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A wonderful look back at the F.A. Cup finals of the 1970s,
on 20 June 2014
"From Ronnie Radford To Roger Osborne" is a wonderful summary of a golden age in English football ... the 1970s ... when winning the main domestic cup was so much more important than it often seems to be in more modern times. Author Matthew Eastley's research is simply phenomenal. Not only has he found supporters of different ages and from different backgrounds who were lucky enough to be successful in obtaining tickets for what was then the most prestigious day in the football calendar, it's clear that he has patiently watched every final in this decade (and possibly in some cases listened to the radio commentaries too) because of the numerous extracts in this book of quotes made by the radio and television commentators of the day. Some of the teams that reached the cup final in the Seventies were predictable enough (Leeds, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United) but there were also the unexpected and euphoric victories by Sunderland, Southampton and Ipswich. The old Wembley held 100,000 but as the Seventies started the two finalists only received around 16,000 tickets each. It hadn't improved much by the end of the decade either. Many of the supporters Matt contacted talk of the mad scramble for tickets that would either end in extreme elation or abject misery. They talk also, often with great clarity, about events that happened 40+ years ago and the very different emotions experienced on cup final day. Through it all Matthew sets the scene perfectly with reference to the news and sports stories of the time, the social unrest that plagued England through much of the decade, the popular music that was being played and what we were watching on television and at the cinema. If wallowing in nostalgia can be a positive experience, this well-compiled book brings it to the fore in an always vivid, often funny and sometimes sad way because it captures the importance that football plays in so many lives and the whole gauntlet of emotions that it brings about for those who get the bug.