When Footballers Were Skint by Jon Henderson
Hand Signed by Jon Henderson to the Title Page
New & Unread
Shortlisted for The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2019
Long before perma-tanned football agents and TV mega-rights ushered in the age of the multimillionaire player, footballers’ wages were capped – even the game’s biggest names earned barely more than a plumber or electrician. Footballing legends such as Tom Finney and Stanley Matthews shared a bond of borderline penury with the huge crowds they entertained on Saturday afternoons, on pitches that were a world away from the pristine lawns of the game’s modern era. Instead of the gleaming sports cars driven by today’s top players, the stars of yesteryear travelled to matches on public transport and returned to homes every bit as modest as those of their supporters. Players and fans would even sometimes be next-door neighbours in a street of working-class terraced houses.
Based on the first-hand accounts of players from a fastdisappearing generation, When Footballers Were Skint delves into the game’s rich heritage and relates the fascinating story of a truly great sporting era.
Henderson has spent four years interviewing former players who are now in their 80s and whose stories were in danger of being forgotten. Time colours everything, but while there is something undeniably attractive about footballers being rooted in their communities, travelling to games by public transport and earning a similar amount to the fans who came to watch them – if the game did ever have a soul, this might have been that era – Henderson is too astute an observer to let the romance ever slide into sentimentality - John Crace - The Guardian.
About the Author: Jon Henderson has written about football as a journalist and author for more than fifty years. He progressed from covering Rushden Town for the Northants Evening Telegraph in the 1960s to filing stories for Reuters on Diego Maradona’s antics in winning the World Cup for Argentina in 1986. Since then he has written on football for The Observer and Guardian and his biography of Stanley Matthews was shortlisted for Football Book of the Year in 2013. His other books include a biography of the tennis champion Fred Perry, which was shortlisted for Sports Biography of the Year in 2009 and was a Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4.
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