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Got, Not Got By Derek Hammond & Gary Silke

Release date: 01st February, 2012
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: 19.99
Our Price: 12.99
You Save: 7 (35%)
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This is an absolute gem of a book from which football fans of every age may extract something to amuse, recall, regret or simply enjoy.

It may, at first glance, appear to be targeted at an audience of 7-14 year-old boys similar to the lads depicted on the cover in black-and-white running onto the pitch and leaping for joy following a goal. But the book's engaging mix of unforgettable, striking, or just plain naff cover images are cleverly designed to reignite memories of a time when we were in love with a brand of football which, ironically, had no idea what branding or merchandising was.

Inside too, Got, Not Got (you remember the playground words while simultaneously checking your mate's collection of the latest football cards?) may give the impression of being the fruit of a gloriously involved cut-and-paste exercise, but scratch the surface only lightly and you will find it is much more than that.

It is, in fact, part brilliantly written lament for an earlier age, part opportunity to reminisce about a time when you hankered after a Garden Goal ("Every Boy's Dream!"), collected programmes printed in one colour and when players would sign autographs after the match without the ominous presence of a minder or ten.

As a clue to what lies ahead, Got, Not Got opens with a mournful poem, written by Aston Villa poet Dermot Carney:

Can I have my ball back, Mister?
I want to stand, not sit,
Nor advertise some oligarch
On a redesigned replica kit.

There are five more stanzas which, while they may not satisfy literary purists, alert readers to the fact that interspersed with memories of toilet rolls being thrown onto the pitch when a goal was scored, or when FA Cup final day was a rare opportunity to watch a live game on TV, is a deeper message.

Football's relentless commercialisation comes, naturally enough, at a cost. It's brought us everything from the Stalinist-style obliteration of the game's pre-1992 history to the modern player, kissing the badge, logo and sponsor's name after scoring. A purer, less cynical era is depicted throughout Got, Not Got. Buy it - you will not be disappointed.


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