Stewart Imlach was an ordinary neighbourhood soccer star of his time.
A brilliant winger who thrilled the crowd on Saturdays, then worked alongside them in the off-season; who represented Scotland in the 1958 World Cup and never received a cap for his efforts; who was Man of the Match for Nottingham Forest in the 1959 FA Cup Final, and was rewarded with the standard offer - £20 a week, take it or leave it.
Gary Imlach grew up a privileged insider at Goodison Park when Stewart moved into coaching. He knew the highlights of his father's career by heart. But when his dad died he realised they were all he knew. He began to realise, too, that he'd lost the passion for football that his father had passed down to him. In this book he faces his growing alienation from the game he was born into, as he revisits key periods in his father's career to build up a picture of his football life - and through him a whole era.
Stewart Imlach travelled a long way from the tiny Scottish fishing community of Lossiemouth to the World Cup in Sweden. But in one sense he didn't move at all. He played in the last days of the maximum wage, when footballers were serfs, owned by their clubs - and the men who played the game and those who watched it led fundamentally the same lives together in the same communities.
More than forty years on, such an era seems barely imaginable. My Father and Other Working-Class Heroes brilliantly recaptures that world and the way it changed, blending the personal and the historical into a unique soccer story.(2004-11-29)