Jimmy Greaves remains the greatest goalscorer in English football history, with a record of 357 top-flight goals that may never be surpassed.

Teenage sensation at Chelsea and England debutant at 19, he became – after an unhappy spell at AC Milan – a legend at Tottenham Hotspur. But despite 44 international goals in 57 games, his England career was defined by the heartbreak of missing the 1966 World Cup Final. A shock move to West Ham brought an acrimonious end to his Spurs days and, a year later, he retired from the game, aged only 31.

What followed was a desperate descent into alcoholism, followed by a remarkable battle to win back his family and self-esteem. Reinventing himself as a popular TV personality, his instincts in front of camera proved as natural as those in front of goal. Having taken his final drink in 1978, Greaves has remained sober from that day.

Drawing on interviews with family, friends, colleagues and opponents, Natural: The Jimmy Greaves Story is the definitive biography of one of England’s most loved footballers.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. April 2019. Hardcover: 384 pages)


Buy the book here: Jimmy Greaves


1992 to 2022 was a period like no other for West Ham United.

Taking in the rise of the Premier League, promotion, relegation, European nights and so much more, Daniel Hurley looks at key moments in West Ham’s recent history from a fan’s perspective, remembering joy and despair in equal measure along his journey as a football supporter from child to adult.

The Games That Made Us is the story of an unforgettable period in West Ham’s history told through the club’s 50 most important matches over the past 30 years, with each game put into context and the consequences examined.

From Dicks to Di Canio, Harewood to Antonio, Redknapp to Allardyce, The Games That Made Us tells tales of last-minute winners and last-second heartbreak, of trips to Cardiff, 5-4 victories and 4-2 defeats, plus more matches against Wimbledon than you would expect.

Find out how a former manager once gave Daniel a transfer exclusive, why his son’s first game was possibly the worst debut in history and why John Hartson ruined his 14th birthday.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. August 2022. Hardcover: 352 pages)


West Ham United: From East End Family to Globalised Fandom is the story of the evolution of West Ham. It charts how a works football team was transformed into a club that represented east London’s working classes, only to be transformed again in the late 20th and early 21st centuries into a global brand with supporters in every habitable place on Earth.

Starting as the Thames Ironworks Ltd works team, they changed their name to West Ham United in 1900, shortly before moving to the Boleyn Ground in Upton Park. For nearly a century they were supported by local working-class men from across the East End of London until a series of economic, social, cultural, geographical and technological changes brought the club a global fanbase.

Through surveying West Ham United fan groups across the world, this book attempts to explain this phenomenon and to get a sense of what the club means to those who originally came from the East End, as well as to those who have no biographical connection to the area.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. March 2022. Hardcover: 352 pages)


How much do you really know about West Ham United?

Put your Hammers knowledge to the test with this bumper book of brainteaser quizzes and fascinating facts, beautifully illustrated by one of the world’s leading sports artists.

It’s packed with trivia on all the West Ham greats – from World Cup heroes Moore, Hurst and Peters to Hammers legends Bonds, Brooking and beyond – providing hours of highly dippable fun and entertainment.

Which West Ham manager played in a rock band called Rawbau? Who was West Ham’s first non-British manager? A statue erected near the Boleyn Ground, honouring the Hammers’ 1966 World Cup heroes, also includes which Everton player? Fan favourite Clyde Best was born in which country?

Trivquiz West Ham United holds the answers to all these questions and hundreds more.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. February 2022. Paperback: 224 pages)

2021/22 Premier League books (Part 3) – Saints to Wolves by Jade Craddock

With the new Premier League season just around the corner and a host of familiar and new players gracing the league, there’s plenty of stories to be written, metaphorically and literally. Here, we take a look at each club and pick an already published autobiography from a player of the Premier League era that’s worth a read and one from the current crop that would appeal.


