on 13 November 2010
I must say that I've nothing against Spurs supporters, Jimmy Greaves sycophants or those who pine for an age when men were men and Murdoch and his stupid satellite dishes hadn't ruined football. I quite liked living in the 1970s, actually; the Cup Final and the England v Scotland matches were the only live games on TV and in some ways that should be the case today. But I just hate this book. And I think it's little wonder it has sold so poorly.
Giller may well be a great journalist and a good writer but he also has a penchant not for the long, involving essay where he leads the reader on a journey of discovery like Geoffrey Green might have done or Donny Davies but prefers to list statistics and pen pics and short rehashes of tired history. I felt dissatisfied with the whole thing. It didn't really tell me anything I didn't really know before and it some ways it just revisits mistakes. For instance, look at the chapter on 1950 and check out the picture about Bert Williams looking behind him at the goal in the match versus the United States. Why would anyone ever say that that picture is the photo proof of Gaetjens goal against England when it is clearly a picture of the ball hitting the back of the net. Any reasonable historian will know that Gaetjens had his nose in the dirt and Williams was sent the wrong way by the deflection. It's little but really important things like that which disappoint me about this book. Does it invite me into a history I don't already know? In a word, no.