A vivid recollection of English football’s golden era, author Malcolm Stark truly captures a decade, the decade in stunning form with his book “Glam Soccer!: A Story of the Colourful Years of English Football League Clubs, 1967-1976”. In the aftermath of England’s greatest footballing achievement, the 1966 FIFA World Cup victory, English football entered a legendary period on the forefront of society and pop culture, one which will likely never be matched again in terms of success or popularity. Unlike throughout the modern Premier League era when only a handful of teams have won titles there was much more parity on hand during this time. The tactical aspects of the game were improving, the money thrust at footballers ever increasing and attendances at grounds around the isle skyrocketing, so much so that the highest league-wide attendances on record transpired during this era. It is when footballer transitioned into celebrity, when the memories evoked by statues erected outside of grounds were fresh.
This book will pluck the heartstring of the passionate and the casual soccer fanatic alike with its delightful, illustrative narrative immersing the reader amongst names enshrouded in myth. We had the pleasure of asking Mr. Stark several questions regarding his book, his thoughts on the era, its relation to the modern Premier League and more. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
What exactly is Glam Soccer?
Malcolm Stark: Glam Soccer is a term I stumbled upon that, for me, best described the football years in English football between 1967 and 1976. Finding a title for the book was hard for a long while, because I’d become fixated on the word “football”. Then one day, I was delivering mail in Chapel Road, Ford, and the Eureka! moment came. I immediately texted Vanessa and she said she loved it.
Obviously the basis of the title is the term Glam Rock, certainly the most popular of the vast range of musical genres in the early to mid 70s. The hairstyles and beards of many of the great players of those great days reflected the stars of Glam Rock.This was a pretty unique occurrence in English football, with most teams being filled with players resembling those at the top of the UK singles and album charts. In the Sixties, no footballers looked like hippies; there were no Punk or New Wave footballers in the late Seventies, and in the early Eighties, there were no New Romantic players.
I originally wanted the book to cover only the Glam Rock years, 1970-76, but decided to go back to 1967 as it was impossible to ignore Man United’s European Cup triumph, as well as great teams like Man City, Coventry, West Brom and Newcastle from the late Sixties.
Just like the footballing legends of the Glam Soccer! years, many Glam Rock stars fledged in the late 60s, Slade, Bowie, T-Rex and The Move who evolved into ELO. But it also presented a tidy ten year period, and the funny thing was that after I’d written the book, I realized that nineteen different Football League clubs won major trophies during those ten years.
That is a phenomenal record not beaten before or since then. If I’d written the book about 1966-75 it would only have been eighteen teams, and if I’d written it about 1968-77, it would also have been only eighteen.
Glam Soccer! is an extremely rich celebration of the beautiful game; researching it initially must have seemed a daunting task. Was there a particular moment that sparked its creation?
MS: There was no particular moment. In the book I draw reference to David Peace’s The Damned Utd which did inspire me to revive my passion for football in the early Seventies, a childhood passion I’d long since forgotten.
I’ve been collecting Baseball Cards for the best part of twenty years, and I started to purchase all the players from Derby County’s great title winning team under Cloughie. But then I realized having them alone was pointless without having Leeds United also, and then Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal, etc, etc. Within six months, I’d spent literally hundreds of pounds on a massive display folder with over 25 teams from the late Sixties to the mid Seventies. I’d forgotten that so many teams back then had at least half a dozen proper club legends.
It was different then to now. Apart from maybe the top four or five Premier League clubs, none have club legends anymore. Or at least if they do, its because the bar is much lower than it was. I mean, I support Newcastle, and who are our club legends from the past ten years? Probably Shay Given, but beyond him, I struggle to think of one. Nobody really stays for long nowadays.
Likewise, another team that has survived in the Premier League for the past decade, Aston Villa – who are their present club legends? They have none at all.
To answer your question, it was that gradual process in slowly rediscovering all these great teams playing at the exact same time which made me realize that there was not only a book in it, but that it was a book that HAD to be written.
Thank you for reading. To learn more about Glam Soccer!, visit www.glamsoccer.co.uk/
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