Past: Southampton go into 2021/22 in their tenth straight campaign in the Premier League. When the league kicked off in 1992, the Saints enjoyed twelve seasons at the top, but their thirteenth proved unlucky as they were relegated in 20th place in 2005. Worse was yet to come as four seasons in the Championship ended in relegation to League One in 2009. But it was only a brief stay with Nigel Adkins steering the Saints back to the Championship in two seasons, with the help of Rickie Lambert’s goals, before a second consecutive promotion from the Championship back to the Premier League in 2011/12. As far as past players go, the Saints boast the likes of Gareth Bale, Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk, but there’s only really one man who’s synonymous with the South Coast side – Matt Le Tissier. Le Tissier spent all of his career at Southampton, having joined the youth set-up in 1985, eventually bidding St Mary’s farewell seventeen years later. He holds the accolade of the first midfielder to score 100 Premier League goals and was included in the 1994/95 PFA Team of the Year. His wittily titled Taking Le Tiss was published in 2009.

Present: The departure of Danny Ings to Villa this summer may have caught many out, and the Saints will be keen to hold on to their other star men as they head into the season, none more so than James Ward-Prowse, who, like Le Tissier, is currently a one-club man, racking up a decade in the senior team and almost twenty years at the club in total. He would make a very good case for a Southampton autobiography. Young guns like Kyle Walker Peters and Nathan Tella are ones to watch, while Che Adams has begun to make his mark. However, with his return to his boyhood club, initially on loan in 2020, before making the deal permanent, Theo Walcott’s journey would make for an interesting read. Although an autobiography was published in 2011, Theo: Growing Up Fast, the following decade has been as eventful as his early years and at thirty-two he’s well placed to look back on a career that started in earnest at just sixteen. Indeed, sixteen years in the Premier League is certainly something to write home about.

Tottenham Hotspur

Past: One of the Premier League mainstays, Tottenham’s lowest finish in the top flight came in 1993/94 when they ended up in fifteenth. The nineties and early 2000s saw them finish in and around mid-table, but by 2006 they had become regular top-half finishers and participants in Europe. Major trophies have largely eluded the North London side, with just the League Cup in 2008 to their name in recent times, although a Champions League final was on the cards in 2019, but they came unstuck in an all-English tie against Liverpool. New manager Nuno Espirito Santo, brought in this summer, has begun to ring the changes, but the football world’s eyes will be singularly on the future of Harry Kane. And he’s not the only iconic marksman that Spurs have had in the Premier League era, but, interestingly, neither Robbie Keane nor Jermain Defoe, to name but two, have published autobiographies yet, but with Defoe still banging in the goals for Rangers, there’s plenty of time for that. Similarly, perhaps Tottenham’s biggest ever superstar, or certainly their biggest ever money-earner, Gareth Bale hasn’t yet put pen to paper on his momentous career, but between Wales and Real Madrid, there’s still presumably lots to be written. In terms of those with autobiographies already published, both Luka Modric and Ledley King options are available, but there are few better reads out there across the entirety of the football book world than Peter Crouch’s How To Be A Footballer and I, Robot, both of which benefit from Crouch’s trademark humour. Better yet, a third book looks slated for release next year.

Present: As England captain and current Premier League Golden Boot holder, it is hard to look beyond Harry Kane for a future autobiography regardless of what the next couple of weeks bring. But as the transfer saga rumbles on, let’s turn our attention to other Spurs players. Eric Dier and Hugo Lloris have been Tottenham mainstays for seven and nine years respectively. Dier’s start offered a somewhat different route to a lot of England players, having begun his journey in Portugal with Sporting CP, before moving to England with Tottenham. Lloris, meanwhile, began in his native France with Nice and latterly Lyon but has spent the bulk of his career in the Premier League. As captain of France, he led Les Bleus to both the final at Euro 2016, eventually finishing runners-up, before going one better two years later at the World Cup in Russia, where France triumphed over Croatia. Whilst Dele Alli has found himself on the fringes in recent times, at still only 25, there is plenty more to come from the MK Dons youngster. A mercurial talent Alli was soon spotted at the League One side and was named PFA Young Player of the Year in his first two consecutive seasons in the Premier League. He has played at both a Euros and World Cup, racking up almost 40 caps, but missed out on this summer’s entertainment. But when it comes to the final pick, it has to be Son Heung-Min who has taken the Premier League by storm since his arrival in 2015, growing into one of the league’s top performers, winning the Premier League Player of the Month three times, Goal of the Month three times, Goal of the Season once and the Puskas Award in 2020. He has notched various awards as Asian International Player of the Year and Korean Player of the Year.


