on 9 November 2009
To declare my bias at the outset, I grew up locally watching some of the great league and cup winning Hendon teams that Ballheimer and Lush chronicle and still count the day I first played at muddy Claremont Road for a district youth league rep XI as treading on hallowed ground. So this is a book I read unabashedly through the glasses of nostalgia. Any Hendon fan will be able to relive (for better or worse!) games watched in more glorious days. There is history of the club's early days as Hampstead and then Golders Green FCs, though this is largely culled from local newspapers and makes pedestrian reading. Ballheimer and Lush have written a football history, not a social one, but more interweaving of the club's ascent in the first half of the 20th century with London's expansion would have made for a richer narrative in the absence of interviewees. The pace and colour picks up as the book gets to the days within the authors' memory and is particularly strong once the game goes open. With the hindsight of history, amateur football's transformation into non-league marked Hendon's zenith. The authors rue missed opportunities to reverse the downward arc since as Hendon went from club to company and back to club skirting bankruptcy along the way. Anyone interested in Hendon FC, London or non-league football will enjoy reading this book, although fans will complete it with a tinge of sadness.