‘Promotion Tour 89/90’ with the last game billed as ‘The Invasion of Bournemouth.’ Last game of the season, knowing a win would take us up, a Bank Holiday at the seaside, 90 degree sunshine…the scene was set, and for once Leeds didn’t blow it. Of course some of what happened down there were terrible, and it really felt like the end of an era and the start of a new one, like drawing a line under the eighties with a bright new decade dawning ahead.

FBR: How did you get into writing?

BM: I always loved writing at school but leaving at sixteen with a couple of O-Levels, I knew I was never going to make a living at it. I did a variety of jobs over the next thirty five years in various places around the world, then as often happens when you reach your fifties, found I had more time to spend on things I enjoyed doing, rather than things I needed to do to make money. I read a lot of crime fiction, dark stuff like James Ellroy and David Peace, and I noticed on social media that there was a real nostalgia for the eighties and nineties era in Leeds. The city has changed so much since then that its almost unrecognisable. I started to think about an Ellroy/Peace style novel set at that time in the city that I remembered back then. That’s how Bournemouth 90 came about, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well received it was.  A few people asked about a sequel, and I felt there were still a few unresolved questions, which are addressed in LS92.

FBR: Talking of the two books, what and who were the influences in writing ‘Bournemouth 9’0 and ‘LS92’?

BM: As I said, I enjoy James Ellroy’s noir-style crime writing which is set in L.A. My biggest influence though is probably David Peace. Specifically the Red Riding Quartet, which transplant Ellroy’s dark style into 70s West Yorkshire. I remember reading 1974 for the first time and being totally blown away by the writing style. I enjoyed his later stuff, Damned Utd obviously and also GB84, though I’ve struggled to get into his recent Tokyo trilogy. I’ve tried to capture the feel of late eighties/early nineties in my books – a city struggling with its identity, more Merrion Market than Harvey Nicks and with LUFC struggling to shift the 80s hooligan reputation but knowing that a re-brand was vital to its future in the new millennium. To anyone who wasn’t around then, the place I describe probably feels like a different city altogether, and if that’s the case, I’ve achieved what I set out to do!

FBR: Do you have any other books in the pipeline?

BM: I’m in the research stage of a book set over a hundred years ago at the end of the First World War. To say it was a time of upheaval in Leeds is an understatement – the war is coming to an end, the Leeds Pals were virtually wiped out on the first day of the Somme and families are struggling to cope with the aftermath of that. There is rationing and food shortages and Spanish flu is ravaging the city; At Elland Road Leeds City are struggling to explain how they funded an influx of ‘guest’ players who enabled them to win the 1917/18 League Championship, at a time when match fixing was rife. I’m planning to write another crime fiction story set against this backdrop and the writing challenges are different this time. I’m not writing about an era I’m familiar with, so am immersed in research at present – fashions, language, military and social history and of course, the mysterious events at the football club. Luckily I’m a big history buff so although it’s hard I don’t really see it as ‘work’, more a hobby. That’s actually probably a good way to sum up my attitude to writing in general too!

FBR: Many thanks for your time Billy. Good luck with the sales of your current books and good luck with your new project!



The O’Leary Years charts the rise and fall of Leeds United at the turn of the 21st century.

When David O’Leary took the managerial reins from taskmaster George Graham, he promoted a gifted crop of youngsters into the first team, transforming a well-oiled machine into a free-flowing bundle of joy.

This often-scorned club enjoyed popularity like never before, but things are never straightforward at Elland Road. Criminal charges against star players, the tragic murders of fans, a perpetual injury curse and a ‘spend, spend, spend’ attitude eventually brought the club to its knees – but not before it was one match from reaching its holy grail: a European Cup final rematch with Bayern Munich.