Past: In its 29 seasons, Watford have featured in the Premier League for seven campaigns. In 1992, they were playing in Division 1 and fell to Division 2 in 1996, before consecutive promotions in 1998 and 1999 saw them join the top flight for the first time. However, it was the briefest of stays with the Hornets immediately dropping back down. Several seasons in Division 1/Championship followed, before a return to the Premier League in 2006. But history was to repeat itself with the London outfit managing just the single campaign. Eight years in the Championship followed before Watford once again made it to the top, and this time their stay extended across five seasons before their relegation in 2020. However, the Hornets bounced back at the first time of asking, finishing second last season to begin anew in the Premier League this time out. Like many teams outside of the so-called big six, Watford players haven’t typically been the subject of autobiographies. However, one man central to Watford’s past has penned his life In His Own Words – the late Graham Taylor. Manager of the Hornets for ten years, he led Watford from the Fourth Division to the First in five years and three years later was England manager. He returned to Watford for a second spell in charge from 1996 to 2001.

Present: There is a case for saying that two of Watford’s best players are part of the current squad and both would be suitable picks for an autobiography. In fact, Cassell have beaten me to the punch, by landing Troy Deeney’s memoir, Redemption, which will be published next month and will chart his footballing career from Chelmsley Town, whilst training as a bricklayer, to becoming captain of a Premier League side and leading the line for Watford for over a decade. The second man to rival Deeney’s charge is Watford’s current number 1. Ben Foster had two loan seasons at Watford, picking up Player of the Season in 2006/2007, before moving there on a permanent basis in 2018. His has been a meandering journey that saw him start out in Southern League Division One West for Racing Club Warwick whilst also training as a chef. Turning professional in 2001, he made the move to Stoke and saw time on loan at Bristol City, Tiverton Town, Stafford Rangers, Kidderminster Harriers and Wrexham. In 2005 came the biggest move of his career as he was signed by Manchester United, but appearances were hard to come by in his five years at Old Trafford, two seasons of which were spent on loan at Watford. Interim moves to Birmingham City and West Brom followed, but Foster has taken to life as Watford’s number one.

West Ham United

Past: Despite starting the Premier League era outside of the top flight, West Ham soon rectified that with automatic promotion at the end of that first campaign in 1993. Ten years of top-flight football followed, which included a season in Europe. The Hammers have twice been relegated in subsequent years, first in 2003 and again in 2012, but their time out of the Premier League has been minimal, with them bouncing back quickly on both occasions. The new season is their tenth consecutive in the Premier League since their return to the top in 2012, with a sixth-placed finish last time out signalling a marked improvement on previous seasons. When it comes to former players, West Ham have boasted some big names, including Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick who have all gone on to pen autobiographies, whilst other Hammers graduates are still absent from the bookshelves. Whilst Tony Cottee’s affiliation with the club spans almost a decade, he spent just two years with the Hammers in the Premier League era and released his autobiography, centred on the club, in 2012. Paolo Di Canio may not have been at West Ham as long as Cottee but his legacy continues. Few can forget his goal against Wimbledon that is one of the iconic moments in the league’s history and earnt Di Canio BBC Goal of the Season and Hammer of the Year. Although he never represented Italy at senior level, Di Canio’s career saw him represent some of the biggest names in Serie A, where he won the league and UEFA cup. The Inside Story told in Paolo Di Canio: The Autobiography was published in 2001.

