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Book Review - The Illustrated History of Football

Thursday 30th March 2017
You might not instantly recognise the name.  However, the work of David Squires will be instantly recognisable to football fans around the world as his weekly comic strips have adorned the Guardian newspaper for several years now. His spot on comments and satirical humour are a joy to behold. Now he's taken the steps to have his first book published - The Illustrated History of Football.

Title : The Illustrated History of Football

Author: David Squires

Publisher: Penguin

Date Published: 2016

Price: £9.09 from Amazon (£12.99 RRP)

If you are expecting a cheap cash-in effort of all his previous published work from a newspaper (we are looking at you Jeremy Clarkson!), then you will be in for a treat. The Illustrated History of Football not only features new comic strips, but each section is also accompanied by (generally) a full page of the written word. There are just over 90 strips to get stuck into, all of which will raise a chuckle to a full belly laugh.

Throughout the book, Squires looks at key moments of the game from its inception (by cavemen no less) to the formation of the Football Association, the Football League and FIFA. All well as this he looks at key moments of the game. These include England's non-World Cup in 1994, the mystery that surrounded Brazil's Ronaldo at the 1998 World Cup to Nottingham Forest becoming the Kings of Europe (twice). Each accompanying hand drawn comic strip will easily hit the funny bone of football fans whichever team they support.

Squires captures the absurdity of the modern game, from the overpaid prima donnas to the ugly side of corporate sponsorship. The book is splashed with a very subtle touch of implied disdain for the likes of Sepp Blatter and the money making machine that the modern day FIFA has morphed into. Squires very eloquently slides in satirical digs aimed at the powers that be and makes great use of pop-culture references.

“Members of the Southern League and Northern Leagues were incorporated in the early 1920's. Creating four Professional Leagues that would eventually include 92 clubs. At no point did any of them demand putting their reserve sides in the lower tiers.”

Squires has the knack of picking up on what every football fan is secretly thinking. He puts his material over very well in his unique drawing style, where all the characters are easily recognisable. Whether it be Sam Allardyce, Jamie Vardy or the football hipsters that you see down your local pub/microbrewery. Throughout the book, his in-depth knowledge of the game shines through and Squires hits the nail on the head with 99.9% of his images.

If you are not familiar with his work then The Illustrated History of Football is a great introduction. It is very reasonably priced from all good bookshops.

However, also make sure that you follow his weekly column in The Guardian.

Mick Bates

Mick is a passionate fan of Coventry City and has watched from the sidelines (and had the privilege of seeing the inner workings during an exciting two years in corporate sales there) to see the once mighty Sky Blues fall from the Premier League, then fail to sparkle in the Championship, relegated from League One and wind up in League Two before winning the most important fixture in football competitions - The Checkatrade Trophy final followed by a heart-stopping promotion back to League One.

As well as supporting the Sky Blues, Mick appreciates all levels of football and loves a good book to keep himself entertained as well as a few hours on FIFA or Football Manager as time allows.

He also keeps an eye on all the major English leagues and regularly enjoys a flutter looking for that elusive treble! 

Total articles: 129

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