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My Father And Other Working Class Football Heroes Paperback – 3 Aug 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Yellow Jersey; New Ed edition (3 Aug 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224072684
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224072687
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"The most emotionally charged and moving sports book I think I've ever read - Harry Ritchie, Daily Mail" (Daily Mail Harry Ritchie)

"One of the most deserving William Hill winners in the award's history ... The book of the year" (Christopher Maume Independent)

"A remarkable book... Imlach is a gifted writer, pungently aware, admirably combative, knowledgeable and compassionate" (Brian Glanville Sunday Times)

"My Father and Other Working-Class Heroes immediately joins the Football Classic Club - whose members are bonded by using football as a backdrop for something entirely different... A beautiful personal history" (Rick Broadbent Times)

"If I could have my memories of Stewart Imlach surgically extracted, I would wrap them carefully, put them in a box, and send them to his son. Unlike me, Gary Imlach never saw his father play football... But that has not prevented the son from producing one of the best sports books of recent years. A book to treasure" (Richard Williams Guardian)

Book Description

Winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award: the moving story of one man's search for his father, and for the game he played

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Leyla Sanai on 3 Sep 2006
Format: Paperback
Memoirs of deceased parents can be mawkishly sentimental ponderous affairs drowning in pathos, but Imlach has succeeded in writing a book that is deftly light in tone and entertaining as well as being, by turns, moving, funny and informative.

The contrast between professional footballers' lives half a century ago and today is fascinating - wages were a fraction of what they are now, and not only were players not the superstars they are now but they were often treated with little respect by their clubs, who would occasionally arrange transfers without informing them first.

There are many hilarious moments here, among them the author's foiling an attempt to foul him in a school match by getting in there first, his mum hiding in the pantry when her husband played in professional matches so that she could avoid the radio commentary, and the arch wilfulness of waiters trying to humiliate the wives of players at a posh dinner. This last scene shows off Imlach's flair and wit to the full, with the asparagus laid before the bewildered wives being described as 'straightened question marks to which they had no answer'.

The ease with which Imlach recounts absorbing tales, his ability to draw humour from everyday occurences, and his passion for football will draw obvious comparisons with Nick Hornby or David Baddiel. Hopefully, like them, he will turn his hand to fiction and become a fully fledged writer of best selling laugh-out-loud, blokeish novels.

Leyla Sanai
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By G. L. Haggett VINE VOICE on 27 Sep 2006
Format: Paperback
Part social history, part family memoir, this is on one hand a son's moving story of his father's life and the ups and downs of a career largely spent outside the top level of professional football. On the other hand, the author uses football to trace social change over the last fifty years.

Nick Hornby's "Fever Pitch" has prompted pale imitations by writers nowhere near as gifted. This book, however, is exceptional in the sense that a talented writer with a broad world view and the perspective that that provides has taken a sideways glance at the rot, corruption and exploitation at the heart of professional football.

Towards the end of the book, he describes his own loss of interest in a game which has become increasingly detached from its core values and traditional audience. Many will empathise with the sentiments he expresses.

At a time when publishers seem to take every opportunity to save on production costs, it should be stated that this is a beautifully produced paperback, worthy of a place on anyone's bookshelf.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on 28 Aug 2006
Format: Paperback
This book should be a must read for all the modern day poseurs masquerading as professional footballers. They should be made to read it before signing their contract, endorsements and image rights.

It is a excellent, informative read of football in that era of 1950s & 60s but also a social commentary of that era and insight into housing, work and unfortunately class barriers.

As a member of the tartan army it also shows why we've done so poorly at world cups ie for 1958 no manager, Matt Busby lying injured in hospital, so what do we do? Let a committee of selectors, most who have never played the game, pick the team, cream the expenses whilst some players lost money representing their country!

It is also an interesting tale of a father and son relationship, probably told with some regrets after his death.

I highly commend this book to you.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By sgeoff on 18 Mar 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best football book I've ever read, but it's so much more than that. Beautiful written, this moving account not only recreates a lost world when footballers were part of the community and travelled to the home match by public bus and then walked to the players' entrance ; it also details a man's search for the father he had never really learned about while he was alive. In the first chapter, looking at a photo of the Forest team of 1959, including his father Stewart, lining up to receive the Cup from the Queen, Gary Imach asks "What had that moment been like for him ? Why didn't I know ? Why had I never asked him this simple question ? How had I managed to let him die without properly gathering together the details of his career, his life story ?" Many adults whose fathers are now dead will share these questions and emotions, but few if any will go on to recreate their father's life and times as impressively as Imalach does. A brilliant account of football in the 50s and 60s, when players didn't own flash houses and cars, and were enslaved to clubs by their one-sided contracts ; and a most moving family story. If I could give 6 stars I would !
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Zak on 17 Nov 2006
Format: Paperback
I heard many good things about this book, and I wasn't disappointed. It is written superbly and manages beautifully to interwine personal memeries with an historical account of the game as it was played pre and post World War 2. The last chapter is just a delight. I would challenge anyone not be moved by it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bluesbreaker on 1 April 2007
Format: Paperback
Don't mistake this book for one of the Hornby-esq clones - its not another football supporters memoir. Instead its a engaging account of one player written by his son. Some of the stuff is remembered , some newly-discovered and some , inevitably , perceived now, but not at the time.The main themes are the precariousness of professional sport for the journeyman, the way players were treated in 50s/60s and sons remembering dads. Recommended.
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