Present: It would be relatively easy to make a case for a number of current West Ham players: Lukasz Fabianski who started off at Lech Poznan before breaking into the Premier League at Arsenal; Craig Dawson whose circuitous journey to the top started off at Radcliffe Borough; New Zealand captain Winston Reid who represented his nation at this summer’s Olympics; Michail Antonio who has been the Hammers top scorer in the last two seasons (joint with Tomas Soucek in 2020/21); and despite being 21, who can rule out Declan Rice, who as well as pushing himself into the England spotlight in recent seasons also has the habit of becoming a meme. But there’s no denying that really there’s only one name when it comes down to it: Mark Noble – nicknamed Mr West Ham. Indeed, despite brief loans at Hull and Ipswich Town and an early blooding at Arsenal, Noble has been a part of the furniture at West Ham since 2000 – over twenty years. With players barely seeing out contracts these days, Noble has put in enough service for the Hammers for two testimonials, but prior to the coming season he announced that 2020/21 would be his last at West Ham, having racked up over 400 appearances. It remains to be seen what Noble will do after he’s hung up his boots, but publishers may just want to get a phone call in early.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Past: Wolvers were one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888 and have had some memorable moments in the sun in their 140-plus history. When the Premier League kicked off, however, Wolves weren’t at the top any longer and spent the first eleven seasons in Division 1. A brief foray into the top flight came in 2003/04, but it was back to the Championship for another five seasons before Wolves got their second shot at the big time. Their stay lasted three seasons, but subsequent relegations saw them drop down to the third tier in 2013. The Midlands men bounced back straight away and with new ownership and management in charge made a concerted push for the Premier League, which paid dividends in 2018. Wolves’ return to the top flight saw them secure Europa League football at the first time of asking and now new manager Bruno Lage will be looking to bring the European nights back to Molineux. When it comes to Wolves’ greats in the Premier League era, despite never having experienced the top flight himself, Steve Bull remains a legend for a generation of supporters and his book My Memories of Wolves was released in 2003. Top pick, however, goes to Carl Ikeme, whose book Why Not Me was published in 2019 and charts the former goalkeeper’s biggest battle, off the pitch, with leukaemia.

Present: Since stepping up to the Premier League in 2019, Wolves have caught many an eye, thanks to an impressive roster of players. Ruben Neves, Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez are amongst the star men at Molineux, but stalwarts like Romain Saiss and Willy Boly have been an integral part of their journey into the Premier League. Whilst talented youngsters Pedro Neto and Rayan Ait-Nouri are ones for the future, few players come more experienced than Wolves’ midfield maestro Joao Moutinho, who boasts several league titles in Portugal and one in France, the UEFA Cup and European Championship. But when it comes to wresting a publishing opportunity away from Moutinho, Conor Coady is the man. The former Liverpool youngster may have felt his opportunity for the top flight had slipped away when he was released by the Reds in 2014, but he’s taken his chance at Wolves with both hands. A natural captain and reconfigured as a central defender, Coady is very much at place in the top flight, and equally in the England set-up. Despite missing out on minutes at this summer’s Euros, the former England U20 captain is clearly an asset to any team and his post-match conferences and appearances on Monday Night Football also highlight his ease and warmth. A publisher’s dream, I imagine.

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Interview with Mike Bayly author of British Football’s Greatest Grounds: One Hundred Must-See Football Venues

Mike Bayly describes himself on his Twitter profile (@Mike_Bayly) as, “History enthusiast. Contributor to  @wsc_magazine Amateur photographer and writer. Quirky ground lover.” And all these attributes have been brought together in his latest project, British Football’s Greatest Grounds: One Hundred Must-See Football Venues. Following the publication of the book which has received much critical acclaim, FBR caught up with the author.

1986 FA Cup Final programme cover

Football Book Reviews (FBR): Can you tell us what were your first football memories?

Mike Bayly (MB): Like most children, I played football at school and in parks as soon as I was old enough to kick a ball. The first televised game I clearly remember watching was the 1986 FA Cup Final between Liverpool and Everton, followed by my first major tournament, Mexico ‘86, shortly afterwards. In 1987, I attended my first live game, seeing Hereford United beat Hartlepool United 4-0 at Edgar Street in the old Division Four. Football quickly became an obsession after that, and I was never happier than when pouring after the results and tables in the ‘Sports Argus’, the local results newspaper for the West Midlands.

FBR: Do you have a team you specifically support?

MB: Growing up in the West Midlands, I occasionally watched Hereford United and Shrewsbury Town, but Kidderminster Harriers were my first love. Harriers were then a very successful non-League side, winning the 1986-87 FA Trophy. I spent many happy years at Aggborough and still have a framed photo from when I was mascot against Maidstone United in 1988.

