WHATíS IT ALL ABOUT ?
It is I trust a book that can be enjoyed on a number of levels. Essentially itís a book of football writing about a decade or so of football between 1960 and 1971 centred around the visits of Britain ís domestically most successful club to the nationís capital city. A club that heralded from Glasgow and Scotland cheered on by a travelling support unmatched in number and passion and with a unique pride in their Britishness and wider culture. London home to tens of thousands of active fans, a clutch of football clubs and some by their past and current reputations rightly world famous. The massive wealth of its best clubs enabling them to acquire some of the greatest players in football. So, may I humbly introduce to you the story of Rangers in London between 1960 and 1971.
THOSE WERE THE DAYS MY FRIEND.100% NOSTALGIA.
Firstly it celebrates some great afternoons and evenings and if you were fortunate enough to attend any of the games, it will I trust bring back some fantastic memories. Not least if you were one of the thousands who travelled from Scotland and perhaps even further afield to follow Rangers. If you were unable to attend these games but supported any of the clubs during this era it will be for you. There are portraits and articles of some of the great names involved in these games and with these clubs and as has been pointed out to me, even just looking at some of the names alone can bring back some wonderful memories.
GREAT GAMES.GREAT STORIES.
Thereís an interesting story in all of the matches featured. Including: the 1st European Cup Tie (a Quarter Final no less) played in London, a battle of Britain dubbed as ďthe greatest game on earth,Ē by none other than the great Bill Nicholson, Alex Fergusonís Rangers debut, 2 Rangers players assaulted by a demented forward, another match where they ran out of substitutes, a game in tribute to one of the great goalkeepers, a bookmaker nearly going bankrupt on the back of a genius display by Jim Baxter, a teenager summoned from his workplace in the morning to keep goal for Rangers in the evening and plenty more in that vein.
SNAPSHOTS & CASE STUDIES.
The book attempts to paint a picture of the footballing era from 1960-71 by focussing on Rangers and their opponents and to show how during this short period football changed and evolved. Some for the better, some worse. From managers and coaches to tactics and preparation to fan culture and the rise of football hooliganism to player lifestyles and salaries to chairmen, directors and the business of football.
However for all the changes and developments in football and not least all of the money, many of the themes of yesteryear are as relevant now as they were then. Itís the same game with just a few more zeros on the end. The same ingredients for success on and off the pitch still apply and I guess the good, the bad and the ugly will always be attracted to football. I suspect you might be surprised how much that goes around comes around but with a slightly different twist for another time and place.
There was a gentleman called George Goudie who in 1883 gave Rangers the £30 it needed to stay in existence. Not as a business investment but simply from someone who could afford to, a gift to keep alive the club he cherished with the hope for better days to follow. Today Rangers are handicapped by a £30 million debt incurred by a businessman who had little feel for the club and even less for its fans. Nevertheless the support remains as numerous, staunch and proud in their roots and traditions as ever they were. The red, white and blue perhaps even more vivid in this age of technicolour and despite the changing decades of styles and fashion, the fans favourite awayday song almost 50 years further on is still Ďfollow follow.í
HAPPY DAYS AND DARKEST DAYS.
A good read is an enjoyable read which is why Iíve gone out of my way to relate the more humorous anecdotes from club histories. However the book is touched by tragedy, most pertinently the Ibrox Disaster 1971. Rather than omit something because it may cause sadness or upset, I would rather show remembrance and pay respect. Surely in football and in life, we must never forget the darkest days or the lessons from them. Nor above all, should we ever forget our absent friends
TO THE DIGITAL AGE.
London has been specifically written as an ebook, so everything possible has been done to make it easy on the eye. Aside from saving shelf space the other great benefit of an ebook is that it allows you to view the book whichever way you want. For instance, if like me you donít like small font you can click and either adjust the zoom or page layout to something you will prefer. Of course you can still print out as many pages as many times as you want, which of course I sincerely hope you will want to.
The book is emailed in Adobe pdf format the most popular platform for reading ebooks. In no small part because most computers and netbooks from the last decade come with adobe reader installed but if for any reason you donít have a version on your computer then it can be downloaded easily, quickly and for free from adobe.com and in my humble opinion is the best way to read an ebook.
THEY THINK ITíS ALL OVER.
To the present day, now the book is written, I trust with respect to Kenneth Wolstenholme itís not all over yet. I really look forward to receiving feedback from readers, what memories you have and what you made of the book.
You see itís a book whatever you choose to make of. But most of all to Enjoy.
Jerry ĎJí Silverman.