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jim fox (Sunderland, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom)

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Everton FC 1890-91: The First Kings of Anfield
Everton FC 1890-91: The First Kings of Anfield
by Mark Metcalf
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 20 May 2014
I came across the following review on the Toffeeweb pages and thought it may be of interest.

As one of the twelve founding Football League clubs in 1888/89, Everton Football Club has a long, proud history. Having played more top-flight League games than any other English team, the Toffees have won the League championship nine times - the fourth best record of any team.
The first occasion was in the third season of League football, 1890/91 when the Blues became the first club from Liverpool to collect the League championship trophy from their then base, Anfield.
In achieving their success, Everton knocked the winners of the first two championships, the Invincibles of Preston North End, off their throne. But how did they do it? Who were the players in this momentous season, what sort of football did they play and who did they beat?
This fascinating book by football writer Mark Metcalf takes a detailed look at that iconic season, with brief bios on each of the players who appeared for Everton, followed by a detailed look every one of the games Everton played.
Mark adds lots of interesting details about the early grounds Everton visited for their away games, and uses contemporary newspaper reports to recapature the spirit of the day, when the football, the media, the entire world was a very different place.


Images of the Past: The Miners' Strike
Images of the Past: The Miners' Strike
by Mark Metcalf
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars from tribune, 17 April 2014
This is taken from Tribune magazine - can you out it on Amazon?

Images of the Past: The Miners’ Strike is a largely-pictorial record of the untold story of the life at the sharp end of the pit villages. The black and white pictures by Jenkinson, official photographer for the Yorkshire Miners (who tragically died of cancer two years ago) capture poignantly the joy, the tears, the police violence, the suffering and the self-help society of the mining communities. It brought tears to these old eyes.

Martin’s extensive image library of the labour movement is being managed by his daughter Justine. He collected graphic evidence of what life was actually like on the picket line, in the soup kitchens and on the dolorous day of the return to work. My favourite is a grainy shot of a commemorative march in the snow in Moorthorpe to the two pickets who lost their lives, David Jones and Jo Green.

But all the pictures are enlightening and the story of the strike is told intelligently and with passion by Metcalf and Harvey. If you want to know about the miners, buy this book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 25, 2014 1:03 PM BST


The Origins of the Football League: The First Season 1888/89
The Origins of the Football League: The First Season 1888/89
by Mark Metcalf
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Found this in When Saturday Comes and thought it would be of interest, 3 Dec 2013
Book review - The First League Season by When Saturday Comes

This is the review by When Saturday Comes of my book on the 1888/89 season.

In 1888, during the early years of professional football, clubs began to look for a way to secure regular income beyond that generated by occasional cup-ties and friendly matches. It was Aston Villa director William McGregor who proposed the solution, suggesting that “the most promising clubs in England combine to arrange home and away fixtures each season.” As the Football League celebrates its anniversary 125 years later, Mark Metcalf’s extensively researched book examines the inaugural season of the game’s oldest league competition.

The Origins of the Football League opens with a brief but useful primer on the state of football in 1888. It was an evolving game in which there were no penalty kicks or goal nets, and goalkeepers could handle the ball anywhere within their own half. But growing interest and attendances allowed the League’s 12 founder members to flourish. Indeed, 11 of the 12 still play League football today – the exception is Accrington (not to be confused with Accrington Stanley), who folded in 1896.

The book traces the 188-89 season via a series of match reports, many of which are taken from contemporary newspapers. These early reports have, as Metcalf puts it, “a certain symmetry to them”, typically detailing the weather and pitch conditions, while studiously recording who won the toss before presenting a fairly perfunctory account of the play. “The visiting right made an attack that was cleared by Bethell,” reads an opening-day report for Bolton Wanderers v Derby County, “and in two minutes from the start Kenny had scored a fine goal for the Wanderers. A protest was made in vain.” That Kenny Davenport goal was, the author reveals via some detective work involved kick-off times, the first League goal.

Without wishing to spoil the book’s ending the story of the 1888-89 season is also the story of Preston North End’s ‘Invincibles”, who won the League without losing a game. “The feat North End have accomplished, gaining 18 victories and four draws [is] a record for which no comparison can fairly be found,” one reporter wrote. Preston also beat Wolves 3-0 in the FA Cup final to claim the first football “double.” That was hard lines for the fearsome Preston full-back Nick Ross, who missed the triumph by moving for a single season to Everton.

Ross is profiled in the book’s comprehensive gazetteer, alongside hundreds of other players ranging from the well known, such as Johnny ‘All Good” Goodall, who scored 21 goals in 21 games for Preston in that first season, to the mysterious W Mitchell, who played one game for Blackburn Rovers, scored two goals and was never heard of again.

The comprehensive nature of the Origins of the Football League may be both a blessing and a curse. For the casual reader, a book that contains hundreds of consecutive match reports, many of which are relatively inconsequential, might not represent much of a page -turner. But as a book to dip into – and as a reference work – it’s a valuable and timely record of the birth of one of football’s most important influences.


The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw: The Robin Friday Story (Mainstream Sport)
The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw: The Robin Friday Story (Mainstream Sport)
by Paul McGuigan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting the best out of Robin Friday, 28 Sep 2012
This is a very good book about a footballer who, unlike George Best, wasted his talent. It appears that only Charlie Hurley knew how to get the best out of Friday. Charlie is a Sunderland legend who, in 1979, was voted footballer of the century by Sunderland supporters. For a wonderful read go to 'Charlie Hurley - the greatest centre half the world has ever seen' [ a chant still heard regularly at Sunderland matches] by Mark Metcalf.


The Golden Boot: Football's Top Scorers
The Golden Boot: Football's Top Scorers
by Mark Metcalf
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.31

5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Boot is a fantastic read, 22 Feb 2012
This is the latest offering from Mark and is a riveting read being a look at some of the most iconic football figures that have ever played the game. This book is a must for lovers of the beautiful game covering around 120 years of the 'golden boot'.

Highly recommended and very good value.


The FA Cup 50 Years on
The FA Cup 50 Years on
by Mark Metcalf
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.49

5.0 out of 5 stars The magic of the FA Cup, 19 Aug 2010
This review is from: The FA Cup 50 Years on (Paperback)
Ostensibly about the FA Cup Final of 1960 [Wolverhampton Wanderers v Blackburn Rovers] this is a special piece of work which will appeal to all of us who regret the passing of the FA Cup as the pinnacle of achievement for footballers in England. Mark vividly creates the atmopsphere which used to surround the Cup Final - where life was put on hold not just for the 90 minutes of the match, but for pretty much all of the Saturday of the match; whatever the game was like,the Cup Final was a great occasion for every football supporter, irrespective of your team allegiance.

Mark writes in an accesible and relaxed manner; as the reader, you are swept along with the romance of the cup; reading the match reports of the roads to Wembley, you 'taste' the excitement of it all. The book includes interviews with a number of players from both teams which only adds to the quality of the product; there are also interesting and informative comments from fans. For the 'anoraks' amongst us, there are plenty of statistics, with comprehensive coverage of results from all the rounds on the road to Wembley; Mark also includes an appendix which details the previous Cup Final appearances of both clubs - of interest to all of us, particularly in recalling the names of clubs that have long disappeared.

In conclusion, in my opinion this is a superb read which will complement the bookcases of all lovers of the beautiful game. It is highly recommended and the author deserves huge credit for this labout of love.


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