When I moved to Sheffield for university in 1994, it was much harder to attend games and I lost touch with the club. While it may be anathema to most fans, I tend to gravitate towards clubs where I live, and as a resident of the Steel City, would probably describe myself as a fan of local football than of a specific team.  While I consider myself a casual follower of Sheffield Wednesday, the club I probably watch more than any other is Hallam FC of the Northern Counties East League, albeit only a few times a season. Most Saturdays I tend to be out photographing random grounds and have long passed the point where I can claim a specific allegiance.

FBR: Changing Ends: A Season in Non-League Football was your first football book. What was the driving force for writing it?

MB: During the first decade of the 2000s, I grew increasingly disillusioned with football and hadn’t watched a non-League game in years. For reasons I don’t entirely recall, I attended what was effectively the Conference South title decider between Hampton & Richmond Borough and AFC Wimbledon in April 2009. It was a fantastic experience and made me question whether the charge that football had ‘lost its soul’ could be so readily applied to non-League football. I decided to spend the 2009-10 season watching different non-League clubs, interviewing fans and committee members for their take on the modern game. This included trips to London APSA, a leading Asian club, and the fan-owned AFC Liverpool. It was through this journey I rediscovered my love of football and became aware of the invaluable and unsung work volunteers do, who, in my opinion, are the real heroes of our national game.

FBR: Do you think this book has even more relevance today?

MB: In some respects, yes. Professional football has become even more commercialised and expensive to watch in the last decade and will presumably continue on a similar trajectory. There have long been examples of fans finding refuge in the non-League game as it offers an affordable and more traditional matchday experience. Interestingly, a by-product of the pandemic is that fans desperate for live football have turned out in record numbers at non-League grounds. Here in Sheffield, interest in Hallam FC spiked prior to the latest lockdown. For a league game against Brigg Town, the Covid-restricted ticket allocation of 150 sold out in two minutes.

A number of those attending would ordinarily be watching Sheffield Wednesday or Sheffield United, and it would be naïve to assume ticket demand will remain the same once things return to normal. However, it is interesting to note that many fans watching non-League football for the first time loved the experience and vowed to continue doing so even when restrictions lift. At places like Hallam, you can watch the game and have a couple of pints for £10. The quality of football might not be the same as in the Football League or Premier League, but as an overall experience I suspect it will remain highly appealing in a financially uncertain post-Covid world.

FBR: What is the inspiration for your latest book, British Football’s Greatest Grounds: One Hundred Must-See Football Venues?

There were two main reasons I decided to write the book after the idea came to me in 2013.

Firstly, I’ve always enjoyed visiting new grounds, but, as I’m sure is the case with a lot of people, social and work commitments can restrict opportunities to do so. There were numerous ground guides available in print and on the internet, but, to the best of my knowledge, nothing that provided a shortlist of our must-see venues. Providing some guidance or suggestions in the form of a ‘bucket list’ might be useful for those fans with limited free time who wanted to be more selective with their football trips.

And secondly, I thought it would be a fun and rewarding project to carry out. Which it certainly proved to be.

FBR: Do you have a favourite ground and why?

MB: Like music albums, I think my choice of favourite ground changes with my mood or interest at a given time. However, there are three grounds that will always occupy a place near the top:

Cappielow [Credit: Greenock Morton FC]
  1. Cappielow (Greenock Morton) – A timeless football ground with old stands, large open terracing, evocative floodlights and an industrial titan crane for backdrop.
  2. Bellslea Park (Fraserburgh) – The 1920s main stand. The imposing Victorian church behind the ground. The harbour views. Quite wonderful.
  3. Cadbury Recreation Ground (Cadbury Athletic) – Part of the Bournville Model Village laid out by the Cadbury brothers in the late 19th/early 20th century. Complete with Edwardian Pavilion, the Cadbury Recreation Ground is in Birmingham but not of it. A utopian place to watch football.

FBR: Do you think the unique grounds will survive or is there an inevitability about standardisation where clubs are in the football pyramid?

MB: The football ground landscape in Britain has changed behind recognition in the past 30 years. I suspect there are five man drivers for this.

