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The Lost World of Football By Derek Hammond & Gary Silke

Release date: 03rd January, 2014
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: £19.99
Our Price: £19.99
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In 2012, Derek Hammond and Gary Silke wrote Got, Not Got, a wonderful evocation of a time when football was considerably less sullied than it is today.

The book struck a chord with fans, not necessarily because of the authors’ yearning for an age when success was measured in terms of trophies instead of money, although that was important, but thanks to one additional master-stroke. Got, Not Got looked and felt like a football annual of old – a heavyweight, A4-sized publication that could have been printed in 1972.

The authors have built on their success and produced The Lost World of Football, a rare opportunity for greying supporters to remind themselves of why our national sport was once called ‘the beautiful game’.

It opens with Hammond lamenting the fact that his son, born in 2000, will be unable to enjoy the innocence of a previous era, before reaching his damning conclusion. “One highly rewarding source of warm football feelings,” he writes, “is rallying Against Modern Football, that soulless zombie animated only by a lust for cash instilled by its Frankenstein creators.”

The introduction sets the scene for a heartfelt wander through a roughly two-decade spell (1970-90) when baby boomers embraced the game. The annual-sized publication, an inspired idea, permits us to suspend reality and to be 14 again.

The photography alone – bands on the pitch at the old Baseball Ground, Terry Venables playing with five youngsters in the street, the absence of sponsored shirts – evoke memories of a time when generating money was of only secondary importance to football clubs.

Lost World renews our acquaintance with games such as Blow Football, which deposited “four pints of saliva on mum’s best tablecloth” after you had played. Nice. But true.

It reminds us of a time when players wore black football boots; when Esso gave away free FA Cup coins; when playing Subbuteo was an obsession. Remember Goal magazine? How about Spot The Ball? Each is recalled with great fondness.

Though the book is unashamedly aimed at middle-aged men who, as teenagers, once stood on the terraces wearing denim jackets, Ben Sherman shirts, jeans and boots, chanting and singing for 90 minutes, they should buy it to show their offspring how good football used to be before money and dodgy owners killed it.


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