The Lost World of Football: A trip to Talksport
The highlights of last Saturday were – the beer in the Western; the steak and kidney pie in the ground (I only treat myself for big games); the helicopter delivering the match ball; the impeccably-observed minute's silence for Remembrance and seeing a 30,000 crowd in the KPS.
That's it. Let's talk about something else.
Tuesday was a better day. My co-author Derek Hammond and I we were invited down to Talksport Towers, in Waterloo, to appear on the Hawksbee & Jacobs afternoon show to discuss our new book – The Lost World of Football.
During the conversation, we discussed a couple of the thousands of photos that appear in the book, and they were both Leicester City images (picked out by H&J, I hasten to add).
One was a classic image from the Neville Chadwick archives, used to illustrate the entry The Human Touchline.
Not a phenomenon you will ever see in these days of health and safety.
On March 8, 1969, Leicester fans had travelled in their thousands to watch an FA Cup quarter-final tie at Mansfield Town and had simply overwhelmed the Field Mill ground.
City fans had spilled on to the field and were standing ankle-deep in the mud inches from the touchline.
This arrangement seemed to work until Len Glover needed to take a corner, in which case the efforts of the police and linesmen got everyone to shove up a bit.
Contrast and compare your last trip to an away match to this joyous photograph.
You finally manage to find the away end, even though the concrete bowl you are visiting looks the same all the way around (you probably went around twice before you noticed the different coloured sign marking the away entrance).
You peer at your ticket as your fading eyesight struggles to focus on your seat row and number.
If you get it wrong and sit in the wrong seat, the rightful owner will turn up 10 minutes after kick-off and you'll have to move, while people behind you jokingly shout: "Siddoooown!"
You are rescued by a helpful figure in a neon-yellow/green jacket. "Down there on the left mate."
You obediently trudge down to your allotted two square feet of plastic. Gone are the days when you could roam free, happily standing ankle deep in mud in your good shoes, because the turnstile men had carelessly let in a few thousand more than capacity.
You certainly feel more a part of the game when you are forming a human touchline.
The other photo they picked out was of Paul Watson, a Leicester City fan posing in his circa 1971 kit, hands on hips, foot on ball. He couldn't look more proud.
With both authors being Leicester City fans, we can't help it if they are a bit over-represented in this book, can we?
This article was published in the Leicester Mercury on 14th November 2013, and is reproduced with the kind permission of its author Gary Silke.
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