  1. The recommendations laid out in the Taylor Report that compelled many professional clubs to upgrade their ageing grounds to all-seater and improve safety.
  2. The increased cost of competing at the highest level, resulting in numerous out-of-town ground relocations. Some ground moves are made from necessity (Shrewsbury Town relocated from the beautiful Gay Meadow partly because of constant flooding) but other new builds appear to be driven solely by the desire to capitalise on land value and/or increase revenue.
  3. The desire to replace old structures with newer, more comfortable facilities that enable other revenue streams such as bars, hotels or conference suites.
  4. More stringent ground grading standards in the non-league pyramid (I reference this specifically in the last part of the Richmond Town section of my latest book)
  5. Greater fluidity in the non-League pyramid (not least automatic promotion to the Football League and play-off places in the tiers below) resulting in a greater number of aspirational clubs replacing older structures or moving to new facilities.
Bootham Crescent, York City FC

Taking this as a whole, I fear it is a case of when, not if, our oldest or most unique grounds will cease to exist. The Boleyn Ground, Griffin Park and Bootham Crescent have been lost in the last few years and based on current planning discussions, it’s only a matter of time before places like Goodison Park (Everton) or the Pilot Field (Hastings United) go the same way. Many other sacred venues have been the subject of relocation talk in the last decade. The fate of football grounds rests as much on the attitude and ambition of incumbent owners as anything else. I do worry that in the twilight of my life, ‘British Football’s Greatest Grounds’ will be more a document of what was, than what is.

FBR: How do you think COVID will  shape football going forward?

MB: I think it’s very difficult to tell at present. Reduced capacity at stadiums could be in place until late 2021 or even 2022. In this eventuality, some fans might have gone 18-24 months without watching their clubs live. I imagine the vast majority of supporters will be desperate to watch their club play again, regardless of the wait. However, it’s more than feasible that some will drift away or find themselves in the habit of watching non-League football, assuming restrictions are lifted earlier that those in the Premier League or Football League. As for Covid’s impact on the actual ground layout or design, I don’t know. Making predictions on anything right now can be a fallacious exercise.

FBR: Many thanks for your time Mike. Good luck with the book!

2019/20: An Incredible Journey. Match Day 9 – Tuesday 03 September 2019: Glossop North End v Eccleshill United

Matchday programme cover

I have a friend who loves his non-league football, he’s an Emley fan and also follows West Ham as a result of the FA Cup tie between the two sides in January 1998. Although the Hammers won through, it was Emley who stole all the headlines. Anyhow, he had mentioned that he had always wanted to go and see Glossop North End which as it turns out is only a short trip from Huddersfield.

Glossop North End hold the record for being the smallest town to have had a top flight league club, when back at the turn of the 20th Century the club were bankrolled by Sir Samuel Hill-Wood, who later became chairman of Arsenal and the Hillmen still have connections to the Gunners to this day.

They were elected to the Football League in the Second Division for the 1898/99 season eventually finishing second and gaining promotion to the top-flight. The 1899/1900 season was their only season in the First Division and unfortunately, they finished bottom of the pile.

GNE 1899/1900 Season

They remained in the Second Division through to the start of the First World War, but Glossop were perennial strugglers. Just before the war in the 1913/14 season they a had club record attendance of 10,736 for an FA Cup Second Round match against Preston North End. At the end of the war Glossop applied for re-election to the Football League but failed and had to drop into the Lancashire Combination League.

They now ply their trade in the Northern Premier League and have been relatively successful in recent years winning a North West Counties League and cup ‘double’ in 2014/15. They also have made it to two FA Vase Final’s, in 2008/09 and 2014/15, where they were beaten by Whitley Bay 2 – 0 and North Shields 2 – 1, respectively.

This visit to the AMDEC Forklift Truck Stadium on a wet and windy evening was for an FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replay, after the initial tie at Eccleshill United had ended 1-1. First impressions were of a hotchpotch stadium with the clubhouse behind one of the goals, with a covered terrace alongside, some covered terrace along the north side of the pitch and a seated stand on the south side.

