Another book about football? Well, yes and no. Yes, the reason for its existence is the fast-approaching fiftieth anniversary of England’s finest two hours on a football field. And, yes, it’s full of memories from some of those who were at the World Cup Final, 1966, those who saw it on the television in unusual circumstances, and those who somehow missed it altogether. Not to mention those who celebrated, everywhere from Ashington in Northumberland to the Astor Club in Berkeley Square to the wilds of rural Essex and much further east in Shanghai.
But the bubble of optimism hovering over England in the summer of ’66 was not confined to Wembley or to football in general. Over twenty years after the War, there was a feeling afoot that things were getting better. Employment was plentiful. The gap between rich and poor was diminishing. Inventive music rasped from Dansettes and transistors. Threaded through this book are observations about how people then behaved, ate, dressed, drank, drove, danced, watched television, and, yes, played and watched football in a very different England from the de-industrialised, consumerist, increasingly fragmented society of today.
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