on 21 July 2007
Fantastic book. If you are a Gunners fan then you'll just love Larry Dilworth and the Legends of Football. It has a fantastic chapter on Highbury as well as brillant storylines of Arsenal matches.
There are also fabulous illustrations of Herbert Chapman, Cliff Bastin, Alex James, Ted Drake and Liam Brady ETC.
on 5 April 2010
This `coffee-table' book oozes quality. Its lay-out with great pictures and inserts of key players gives a very enjoyable reading experience. It really is a must-have book for the shelf for any self-confessed Arsenal fan. The history of Arsenal's famous old stadium, Highbury, is told in compelling story-book style. The chapters present a flowing chronology to the evolution of Arsenal Football Club; from its humble roots in the Woolwich armaments factories of Victorian Britain to a world-renowned club that now regularly competes against the elite clubs that European football can boast.
The people that played a key role in the story are all acknowledged in turn and Brian Glanville has a great way of setting the key incidents in the clubs history into the context of their time. In the early chapters we learn how in 1886 the club emerged due to the vision of pioneer émigrés from the North such as David Danskin and Jack Humble. How it became the most Southern based club in the Football League in 1893 and how it survived in those early days due to a `hard core' of loyal fans from the Woolwich armaments factory and its local environs. Sir Henry Norris was a pivotal figure to the club and it was his decision to relocate the club to Islington N5 in 1913 that is crucial to the story.
Arsenal Football Stadium (Highbury) was hastily constructed for the 1913-14 season and provided the base for the emergence of famous club of today. The book highlights the symbiosis between the success of the team and the magnificence of the stadium. The Chapman and Allinson inspired teams of the thirties won five league titles and two FA Cups. As they did so the club invested in two `art-deco' stands that were to become icons of Football Stadiums and symbols of Arsenal's ambition and power.
The book charts how the club, despite Whittaker's teams' triumphs of the immediate post war era, fell from the 1930's heights until Bertie Mee's team of the early 1970's secured the fabled `double'. Highbury, as much of English football, suffered declining attendances in the `hooligan' marred days of the mid-70's and early 80's before George Graham's triumphal young teams witnessed the redevelopment the old ground. Corporate boxes were built above the clock-end terrace, and the much loved North Bank terracing was converted to a double tier stand in the wake of the Taylor report and move to all-seated stadiums. The book closes with the triumphant era inaugurated by the arrival of Arsene Wenger and the `final salute' season of 2005/06 when Arsenal played their final game at Highbury against Wigan Athletic.
As Arsenal's story has since progressed into its fourth season at its new Emirates home, this book provides a wonderful reflection on the way the club has established its tradition. I have read the book from cover-to-cover on a couple of occasions and regularly enjoy just dipping into the odd chapter or browsing the wonderful photos. For any Arsenal fan it truly is a 5-star read!