This is a both interesting and enjoyable retrospective to check your own memory of an outstanding event which after 20 year seems both far away but still rather fresh in mind. A bit of sports history trying to connect with cultural (hey day of Britpop) and political (rise of New Labour) at that time in Great Britain. Football wise it refers to the build up and the games of the Euro 96 from an English viewpoint, but also has some less known facts and little stories about other teams. I remember the football as rather mediocre with the exception of a few stunners, but forgot about some side facts like the Manchester bombing or the overall disappointing attendance to the games apart from England. It contains individual match reports which are great to read, I'd still wish for the complete results / tables in an appendix but well...this is meant to be another book than the usual event reports coming up shortly after each Euro or World Cup. Still it is a fitting title, football really came home those days...alas, it went again, out of reach of many fans and supporters not being able to afford tickets for their teams anymore. The author puts a nice punchline at the end, when German team captain Juergen Klinsmann sings the famous refrain of "Three Lions" to the home fans after bringing the cup to Germany...just to make clear where football really belongs: to everybody !
Oh the pain, the joy, the exhilaration! Has it really been 20 years of hurt already? This is an excellent account of the nadir of English football post '66. Everyone remembers Gazza's excruciatingly close effort against Germany and his incredible moment of skill against Scotland, but Mike Gibbons tells a great story of all the other equally amazing moments, some forgotten, some brushed under the carpet, and interweaves it all with the mood of the nation during what was an era-defining summer of Britpop, festivals, and football. 1996 was, for me, a wonderful time of freedom, optimism and carefree abandon. 'When Football Came Home" brought all those memories flooding back and, for while, it was summer 1996 all over again.
By no means a classic but lots of interesting background incidents beyond the stories we all know and love about Euro 96 and the great era it took place in. The book acknowledges a fact that got lost in the euphoria at the time - England didn't play particularly well for large periods of that tournament. Nostalgic fare for anyone who remembers Euro 96, and an interesting read for younger folks who want to learn more about a period of time, unlike today, when putting on the three lions shirt was the ultimate for any English professional. (And when music was great!)
Took me back in time and the memories came flooding back, you remembered what you were doing at the time and where and with whom you watched the England games. Book also covers the build up to Euro 96 and how Venables galvanised England and the nation since his appointment in 1994. Very enjoyable.