Magazine Review: Football Masters (Issue 2) edited by Andrew Palmer

Cover of Issue 2

Andrew Palmer went to his first football match at Cray Wanderers in 1965 aged 6 and saw his first professional match at the Valley, the home of Charlton Athletic, in 1968. After watching live football for over 50 years, he was also involved with football publishing Video/DVD for over 25 years. Palmer is a football man with the games running through his veins.

Having recuperated from a Heart Transplant, his passion for the planets most popular sport drove him to produce this digital magazine, Football Masters, which he hopes his audience will “enjoy, looking back at the time before the Premiership when football seemed to be much closer to the fans.”

With a number of publications on the streets dealing with a retro look at the game, some may question whether there is there room in the market for another. However, where this digital version works over a standard magazine, is that there are links within the stories to videos to bring the articles to life. So, in this edition links take the reader to see players such as Stan Bowles, Pele, Garrincha and Colin Bell in their prime as well as match action from 1969 Fairs Cup winners Newcastle United, the FA Cup winners of 1959, Nottingham Forest and Arsenal in the 1970s.

The content in this reviewed edition (No: 2), comes from a number of prominent bloggers and journalists with fifteen articles spread over its 52 pages. The highlights as a reader in this copy were the articles on Pele’s time in the USA, the Colin Bell feature and the guide to Football Magazines.

As with any magazine of this type, not all the articles hit the mark, but for those who want a reminder of the game before sponsored shirts, a time when live games didn’t fill every minute of your waking day and players would be seen down the local pub with fans, this will appeal.

If there is a negative, then it would be in relation to the proofreading of the content, which if more thorough, would have made for a tighter and cleaner read.

A free subscription can be obtained from the following site: www,

Book Review: My Life in Football – The Autobiography by Kevin Keegan

Depending on your age, Kevin Keegan is either a Liverpool legend, a Newcastle legend or that guy who called out Sir Alex Ferguson in a live interview that has become the stuff of legend. But whether you think you know Kevin Keegan or not, reading his autobiography will almost certainly make you think again. Not only does it reflect on the early years before his fame and his unconventional route to the top, but it also shows in a starkly frank way the situations Keegan found himself in behind the scenes, especially as a manager, and they make for very interesting reading. He opens up on the characters, clubs and stories behind some of the most iconic moments in his career. Not surprisingly, he doesn’t hold back when he feels there are injustices that need to be accounted for, but, admirably, he’s quick also to acknowledge his own failings. Indeed, if there is one thing that this autobiography is it is honest – often unflinchingly so.

Despite only having been out of management over the last ten years, Keegan’s portrait of the world of football offers a very different vision to the sport we know now, and, especially in respect of the early decades of his career, there is a very clear sense of how times have changed. For those who can’t remember Kevin Keegan’s playing days, the autobiography also serves to highlight his footballing ability – he was the third ever Englishman to win the prestigious Ballon D’or, after legendary figures Stanley Matthews and Bobby Charlton, and the only Englishman to have ever won it twice. In terms of his managerial career, the bulk of this is given to his two spells at Newcastle, including that difficult second period, but the autobiography also recalls his successes, not least securing promotion with Manchester City from the First Division to the Premier League, which in many ways became the springboard for their later successes.

Reading the autobiography gives a very clear picture of who Kevin Keegan is both as a man, a footballer and manager, and just like that infamous interview, it’s apparent he’s lost none of that forthrightness and tenacity.

Jade Craddock

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2010/11: Bradford City 1911 – When the FA Cup Came Home

By no stretch of the imagination has the 2010/11 season been a good one for Bradford City. Currently in 17th place, with 11 games to go and with very littleto play for apart from pride. Peter Taylor recently departed from the Bantams and it is left to Peter Jackson to guide the West Yorkshire club through the remainder of this season. However, a century ago things were very different for Bradford City…….

2011 marks the centenary of Bradford City’s FA Cup winning season. To commemorate this remarkable event, an exhibition – When the FA Cup Came Home – will be held at Bradford Industrial Museum from Saturday 19 March 2011 until Sunday 12 June 2011.

Through archive images, film footage and original objects, the exhibition will illustrate how the club achieved arguably the most famous and popular triumph in Bradford’s footballing history. A victory made even more remarkable by the club becoming the very first recipient of the current trophy, designed and produced by Fattorini’s of Bradford.

When the FA Cup Came Home will chart the footballing journey to FA Cup success – from a cold January afternoon in New Brompton to a grand day out and disappointment in a Crystal Palace Final against the mighty Newcastle United, culminating in victory at Old Trafford, Manchester, in a hard-fought replay.

It will also tell the fascinating stories of the players: their origins, how they came to be part of the club, their part in the victory and what became of them in the ensuing years. The lives of several cup heroes and millions more were to be cut tragically short on the battlefields of Europe in the Great War that began a mere three years later. Of the rest, some went on to make significant contributions to club and community, while others disappeared into relative obscurity.