The Hillmen kicked off into the wind and rain and Touhy hit a free-kick just over the bar in the early stages of the match which ebbed and flowed with entertainment at both ends of the pitch. The North End left back, Coulibaly looked particularly impressive with a number of strong runs down the wing but unfortunately lacked a final delivery that would count. Eccleshill hit the crossbar on the half hour but the keepers weren’t troubled throughout the first-half with Glossop looking the stronger side and the sides went in at the break 0-0.

The reality of the early FA Cup rounds

Despite looking the better side and having more of the ball the Hillmen were on the receiving end of the first goal. A free kick was swung in from the left and Irving had a free header to put it in the back of the net for the visitors. This sparked a reaction from Glossop. A long ball down the left was latched on to by the lively Mills who cut inside and sent a right foot curler into the top corner from just outside the corner of the area to level just after the hour mark. This lifted the urgency in the home team to go and search out a winner. A bit of pinball just outside the box finally saw the ball come to Limpishi who fired the ball in, a miss-hit from Maeico saw the ball roll to Tuohy who fired the ball into the roof of the net from six yards past the wrong footed keeper. Heads went down in the Eccleshill side, they had defended well for seventy-two minutes but were now on the back foot and 2-1 behind. North End upped the pressure for the final fifteen minutes, with Maeico hitting a rising shot just over the bar from twenty yards. In the dying minutes, the ball found its way to Limpishi on the right wing, he sat the defender down on his arse and sent the ball in to the near post to be flicked in by the substitute Fitto with virtually his first touch of the game.

A great competitive match in difficult conditions, but the small wet crowd were thoroughly entertained throughout the game.


Tuesday 03 September 2019

Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round Replay

Glossop North End 3 (Mills 63’, Tuohy 72’, Fitto 89’) Eccleshill United 1 (Irving 51’)

Venue: AMDEC Forklift Truck Stadium

Attendance: 147

Glossop North End: Latham, Wilshaw, Coulibaly, Vinten, Hibbert, Holt (Limpiski 61’), Ekpolo, Tuohy, Coppin, Maeico (Mason 85’), Mills (Fitto 88’)

Unused Substitutes: Ellis, McClenaghan.

Eccleshill United: Emmerson, Marsh, Kaba, Sugden, Omolokum, Basi, Stor, Woodward Irving, Staunton Buchanan

Unused Substitutes: Stimpson, Moorhouse, Hargreaves, Kroma, Ndlovu, Lever, Taylor.


Steve Blighton


Book Review: John Lyall – A Life in Football by Dr. Phil Stevens

When John Lyall was appointed West Ham United manager in 1974, he was only the fifth incumbent in the role for the Hammers and stayed until his sacking in 1989. Football was a very different game back then, in an era prior to Sky, the Premier League, foreign imports and wall-to-wall coverage on social media.

And perhaps then, rather aptly, this book does reflect this and is written in a gentle style belonging to a different age. An age of managers who were as we look back at that time, considered gentlemen, and included the likes of Sir Bobby Robson, Ron Greenwood, and indeed the subject of this biography, John Lyall.

The book is very traditional in its chronological timeline, with chapters taking the reader through the childhood of the Ilford born Lyall, through his playing youth and professional career at West Ham and his later coaching and managerial jobs at Upton Park and Ipswich Town.

Given that Lyall spent 34 years at the club both as player and manager, it is no surprise that the book is dominated by his time with the Hammers. The young full-back had four years in the youth team between 1955 and 1959, before making his senior debut in April 1959. However, his career was to be blighted by a serious knee injury that meant that he had to retire from the game in 1963 with less than 40 first-team appearances to his name.

Lyall was offered the position of Youth Manager and after proving to be a success and then later working alongside the Upton Park boss Ron Greenwood, took over the Hammers at the back end of 1974. The West Ham faithful were rewarded with years which saw the club win the FA Cup on two occasions (1974/75 and 1979/80), reach the European Cup Winners Cup Final in 1975/76 and the League Cup Final in 1980/81, and a third-place finish in the top-flight in 1985/86. Along with the good times, there were inevitability some bad times with relegations in both 1977/78 and 1988/89, the later seeing Lyall leave under a cloud despite his years of service to the club.  He then stepped back into football in 1990, getting Ipswich Town promoted to the newly created Premier League at the end of the 1991/92 campaign. His stay at Portman Road lasted until December 1994, when Lyall walked away from football for good, to spend as he had promised, more time with his family. Tragically though, Lyall died of a heart attack in 2006 aged just 66.

