By Derek Hammond and Gary Silke
Football nostalgia has exploded thanks to the internet. Once the domain of hoarders and collectors, now any football fan, young or old, can buy old match-day programmes, order a retro kit or bid for an obscure piece of club memorabilia on eBay.
The nostalgia often hints at simpler, purer, more innocent times, when footballers lived round the corner, when kids sneak in to the game free, when football stadiums were named after a street or a train station instead of a global conglomerate.
Got, Not Got is the best bits of the nostalgic corners of the internet made into a book.
Football was different before the English Premier League came along. Sure, for decades players chafed against the maximum wage, and the patricians running football clubs treated players like idiots… but there was some romance surrounding the game.
Kids could, once upon a time, run onto the pitch to congratulate a goal scorer without being gang-tackled by amped-up security guards with a lecture about “health and safety” still ringing in their ears.
Balding players went for a combover instead of shaving their noggins. Europe was exotic. And Frank Worthington was popular with other players’ wives.
Got, Not Got is a voyage back into those times, curated by Derek Hammond and Gary Silke. They have arranged in alphabetical order a collection of incidents, players, clubs and football-related tat that describes what it was to be a football follower in the pre-Premier League era.
“Dastardly foreign tricks” sits next to “Divisions One to Four”. “In the Buff” abuts “Injuries Before Cruciates and Metatarsals”. “The XXX Printer”, “Youth Envy” and “The ZX Spectrum” round out the book.
The text has a tongue-in-cheek quality, but there’s a genuine warmth and sense of longing for a time that has gone by.
There are moments of enlightenment too – does anyone under 40 know that former Crystal Palace manager Malcolm Allinson insisted that the club change its nickname from “the Glaziers” to “the Eagles”? Pfft, the youth of today, don’t know their history.
This is a book for those who thrive on football obscurity, nostalgia and trivia. Sure, it overlooks the ever-present dark side of football, but what’s the point of having rose-tinted glasses if you never put them on?