The journey lasted four seasons, each one a rollercoaster, and the story is told through the memories and match reports of the author, from a 14-year-old travelling the country with his dad, to an 18-year-old on the bus with his mates, with nostalgic tales of the good old days along the way.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. January 2022. Hardback: 256 pages)

THE DAMNED UTD by David Peace

In 1974 the brilliant and controversial Brian Clough made perhaps his most eccentric decision: he accepted the position of Leeds United manager. A successor to Don Revie, his bitter adversary, Clough was to last just 44 days.

In one of the most acclaimed British novels of recent years – subsequently made into a film starring Michael Sheen – David Peace takes us into the mind and thoughts of Ol’ Big ‘Ead himself and brings vividly to life one of football’s most complex and fascinating characters.

(Publisher: Faber & Faber. Main edition April 2007. Paperback: 368 pages)

BOURNEMOUTH 90 by Billy Morris

It’s April 1990 and the world is changing. Margaret Thatcher clings to power in the face of poll tax protests, prison riots and sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. The Berlin wall has fallen, South Africa’s Apartheid government is crumbling and in the Middle East Saddam Hussein is flexing his muscles, while Iran is still trying to behead Salman Rushdie.

In Leeds, United are closing in on a long-awaited return to the first division. Neil Yardsley is heading home after three years away and hoping to go straight.

That’s the plan, but Neil finds himself being drawn back into a world of football violence and finds a brother up to his neck in the drug culture of the rave scene. Dark family secrets bubble to the surface as Neil tries to help his brother dodge a gangland death sentence, while struggling to keep his own head above water in a city that no longer feels like home.

The pressure is building with all roads leading to the south coast, and a final reckoning on a red-hot Bank Holiday weekend in Bournemouth that no one will ever forget.

Dark, uncompromising crime fiction from a time when it was still grim up north.

Read our review here: Book Review: B (

(Publisher: Independently published. August 2021. Paperback: 191 pages)

Book Review: Imperfect 10: The Man Behind the Magic by Tony Currie with Andy Pack

In June 1976 Tony Currie left Sheffield United to join Leeds United, ending an eight-year association with the Bramall Lane club. It says much about the talent, esteem and regard of the player during his time in the red and white part of the Steel City, that 38 years later, in September 2014, as part of the club’s 125th Anniversary celebrations, ‘TC’ as he was affectionally nicknamed by the Blades faithful, was named Sheffield United’s Greatest Ever Player. Indeed, at the other two clubs where he played the majority of his career, Leeds United and QPR, Currie was also a fans favourite, one of a creative generation of players such as, Stan Bowles, Charlie George, Alan Hudson, Rodney Marsh, Duncan McKenzie and Frank Worthington, who entertained the footballing public during the 1970s and early 1980s.

Imperfect 10: The Man Behind the Magic, by Currie and former Sheffield United media manager Tony Pack, tells the story of the Blades legend both on and off the pitch. The book title is in itself interesting to analyse, with it reflecting the contrast of Currie the player and his flamboyant on-field persona and that of his shyness and struggles away from playing and in his domestic life. Quite simply, the perfect No: 10 (the numbered shirt most associated with Currie’s playing days) on the field, but an imperfect character away from it.

In terms of the football side of the book, readers are taken through Currie’s career from being released as an apprentice at Chelsea, and his first professional contract at Watford in 1967, to his final days in a brief stint as player/manager at non-league Goole Town in 1987, taking in Watford, Sheffield United, Leeds United, QPR, as well as his 13 England U23 appearances and 17 full International caps.

That Currie was most comfortable on the pitch, is readily apparent as he recalls his playing time with warmth, acknowledging and praising many of those that he played alongside. Indeed, his only real criticism of anybody within the game, is reserved for ex-Leeds United and England manager, the late Don Revie. Currie was very much part of Sir Alf Ramsey’s final squads, including playing in the infamous 1-1 draw with Poland at Wembley in 1973 which saw England fail to qualify for the 1974 Worlds Cup Finals. However, when Revie took charge of the Three Lions, flair players such as Currie were very much marginalised, with organisation, and work-rate favoured by the manager, meaning Currie earned just a solitary cap under Revie. However, with Ron Greenwood’s appointment in 1977, Currie returned to the fold, appearing ten times, including a standout performance in a 1-1 draw against Brazil in 1978. Alongside his 17 England caps, Currie won two promotions with Sheffield United, reached two League Cup Semi-Finals with Leeds United and played in the 1981-82 FA Cup Final with QPR, losing 1-0 in a replay, scant reward for a man of his talents.