There is no doubt that author Dr. Phil Stevens has invested time a great deal of time to research and chronicle the life of one of West Ham’s true legendary figures. However, as a reader it felt as if for a large section of the beginning of the book that it was a generic look at the club rather than Lyall himself. The book would also has benefitted from a more rigorous proofreading, as there was inconsistency around the format of quotes used throughout and also errors such as the detailing of ‘EUFA’ instead of ‘UEFA’ and referring to Nottingham Forest as Notts Forest.

With West Ham now residents at the London Stadium, the book will provide a link and look back to some of the best years that fans at Upton Park had, under one of the true ‘gents’ of the English game.


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The West Ham United Quiz Book: 1,000 Questions on the Hammers by Chris Cowlin

Now is the time to find out how much you West Ham United fans really know, but be warned your brains are sure to take a hammering as you struggle to answer the 1,000 challenging questions in this quiz book, covering every aspect of the teams history, such as players, managers, opponents, scores, transfers, nationalities and every competition you can think of.

You will be arguing with the referee and pleading for extra time as the questions spark recollections and ardent discussions of the legendary greats and nail-biting matches that have shaped the club over the years.

With a fitting foreword by Hammers legend Julian Dicks, and bulging with important facts and figures, this book will entertain as well as educate, but be prepared for a few fouls and yellow cards along the way.

Book Review: Orientation by Adam Michie

Just as the game of football has changed down the years in terms of tactics, formations and rules, so has the experience of those attending it; the fan.

In the Prologue to Orientation, Adam Michie recalls being taken by his father to Upton Park in February 1989, in a pre-Premier League, pre-Sky Sports, First Division encounter between West Ham United and Queens Park Rangers that ended 0-0. Football in England at that time was about to hit the buffers with hooliganism at its height and the tragedy of Hillsborough months away. The subsequent recommendations of the Taylor Report and the birth of the Premier League changed the sport in this country irrevocably. Michie continued with visits to Upton Park with his grandad, but yearned for the experience of going to games, “…with people I knew, my friends, sharing the experience…” He took up supporting Spurs in 1991 so that he could go to games at White Hart Lane with his schoolboy mates. However, as ticket prices rocketed and his friends took up supporting some of the other ‘big’ clubs in London and further afield, Michie drifted away from attending games and became one of the games “…sofa supporters…”

Whilst Michie acknowledges that he bought into the Sky vision and wall-to-wall coverage, he counters that “…behind the façade of glitz and glamour is a sport that seems to have lost its way…” So despite a season at White Hart Lane that could offer Champions League Football and all the foreign array of talent that the Premier League boasted, Michie decided with a group of friends to try and “…rediscover what it was that first made him fall in love with football…” by buying a season ticket at Leyton Orient for the 2010/11 campaign.

Following the Prologue, Michie details from August 2010 through to May 2011 in diary format, the events in following the O’s. He was blessed with a good season which saw Orient maintain a Play-Off challenge and a heroic run in the FA Cup which was only halted after a replay against Arsenal in the Fifth Round. The club was also in the news as West Ham made their bid to move into the Olympic Stadium, right on the doorstep of Brisbane Road. Whilst the content is dominated by details regarding the groups’ visits to watch the Orient in League One and the cup competitions, Michie also give the reader an insight into his personal life, so that there is an appreciation of the author away from football. The style throughout is eminently readable, loaded with a good dose of humour and observation.

The book closes with an Epilogue written in January 2012, as Michie reflects on the experience of the 2010/11 season. To state here what he concludes would be to spoil the book. So instead, get yourself copy, whether Leyton Orient fan, Spurs fans, indeed whatever club or level you watch your football at.

Orientation: A persons’ basic attitude, beliefs, or feelings; a person’s emotional or intellectual position in respect of a particular topic, circumstance, etc.

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