Black Boots and Football Pinks
By Rob Nichols
Thursday 06 Jun 2019 21:57:00
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What a gem of a book this is. Daniel Gray delves back into a lost or disappearing world of football as we once knew it. From goalkeepers in trousers, to all night queues down Warwick Street for cup tickets, to hot off the press football pink uns, Sports Geeeezzzette, anyone?

Black Boots and Football Pinks - 50 Lost Wonders of the Beautiful Game - By Daniel Gray - Reviewed

The author reminds us of when cup ties could go to replay after replay after replay. Remember

Everton versus Boro in 1988 when our players were pitted togethe and our clubs locked in combat in what Dan has described as a “holiday romance beneath floodlights.” In fact, it was so good we did it all again two years later.

But this is no grumpy old man embittered by change, this an author taking delight as he shares with us again the wonders of yesteryear. Together we unashamedly revel in nostalgia, recounting it through an old fashioned tannoy system. “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Radio Ayresome.” And letting it run down the wing one more time, like Stuart Ripley in his prime.

I just love how Dan’s mind works. I can picture him thumbing through an old fashioned card index system, pulling out topics. How about Ceefax page 302 and Teletext page 140. hands up who still has those numbers seared into their subconscious? Or do you remember when every main stand had a clock? Or there are the odds and sods, things that are starting to fade away like individual paper

match tickets.

Remember when you could count on a home-away-home-away fixture list and also bank on the loyal one club man; Charlton’s Champions one to eleven, Rioch’s class of 86. And there was a time

when so many clubs had the big man, little man combo up front; Toshack and Keegan or maybe Wilko and Hendrie. What a combination they were for Lennie’s Boro.

There are so many moments when I paused and nodded my head in recognition. I recall when any player not wearing black boots was a fancy dan. Alan Ball might have been a 1966 World Cup winner but his white boots helped make him a boo boy and the villain of the piece at every ground. He was no George Best.

Lets all celebrate those sentimental dribbles in the street, the lamppost for a floodlight and a goalpost. And thwackkkkk!! Oh no the ball has hit Mr Barnbrook’s window again. And he was on

night shift last night. You can go and ask for it back this time.

There are so many memories that are triggered by Dan’s wonderful prose. And it is such delightful wordage. How about this for the opening on a chapter of the lost art of Street Football.

“It was a tender symphony of the tarmac... if you heard it but were not involved, it was a call to prayer.”

Lovingly compiled and equally lovingly presented, yes, even the lay out and type setting are things of joy. Every one of Daniel Gray’s lost wonders should come with a warm (floodlight) glow guaranteed sticker.

This book should be made available to all through the NHS. It is a pocket sized delight designed to slide under your coat and sit next to your football heart.



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