Book

Before the Premier League: A History of the Football League’s Last Decades – buy it here!

Price £9.99 (plus UK postage). Please contact me to enquire about postage rates for destinations outside the UK.

(All copies will be signed – please use the site’s contact form if you prefer not to have a signed copy, or want a specific dedication).

Before the Premier League

 

 

Before the Premier League looks at the major developments in English football between the late 1950s and the early 1990s that led to the transformation of the game. The book traces the changes over the last decades of a unified Football League, and details how they combined to revolutionise the sport. From the transfer market and attendances, playing conditions and wages, to the influence of sponsorship and television, Before the Premier League is an account of the factors which shaped modern football.

Several in-depth interviews with players and fans of this era bring the history to life and illustrate the main themes which run throughout the book. Their first-hand experiences and memories of English football give a unique insight into how the game was played and watched long before the Premier League.

This is a book that I have spent several years researching and writing. It covers a period in time stretching back from my formative years watching football in the 1980s, to the late 1950s when the Football League moved to four national divisions for the first time. The main inspiration for the book was R.C. Churchill’s Sixty Seasons of League Football, published in 1958, which looked at the history of the Football League from its formation in 1888 up to that point. My idea was to continue that history, and bring it up to the creation of the Premier League in 1992, which changed the face of English football. With the help of several fans and ex-players, I have attempted to tell the story of the last decades of the unified Football League, but I am sure there are many other histories to be written.

R.C. Churchill, Sixty Seasons of League Football (1958) – my main inspiration for this book

Interviewees – The six professional footballers who kindly contributed their memories to the book, with over two thousand Football League appearances between them:

Paul Davis

Born: 09.12.1961, Dulwich

Football League Career: Arsenal 1979-94 – 331 appearances (20 substitute), 30 goals; Brentford 1995-96 – 5 apps

TOTAL: 336 apps (20 sub), 30 goals

Paul talks at length about his career on the When Shorts Were Short podcast

Ron Futcher

(Image from www.hattersheritage.co.uk)

Born: 25.09.1956, Chester

Football League Career: Chester 1973-74 – 4 apps; Luton 1974-78 – 116 apps (4 sub), 40 goals; Manchester City 1978-79 – 10 apps (7 sub), 7 goals; [NASL & NAC Breda] 1979-84; Barnsley 1984-85 – 18 apps (1 sub), 5 goals; Oldham 1985-87 – 65 apps, 30 goals; Bradford 1987-88 – 35 apps (7 sub), 18 goals; Port Vale 1988-89 – 46 apps (6 sub), 20 goals; Burnley 1989-91 – 52 apps (5 sub), 25 goals; Crewe 1991-92 – 18 apps (3 sub), 4 goals

TOTAL: 390 apps (33 sub), 149 goals

Nigel Gleghorn

Born: 12.08.1962, Seaham

Football League Career: (From Seaham Red Star) Ipswich Town 1985-87 – 54 apps (12 sub), 11 goals; Manchester City 1988-89 – 27 apps (7 sub), 7 goals; Birmingham City 1989-92 – 142 apps, 33 goals; Stoke City 1992-96 – 162 apps (4 sub), 26 goals; Burnley 1996-97 – 33 apps (1 sub), 4 goals; Brentford loan 1997 – 11 apps, 1 goal; Northampton Town loan 1998 – 3 apps (5 sub), 1 goal

TOTAL: 432 apps (29 sub), 83 goals

Steve Hetzke

Born: 03.06.1955, Marlborough

Football League Career: Reading 1971-82 – 254 apps (7 sub), 23 goals; Blackpool 1982-86 – 140 apps, 18 goals; Sunderland 1986-87 – 31 apps; Chester 1987-88 – 14 apps; Colchester 1988-89 – 27 apps (2 sub), 2 goals

TOTAL: 466 apps (9 sub), 43 goals

Rick Holden

Born: 09.09.1964, Skipton

Football League Career: (From Leeds Carnegie College) Burnley 1985-86 – (1 sub); Halifax 1986-88 – 66 apps (1 sub), 12 goals; Watford 1988-89 – 42 apps, 8 goals; Oldham 1989-92 – 125 apps (4 sub), 19 goals; Manchester City 1992-93 – 49 apps (1 sub), 3 goals; Oldham 1993-95 – 46 apps (14 sub), 9 goals; Blackpool 1995-96 – 19 apps (3 sub), 2 goals

TOTAL: 347 apps (24 sub), 53 goals

Rick discusses his career and the many changes in English football since on the Soccer Nostalgia Talk podcast

Gerry Stewart

Born: 02.09.1946, Dundee

Football League Career: Preston North End 1963-71 – 4 apps; Barnsley 1971-75 – 138 apps

TOTAL: 142 apps.

 

With many thanks to Wibble Publishing – the book is also available on their site