Book Review: On This Day
To comprehensively bind a football club's entire history within a single book can be overwhelming not just for the writer but the reader as well. Even the most fanatical supporters of Britain’s oldest clubs may balk when presented with a 500-page tome describing every facet of a club’s history. That’s why Pitch Publishing’s On This Day series works so well.
Title: On This Day [series]
Publisher: Pitch Publishing
Date Published: Varied
Price: £9.99-£14.99 Available on Amazon and at Bookstores throughout the UK
Exactly what they say on the cover, each volume is an account of what happened in a club’s history on every calendar day of the year from the distant days of their inception to more recent events. Divided into bite-sized chunks, they’re entertaining, informative and digestible.
A good spread of teams are covered, from the more popular sides, such as the Manchester giants, Liverpool and Chelsea to names of a more niche interest, including Notts County and Dundee. Each book is written lovingly by authors close to the respective club, including fans and former players as well as historians. There's an authentic, homey feel, a nice contrast to the mass-produced, impersonal histories clubs sometimes churn out.
Fans can peek through a window in time corresponding directly to the day on which the book is being read. It makes for a wonderfully atmospheric journey. Take a trip back through the hundreds of New Years Days that have passed. You can laugh or cry as Liverpool lose 9-2 at Newcastle in 1934 or Notts County defeat Bolton away in 1910. Or you can flick to July. It might be reasonable to expect little of note occurring during the offseason only to be gripped by a paragraph on Hibernian losing a 1942 Scottish Cup final to Rangers on the outcome of a coin toss.
Of course, no one’s forcing anyone to read the books in this way. Pitch Publishing haven't recruited some omnipresent secret police to enforce any rigid rules. On This Day books are perfect for an enjoyable gander any time one pleases. The nature of the short paragraphs and wide range of stories allows one to get a good impression of the overall feel of a club, how it's progressed over decades, retaining the key values that imbues its character.
Even the geekiest fan, one who can tell you whether that fateful shilling came up heads or tails, will learn something new. Sprinkled in among the accounts of big games, trophy wins and bank-breaking transfers are lesser-known anecdotes, sometimes funny or intriguing, sometimes tragic, tales of a Notts County player who represented England at cricket in the Ashes or Arsenal players who went away to war and never returned.
The books make an ideal stocking filler for that fan who thinks he knows everything. Artfully presented; clearly divided by month and sprinkled with match-action shots and player portraits, each volume is pocket-sized. Bring one along to a match. Anyone looking for a Christmas present for that hard-to-please football supporter could do far worse than choosing one of the On This Day Books.