I’ve recently been re-reading The Glory Game by Hunter Davies. For those not in the know, it’s a warts and all account of Tottenham’s 1971/72 season, in which Davies was given unprecedented access behind the scenes at White Hart Lane.
Amidst the positive reviews on the back cover, is the fact that the book was voted at number 14 in The Observer’s Top 50 Sports Book Of All Time and at number 11 in FourFourTwo’s 50 Best Football Books Ever.
The Observer poll only has two football books ahead of The Glory Game (Tony Adams’ biography and Fever Pitch – neither of which I shall ever read for obvious reasons), so I’d love to see what FourFourTwo considered to better than The Glory Game.
Anyway, it all got me to thinking about what were the best Tottenham books and I thought that I’d draw up a list of titles that I thought were indispensable for any Spurs fan.
The following are in no particular order, as I can’t pretend to have read everything written about the club. Let us know in the comments section, what you would recommend.
The Glory Game
The aforementioned The Glory Game by Hunter Davies is a football book of a type that we are unlikely to ever see again.
Davies is given full access behind the scenes at Tottenham. He’s there at the training ground, in the dressing room before and after the match, and even ended up sitting on the bench alongside Bill Nick on occasion.
Can you imagine that happening now? The club’s control the outflow of news like Pravda, while the players would never speak so candidly, when they know that they can secure lucrative book and newspaper deals.
The book is still relevant in the way that it demonstrates how football has changed. Alan Mullery, the Spurs captain and England international, is 30-years old and worried about his future and what he will do for money. He’s adamant that he won’t take a managerial role, though his subsequent jobs in charge of Brighton (twice), Charlton, Crystal Palace, QPR and Barnet, suggest that the need for cash outweighed his initial reluctance.
It’s not a scenario that you can imagine now. Yet, some are, such as Joe Kinnear’s dejection at having lost his place to Ray Evans. The honesty and candour in this book, are what make it one of a kind.
‘Candour’ is again a good word to describe the unique selling point of Martin Chivers’ autobiography Big Chiv: My Goals in Life.
Unlike most books released by today’s footballers, writer Paolo Hewitt really pushes Chivers to reveal his true feelings on the major issues of his career and centres on the relationship between the striker and Bill Nicholson.
In doing this, as much is revealed about Nicholson’s character, as Chivers’. It’s another fascinating insight into Spurs in the seventies.
When Football Was Football
Coffee table books don’t have to be about interior design, or full of images of the Andes. Adam Powley’s When Football Was Football: Spurs: A Nostalgic Look at a Century of the Club is a photographic celebration of all that is Spurs, taken from The Mirror archives.
There are some wonderful images in this book, which are accompanied by engaging text from Powley. As the title suggests, this is one for those that love a bit of nostalgia. When’s Father’s Day?
The Boys From White Hart Lane
Along with Martin Cloake, Powley is also responsible for Boys From White Hart Lane, The: Spurs in the 80s – the Players’ Stories which features the likes of Steve Perryman, Ossie Ardiles, Ricky Villa, Tony Galvin, Paul Miller, Graham Roberts, Garry Brooke and Tony Parkes.
Again it’s one for fans of nostalgia, as the book tells the behind the scenes tales from the successful side of the eighties. It’s full of stories of laddish nights out and pranks, that you imagine might also be a historical artifact of our game, in ten years time.
This book is particularly interesting for the players’ viewpoints on the how likes of Irving Scholar and David Pleat, contributed to our decline.
Dream On is written by the overtly formal H.Davison and Alex Fynn, who has penned several books about Spurs, the Scum and was also responsible for FA’s original ‘Blueprint for football’, that spawned the Premier League monster.
Fynn is perfectly placed then to consider the changes to the game, as he follows the developments at Tottenham through the 1995/96 season.
That season hardly represented the Glory, Glory days for Spurs, but Fynn uses his perspective on Spurs to shine a light at the state of football as a whole. A very good book and at only 1p on Amazon, something of a bargain.