Newly reissued in paperback are two popular titles by Tim Quelch: Underdog!, which looks back on 50 years of trials and triumphs with football's also-rans, and Never Had It So Good which reassesses Burnley's Incredible 1959/60 League title triumph.


Tim doesn’t just enjoy a big reputation as one of the foremost writers on Burnley FC; his nostalgic forays back to a more innocent age of football (and cricket too: Stumps & Runs & Rock ‘n’ Roll is due out in September!) have been critically acclaimed, and are picking up an ever-increasing audience.


What’s more, Tim donates royalties from all of his books to worthy charities, actively raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Society and Parkinson’s UK.


Like his previous cricket book, Bent Arms and Dodgy Wickets, Underdog! weaves a soundtrack and memorable news bulletins into intimate sporting recollections. The book is a study of Britain’s underdog obsession, all set against a beautifully painted backdrop of grinding lower-division hardship, and changing times.


Among the vivid vignettes of unlikely successes, you’ll find:

  • Shocking surprises – still possible when inspirational leadership, talent, guile and unrelenting drive are brought together in intoxicating combinations.
  • Amazing league and cup feats by unfancied sides including Norwich City, Huddersfield, QPR, Celtic, Berwick, Colchester, Watford, Wimbledon, Leyton Orient, Ipswich and Matlock Town.
  • The 'Grand Old Duke of York' clubs: Northampton Town, Carlisle United and Swansea which rose from abject obscurity at bewildering speed only to fall from grace as rapidly as they rose.
  • Dodgy benefactors: Hastings United were once bankrolled by a Soho 'porn king', heavily embroiled in widespread corruption within the Metropolitan Police, and Oxford United was formerly run by a 'bouncing Czech'.
  • Those who lived the dream only to endure the nightmare, as happened at Bristol City, Brighton, Aldershot, Burnley and Wimbledon.


Never Had It So Good reveals how Burnley’s amazing title triumph was achieved – and how very different life was for a footballer in those bygone days. It presents the incredible story of Burnley FC in 1959-60 as told by those who played, managed or watched.


Try imagining a professional football club:

  • from a town the size of Hastings, Hartlepool, Selby or Kettering winning today's Premier League.
  • matching the best teams on the continent and flummoxing them with their tactical innovations.
  • spending around £600,000 in today's values in assembling its title-winning team. By contrast, Spurs spent ten times more on their 1961 Double-winning side.
  • supported by over a quarter of its local population despite an accelerating recession in the town's major industries – cotton and coal. 
  • guaranteeing its young recruits at least a five-year apprenticeship, and arranging a back-up lifetime trade for all of them. John Connelly, one of its 'home-made' stars heard of his debut selection for the senior England side in 1959 while working as a joiner at a local colliery.
  • which kept a close eye on its young players extracurricular activities in liaison with their parents, even vetting their choice of girlfriends.
  • where the players' wives helped one another make ends meet by exchanging knitting patterns and recipes.


Click here for more information, or to read a free sample from Never Had It So Good: Burnley's Incredible 1959/60 League Title Triumph


Click here for more information, or to read a free sample from Underdog!

Fifty Years of Trials and Triumphs with Football's Also-Rans