A tangible reminder of the great day, apart from the cup itself, was the medal presented to each member of the victorious team. While many of these medals have remained within the families of respective players and passed down the generations, the whereabouts of others is less clear. Bradford Museums & Galleries has secured the loan of no less than six of them. These will be on display in the exhibition and the aim is to discover the location of as many others as possible before it begins. Think how wonderful it would be to have eleven medals, most likely not seen together since the great day itself a century ago!

Through retelling the story of this epic event, When the FA Cup Came Home will provide a glimpse of Bradford life at the beginning of the twentieth century and show how these echoes from the past still have resonance for us today.

Further details about the exhibition can be found on the following website:

2010/11: Speed discards Blades for Dragons

Presumably having watched and being an avid football fan for 38 years counts for nothing. Why do I say this? Well because the older I get the less I am able to understand the decisions that are made at football clubs.

As an example, let’s look at Championship side, Sheffield United. Back in August this year The Blades hierarchy decided after three games of the 2010-11 season that it was time for Kevin Blackwell to depart. Surely getting rid of the manager during the summer would have made more sense, so allowing a new man time to settle in and make their mark on the team. In came Gary Speed, an experienced international player and good pro at Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United. Despite his lack of managerial experience he was given a three year contract. Under Speed’s leadership, The Blades have failed to find any consistent form and after defeat at Barnsley on Saturday find themselves in 20th place, just three points away from bottom place Preston. In 18 games in charge the rookie manager has orchestrated just 6 wins and 21 points in total. However, this seems to be enough to convince the FA of Wales that this is the record of a man they want in charge of the national team.

From Gary Speed’s point of view, where is the loyalty of sticking with the club who gave him the opportunity to manage? Where is his professional pride in wanting to get The Blades out of relegation trouble? Is the lure of the coin too great? Can he simply not resist the call of his country? Or is he rushing for the exit as he doesn’t feel he has the ability to get Sheffield United out of trouble?

If Speed is indeed to be the next Wales boss, then the man I feel sorry for is Brian Flynn. Flynn like Speed is another ex-Leeds United player who has moved into management. Unlike Speed his record is a decent one. Brian Flynn took up the reigns at Wrexham back in 1989. During his 12 years at the club and in difficult financial circumstances, Flynn achieved promotion in 1992/93 and got the club to the FA Cup Quarter Finals in 1996-97. His next post was also in Wales as Flynn moved to Swansea City in 2002-03 who had been bottom of the League before his arrival, yet on the final day of the season managed to keep The Swans up. He left in the following season and in 2004 took up the position of Wales Under 21 coach. Flynn came incredibly close to taking the Welsh team to the 2009 UEFA Under-21 Championships, guiding the side to the top of a strong group containing France and Romania, including a superb away win in Eastern Europe. Unfortunately, competition rules stated that even Group winners had to go through a two-legged play-off round in order to Qualify, and Wales were knocked out 5–4 on aggregate by England. When John Toshack left as Wales Manager, Flynn came in as Caretaker Manager. However, it appears that his experience and success at club and country level will count for nothing and he’ll be passed over for Gary Speed.

To misquote the lyrics of Delilah by Tom Jones…”Why, Why, Why Wales FA?”


Jim Taylor’s obsession with football might well be about to cost him his job. The angry, youthful narrator of “Beastmouse” is mentally scarred by the injustices his favourite team has suffered. What if the Russian millionaire who flies in to rescue Leeds United is not who he seems?

Sports fiction is a relatively new genre and football writing is perhaps its best vehicle of expression since it is rooted in the lives of so many people. Although it is a truism that football reflects life, what makes the statement actually true in the case of Doolally is that the central viewpoint belongs to that of the supporter not player – and supporters feel the emotions more. The foreword is by Ardal O’Hanlon, renowned comedian with starring roles in “Father Ted” and “My Hero”, and an avid Leeds United fan. The book is centred around a passion for Leeds United, hence personal contributions from Neil Jeffries editor of Leeds, Leeds, Leeds, and Leeds supporters lan Payne of Sky TV and Peter Davies of Africa’s premier sports website Supersports.

Yet, although Doolally first developed out of the Leeds Football Writers group’s commitment to innovative writing, it is about much more than Leeds. The theme of football fans being doolally mad in some way or other is universal. A variety of pieces and genres tests again and again the stereotype of the average football fan and questions not just why people go to football matches but what really matters in their lives. The madness of the comeback by Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League Final is seen from a neutrals perspective and sits side by side with the Saturday ritual of a Newcastle United fan.

This book is sparky, quirky, and lively. An original anthology of writing which will appeal to all football fans.

Book details


Edited by David Gill

ISBN: 9781905519002

PDG Books Ltd

Review by the Editor

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