on 19 November 2006
This is a superbly written nostalgic look at football in a different and more sporting era, the 1940's through to the 1960's.
The story of how small town team Burnley matched up there with the biggest and the best for over a decade but had to give in to the clout of of the big city clubs
What makes this more than a football book is its also the story of the love a man (Harry Potts) had for football and his beloved adopted town
and the great love story of himself and his wife Margaret against the background of footballs classic age.
Written in two voices, Margaret Lord tells the story of Harry the man, and Dave Thomas tells the story of Harry the footballer and how he was ultimately cast aside, not once but twice.
A classic book and deserves a Sports Book awards next year.
on 20 November 2006
It may be no coincidence that the last eighteen months has seen the publication of a number of football books which hark back to the glory days of embrocation, mudbath pitches, the maximum wage, robust tackling, mandatory Woodbines (for players and spectators alike) and autocratic local businessmen running football clubs as private fiefdoms. Whilst there is undoubtedly a market for the ghost-written meanderings of today's post-adolescent superstars, the more discerning reader desires something with both literary merit and genuine insight. Couple those elements with stories and studies of the beautiful game in its Brylcreem era, before the corruption of television megabucks, and the combination is irresistible. Last year gave us Gary Imlach's admirable "My Father And Other Working Class Football Heroes" and now we have this cracker of a read from Mrs. Margaret Potts (widow of the eponymous Burnley player and manager) and Dave Thomas.
This is not just for the Burnley completist. Nor is it solely for the football fan, because as with Imlach's book, the ideals, aspirations and the inevitable sadnesses which accompany football provide metaphors which resound outside the narrow confines and low horizons of professional sport. The teams created by Potts were a legacy of a scientific coaching method combined with an aesthete's eye, and Burnley were renowned and admired well beyond the lowering hills of East Lancashire. How Potts achieved what he did should provide hope and inspiration for all who subscribe to the view that the game is about more than a hegemony of rich clubs and their overpaid servants. "Harry Potts- Margaret's Story" is a fitting memoir of a great man's life and times at a great club, and a testament to the vicarious honour and glory which attractive and successful football can bestow upon a small community. Buy it, read it and tell your friends about it.
on 27 November 2006
Forget the paychecks, haircuts and celebrity lifestyles of today's football rich and famous....lets remember the bygone era of blood n' guts football and local pride.
This book takes you back to the glory years of Burnley FC to chronicle one of the leading protagonists in the club's rise to football notoriety - Harry Potts. The story is told via the wonderfully crafted prose which must can only have been produced by many hours of arduous research and primary sourced information by author Dave Thomas.
A worthy additon to the collection for any football historian and a definite must for any Burnley fan who has an interest into our illustrious past.
On these blustery winter nights there can be only one tonic....pour the horlicks, get the fire on and get reading.
on 22 November 2006
What would you rather read in a football book?
Teenage and twenty something celebs with consummate football skills, a couple of good years to show for it, and wives and girlfriends with shopping budgets to die for?
Okay, before someone thinks I'm having a moan, or trying to get you to read a hard luck, low life love story, let's remember...
Harry Potts took Burnley - yes, Burnley - to the Quarter Finals of the European Cup.
Okay, you didn't have to play that many European games to get that far in those days. But you did have to be the champions - the champions - in England, and play 42 games to prove it.
Burnley - yes, Burnley - under the leadership of Harry Potts, Burnley did it.
Harry Potts, even more amazingly, did it without spending a penny - not a single penny - on buying players for something like a decade.
He also did it in a town permanently linked with the formative years of Jimmy Hogan, a major early coaching influence on the incomparable Hungarians of the Ferenc Puskas years... and of Ron Grenwood, born in the town for which Wrighty played his last pro game, and the - yes, I did say 'the' - Jimmy Mac immortlised the name.
What? You don't believe me? You can look it up...
Buy this book. And what's more, read it.
Beacuse Dave Thomas writes really well,and tells a good story.