However, against the background of his playing career, Currie reveals the struggles he had to deal with and still does to this day. For this there is much to credit co-author Andy Pack for, in being able to be trusted enough to extract and reveal the inner turmoil and dark parts of Currie’s life as his career ended against a background of divorce, depression, increasing isolation, drinking and money problems. However, you feel that Pack would have had to work hard to get the story he wanted as at just 239 pages, this is a short book compared to most biographies/autobiographies, which leads at times to certain events seemingly skimmed over and covered too quickly.

Despite this, Currie is very open in being very critical of himself, whether detailing his inability to be authoritative, for instance in wage negotiations during his playing time, describing his crippling shyness and nervousness away from his playing days, or the reasoning behind not seeking professional help now and in the past. What is evident though is the part that Sheffield as a city and United as a club did to bring Currie back from the brink in getting him back on his feet, starting with a testimonial game in 1986 which drew over 20,000 to Bramall Lane. Since then, Currie has worked at the club in various roles, beginning in 1988 on the Football in the Community scheme, later becoming a Director and in recent years as a Club Ambassador. Currie’s place in the Blades history was further cemented in 2018 when the South Stand was named the Tony Currie Stand – not bad for a lad from London, who has earned a special place in the hearts of those who call Bramall Lane home.

(Publisher: Vertical Editions. November 2021. Hardback: 239 pages)


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Book Review: Bournemouth 90 by Billy Morris

Saturday 05 May 1990. Bournemouth v Leeds United. The final game of the season. Win and Leeds would return to the top flight of English football after an eight year absence. Lose and Sheffield United could pip their West Yorkshire rivals to promotion. What followed that Bank Holiday weekend on the south coast is remembered as one of triumph for the Elland Road club on the pitch, with Lee Chapman’s goal enough to earn a 1-0 victory, but which was marred by serious violence off it. And it is against this backdrop that this fictional novel takes its title.

Of the 190 pages of this engaging, gritty, fast-paced and at times brutal dark crime thriller, all but the final eight, are set between Monday 09 April 1990 and Sunday 06 May 1990. The significance of the dates are that the first sees the central character Neil Yardsley released from prison after three years as he returns to his home city of Leeds and the second is the day after the Bournemouth v Leeds fixture; very much the ‘morning after the night before’.

Whilst the match on the south coast is the culmination of the story in a football sense, it is also the setting as other plot-lines come to a head. Indeed, whilst football is featured with Neil’s return to his mates and the ritual of attending games back at Elland Road, Morris draws in a number of other themes such as family, belonging, loyalty and betrayal as Neil’s attempt to go straight are side-tracked as he becomes drawn into the dark side of the crime, gang and drug scene in the city.

The author was born in Leeds and so the language used (and which he explains in a preface, Accents, Dialects and Pronunciation) has an entirely authentic feel, as do his descriptions of the various pubs, bars and landmarks in the city from the 1990s. This extends to his description of the football casuals scene as fashion shifted from denim clad skinheads to flick-haired Pringle wearing gangs, all giving the novel a ‘real’ feel.

What also helps provide an authenticity is the short headlines at the beginning of some chapters that gives readers context to events of the time, whether that be describing the nervous form the Elland Road team were going through as the season reached its conclusion or events in Britain in a year that saw Margaret Thatcher eventually stand down as Prime Minister.

This is undoubtedly a fast paced unflinching read, with the 48 short-sharp chapters keeping readers engaged and driving them on through to its conclusion, with the final chapter six months on after the events in Bournemouth providing one final twist.

(Publisher: Independent. August 2021. Paperback: 191 pages)


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