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Book Review - Glove Story

Tuesday 3rd April 2018

The most important position on the football field? Certainly the most unique. For years the poor old Goal-Keeper has been treated with disdain, a position filled by those deemed not good enough to play anywhere else. The centre-forwards poor relation has largely been ignored in the world of football literature.

That is until the arrival of ‘Glove Story’, a book dedicated to those between the sticks. At last a book that does the goalkeeping position justice. A book that puts the ‘keeper’ firmly in the spotlight.

Title: Glove Story
Author: Rob Stokes, Derek Hammond & Gary Silke
Publisher: Conker Editions​​​​​​​
Date Published: 2017​​​​​​​
Price: £10

Glove Story is part of the ‘Not Got Not’ football series, which was runner-up at the 2012 British Sports Book Awards and a favourite of the football critic. And it is easy to see why this little gem of a book is so popular.

It is packed full of pictures and illustrations, while the narrative is both easy to read and full of humour. ‘Glove Story’ manages to achieve the difficult balance between being entertaining but at the same time informative. Perhaps its greatest strength is the memories it creates for the reader and this nostalgia creates a real ‘feel good’ factor to the book. It is eye-catching too, with more colour than a keeper’s jersey in the 1990’s.

‘Glove Story’ covers all there is to know about those guardians of the net, the art of goal-keeping, and the influence of goal-keepers on us, the fans. It takes us to a time when the British keeper ruled the world pointing, shouting and gesturing their way to another clean sheet before succumbing to the superior technique of their overseas peers.

We have goalies that have scored goals and one of the great sights in football – The outfield player donning the gloves. A special mention also to the luckless reserve keeper, the proverbial benchwarmer.

Keepers in comics, films, computer games and board games are covered (you can’t forget the keeper on the end of a stick in Subbuteo!). The goalkeeper’s kit is examined through the evolution in gloves, bags, shirts and caps, all items personal to the keeper and no other player. Products that if the goalie was not wearing then he was endorsing to his idolising public.

No goalkeeping book would be complete without paying homage to the games great number ones. 'Glove Story' introduces and reminds us of some of the ‘legends on the line’, whose tales add real value to the book.

Then there is a celebration of ‘the greatest saves’. Banks in 1970. Montgomery in 1973 and the scorpion save in 1995. Saves etched in the mind of football fans up and down the country, saves as famous as any goal ever scored.

'Glove Story' is the perfect book to sit on the coffee table, it can be read at length or to be dipped in and out of when you have a spare few minutes. It is appealing to all football fans and not confined to those in the keepers union.

They say in football that you have to be crazy to be a goalkeeper, well if you are a genuine lover of football, then you would have to be slightly mad to give 'Glove Story' a miss.  

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Allan Kemp

Born in Suffolk but a Norwich City supporter who is currently exiled in Dallas, US. I am an FA level 2 coach and also a published author, my book of Hall of fame - Norwich City's - All-Time Greats is available from all good bookshops. I am now working on my second book, with Pitch Publishing - Newcastle United Hall of Fame. I'm also a keen reader of football-related books.


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