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Football Books You Need to Read: The Glory Game

Football has changed considerably in the past forty years, but some things never change.

Supporters still fill their weeks going over the details of the previous Saturday's match in their heads, while also hammering rival supporters if their respective teams fell flat on their faces on the weekend.

Veteran players try to work through injuries and convince themselves that they haven't lost a yard of pace, while deep down they know they've lost it.

Youngsters in the reserves work hard and hope upon hope that the first team manager will give them a chance before they splash out on an expensive summer signing in their position.

In the meantime, journalists stay up all night digging for stories that often aren't there.

It's this last point, and of course the mountains of money in the modern game, that football has changed the most.

Media coverage of the major leagues around the world is incessant. You can't escape any updates or rumours relating to your club if you tried. Even fans like myself can spout off about my team or the sport as whole on blogs or sites such as this.

Although many clubs today have leaks that lead to stories beyond the pitch leaking out and some clubs have granted a degree of access to the dressing room to select members of the media, football clubs still mainly try to keep things in house.

In 1971-1972, author Hunter Davies was granted unlimited access to Tottenham Hotspur and the result was one of the finest football books ever written, The Glory Game.

Armed with a pen that spared nothing and no one, Davies was there from the start of preseason training noting the struggles of Spurs new signings to integrate with the squad and witnessing fresh faced youngsters trying to break through into the first team.

The author also spent time with legendary manager Bill Nicholson, who perhaps jaded by his years in the game and the demands of working with a changing generation of players, admitted that he took no joy out of football anymore and that it was just a job to him now.

Davies also rode the trains to away fixtures with Spurs hooligans and unlike other books that have covered football violence he neither glorifies or condemns the people involved, he just provides you with a balanced look at a typical match day for these groups.

The players are remarkably open with the author as well, about their personal lives and contract squabbles.

Although some of the book may come across as a little bit dated, that in itself carries a bit of charm. As Spurs progress through the UEFA Cup and their eventual showdown with another English side, Wolverhampton Wanderers in the final, we get afforded an inside look at the triumphs and tragedies of a professional football club that has seldom been matched by similar tomes.

The Glory Game is a wonderful book that doesn't require you to be a Tottenham fan to enjoy and is the first in our series of Football Books You Need to Read.



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