Long Hot Summer…

How did you used to fill the hours in those long, football-free summers we used to have? 

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My family were creatures of habit when it came to our summer holidays. The first two weeks of August in a caravan in East Runton, just down the road from Cromer, every year. For decades. We tried moving up the Norfolk coast a bit to Snettisham once, but it wasn’t really for us.

The early years saw me content to build sandcastles, eat ice cream and go rock-pooling all day, but once I’d caught the football bug I began to get itchy feet.

The challenge then was to fit as much football into the holiday as possible, and it wasn’t easy. My first breakthrough was finding a dozen issues of ‘Scorcher & Score’ in the discount box nestling among the buckets and spades.

The adventure of Nipper Lawrence and Hot Shot Hamish filled the evening hours in a caravan with no TV, but a constant faint smell of gas.

You couldn’t rely on finding treasure like that every year, but the Shoot! Summer Special was good standby, like a regular issue of Shoot!, with most of the usual features, but twice as thick and with a matt paper cover instead of the usual gloss.

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There was also the local pre-season paper that looked forward to the Big Kick-Off with wildly optimistic expectations of East Anglia’s finest: Norwich, Ipswich and Colchester… which led me to my best ever football on holiday experience.

Having seen a poster advertising a ‘football special’ bus in the chip shop window I managed to persuade the family that instead of our thousandth trip to Sheringham for arcades and chips, we should get the coastal pick-up bus to Carrow Road for the first game of the 1980-81 season. After all, I was missing Leicester’s first game back in Division One, so I was due some sort of compensation.

And so it was that we boarded the Canary Express to Norwich, stopping at Sheringham, Beeston Regis, West Runton, East Runton, Cromer and Aylsham… we sat near a crab fisherman (according to my memory, although he might just have been wearing a white jumper) and a young lad in a green and yellow scarf, neither of whom though much of Norwich’s prospects for the season.

But how wrong they were. From our vantage point in the new River End Stand we witnessed a fantastic 5-1 victory for the Canaries over Stoke, with a virtuoso performance and hat trick from their rising star Justin Fashanu. In the August sunshine in their bright yellow and green strip it was hard to imagine a happier place, and crabman and boy were in fine spirits on the trip back to the coast.

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However… at the end of the season Leicester travelled to Carrow Road and won 3-2, but both sides were relegated.

I wasn’t devastated for too long, at this twin blow to both my club and my holiday club though. We would soon be going on our summer holidays…. two weeks in East Runton, naturally.

This piece first appeared in: ‘The Lost World of Football’ available HERE.

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Manchester United fans – have a free lunchtime read on us…

While you are tucking into your M&S ‘Lunch to You’ and whoever’s birthday cake this lunchtime have a flip though the first few pages of ‘Got, Not Got: Manchester United’ on us… 

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Click HERE to have a read – if you like it click HERE to buy it for a measly £12.99.


Great Book
By Ade 67 
“A great book for any United fan who, like myself, grew up in the 70s and 80s. There’s some genuine laugh out loud moments as you remember the badges, souvenirs, magazines and songs from those great days, but also a cringe when you realise how ridiculous you looked as well. In my own case, that would have been wearing a badge, as a 12 year old, that read “Next to Sex, I like United Best”!”

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Chelsea fans – have a free lunchtime read on us…

While you are tucking into your Sainsbury’s meal deal this lunchtime have a flip though the first few pages of ‘Got, Not Got: Chelsea’ on us… 

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Click HERE to have a read – if you like it click HERE to buy it for a measly £12.


Splendid treasure chest of Chelsea-related nostalgia
By Mr P Watts on 1 July 2015
Some absolute cracking bits of lost Chelsea merchandise here. Very sad I never had the Chelsea action man kit… Great fun, superb pictures, nice memories of the good old bad old days of Chelsea.
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Subbuteo: Gluey Feet and Oversize Balls

Leeds lifer Jon Howe hasn’t only just written the football book of the year – about the history of Elland Road, what you might call a splitter – he’s also been waxing lyrical about memories of Subbuteo.

Ah yes, The Game that Made Heroes of Us All… except when we knelt with all our weight on a wandering left winger and his torso was snapped off his base under our infant kneecaps.

CBGOhmJWAAAVkLRMore about ‘The Only Place For Us’ shortly – a masterpiece of original parkaeological (little copyright sign) research revealing layer after layer of lost football culture.

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Chelsea Tailgating

The Chelsea team celebrate promotion by sitting on the back of a lorry…

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No one does a good pun like an advert in a 1970s programme, but we are wondering how much insurance you would need to get a photo of the current Chelsea squad hanging off the back of a lorry?

How many of them can you name?


Check out our titles on Amazon…


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Birmingham United! A 1987 Villa/Brum/Baggies Mash Up…

Here’s a sight… a combined West Brom, Aston Villa and Birmingham City team group in the city centre as featured in Football Today magazine in November 1987…

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[click on image for larger version]

Football Today – a short-lived, but quite popular magazine in the late 80s – took the photo thirty years after the one in the top left hand corner which appeared in the Birmingham Evening Mail in honour of the three clubs appearing in the 1957 FA Cup semi-finals.

10 points for naming all 50 of them, we’ll throw in the Lord Mayor of Birmingham Cllr Fred Gattridge for free.


Check out our titles on Amazon…

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Which sticker are you still missing?

Here’s mine… Stewart Barrowclough from FKS’s Wonderful World of Soccer Stars 1973-74…


Still absent, an empty frame underlining my failure after 41 years…
All that playground swapping time and I never manage to complete the task.

The shame…

Which sticker are you missing? Let us know.

 Why not treat yourself to one of these? Before you have to turn your attention to the gardening again…

gng covers

They are all available on Amazon now… click the links below.






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