Book Reviews Week: 50 Teams that Mattered
50 Teams that Mattered by David Hartrick
Published by Ockley Books
July 2011, £13.99 (eBook: £7.99)
Fortunes for football blogging have been immensely fluid over the past 12 months or so. While a number of excellent platforms have finally called it a day, other writers have branched out to mainstream media and publications like The Blizzard, while the predicted emergence of ‘megablogs’ featuring a range of the internet’s best has come to full fruition. Elsewhere, bloggers have entered the world of eBooks, with A. E. Greb’s tales of a 2011-12 FA Cup odyssey a particularly alluring case – an account that will be reviewed on these pages in the future.
Hence, and to kick off a short Book Reviews week here at TTU, we have been delighted to enlist Stuart Fuller, himself the mastermind behind the prolific The Ball is Round to provide his thoughts on David Hartrick’s 50 Teams that Mattered. David is one of the editors of the peerless In Bed with Maradona, the site that has done more than any to help foster the footballing blogsophere and which has been kind enough to publish instances of our own writing in the past. David’s book is available in both print and electronic formats and he can be followed on Twitter at @DavidHartrick, while Stuart’s musings can be tracked at @theballisround. Over to Stuart:
To paraphrase David Hartrick, choosing 50 teams that have mattered to the beautiful game was always going to be an impossible task. Throughout every decade, teams have come and gone and left their mark on the sport we know and love today. Trying to condense that down into the most significant 50 was the first hurdle Hartrick faced.
But like the true Olympic athlete that he is (on the inside anyway) he has produced a fantastic volume that will keep you interested, educated and above all thankful to those 50 teams on the longest holiday flight this summer.
He also faced the task of trying to find information from the era before technology. Whisper it quietly but football in England actually started in earnest back in the 1860s and not in 1992 when the Premier League started. The Wanderers, Blackburn Olympic and Queen’s Park all set the scene with controversy, intrigue and innovation from the nineteenth century- tales that will have you saying to yourself ‘well I never knew that’ and undoubtedly impressing your mates in the pub. Elsewhere, there is the tale of the legend of Herbert Chapman, the influence of a small amateur English team on Brazilian football and the tragic Torino side of the 1940s.
Of course the legendary Brazilians, West Germans and Dutch contributions to the game are detailed and stand alongside the achievements of Enfield Town – odd bedfellows you may think, but each has played their part. This is a big book both in volume and knowledge. You can feel the years of Hartrick’s life in the emotion of his writing on every page. Well worth a read.