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When Footballers Were Skint: A Journey in Search of the Soul of Football

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He’d say, “Tell ’em they can’t play. If they were any good they’d be up here with us in the forward line”– that type of thing.’ But I couldn’t get a job and I couldn’t come to any agreement with Newcastle,’ he says. ‘They told me, “Oh, we’ll get you a job, no problem, no problem.” But nobody ever did anything.’ The same goes for the World Cup. Now that the tournament in Russia is under way no one is talking about how the bid was won. Nor will they be in Qatar in four year’s time. All eyes are on the football alone. The pound signs are forgotten and replaced by goals. Football is dead. Long live football. They were coming to the end of their resources – they weren’t a big PFA in those days, they were a small PFA, the money wasn’t coming in like it does now – but they offered to pay my expenses if I carried on. Is this really the sturdy competitor who played for three Football League clubs when a bit of clogging was mandatory and if you could not play with freezing mud filling your big leather boots you should be doing summat else?

‘It was in the character and spirit of Duncan | Biteback

Newcastle were probably hoping that after I eventually signed for Arsenal the dispute over the retain-and-transfer system would fall away,’ Eastham says. ‘But the PFA were looking to me to be the man to take the fight forward, to bring an end to the system. United duly won the race for his signature and took him on as a full-time professional on 1 October 1953, Edwards’s seventeenth birthday.

When you think about it,’ George Eastham says, ‘it was a silly sort of situation. All I was looking for was a job in the afternoons because footballers did nothing in those days. You finished at lunchtime and then the rest of the day you became a good snooker player or whatever, a good golfer – but you didn’t have anything to do.’ These are things that obsess him over and above the considerable success and popularity he achieved at his three League clubs – Sheffield United, Nottingham Forest and Coventry City – as a speedy left-winger, and occasional centre forward, with a bullet shot. According to charity Xpro, as many as 60% of Premier League starlets have been declared penniless within the space of five years of hanging up their boots. Meanwhile, across the pond, nearly 80% of American football players have got themselves into all sorts of financial stress after just a couple of years out of the game. At the end of the day, a professional athlete’s career may only span a decade at best. But some choose to squander their money for a number of different reasons. Based on the first-hand accounts of players from a fast-disappearing generation, When Footballers Were Skint delves into the game's rich heritage and relates the fascinating story of a truly great sporting era.

George Eastham gave up playing, became a cork | Biteback

I said, “Yes, let’s do it. Let’s go the whole hog.” I wasn’t happy with the way things had gone with my transfer. So the case went to High Court and that broke the retain-and-transfer system.’ Long before perma-tanned football agents and TV mega-rights ushered in the age of the multimillionaire player, footballers' wages were capped – even the game's biggest names earned barely more than a plumber or electrician.Cliff Jones, the greatly admired Wales and Tottenham winger, remembered Edwards from the British Army team. ‘They were a terrific side,’ he said. ‘I was in the team with Duncan Edwards, the great Duncan Edwards. What a player he was going to be. The best there’s ever been.’ I couldn’t have been born any better really. I was working-class Yorkshire, south Yorkshire, where most people were skint. Some of them had got work at the colliery and some hadn’t and it was the mine owners who ruled – only the one thing they didn’t do was dare fight my dad.’ As a player he represented a number of clubs and was almost as ubiquitous as a manager. His seven clubs included Norwich City, Notts County and Leeds United, but it was during 17 years at Wolverhampton Wanderers, 1927-44, that he made his name as the most innovative manager of his time. Some of his ideas and methods survive to this day. The narrator was a bit iffy, but the content was well researched and made you nostalgic at times, but the Bosman ruling changed everything, not always for the better and now we have owners that don’t give a flying for fans & their communities...and they call it progress!

15 Footballers Who Went From Riches to Rags - TheSportster Top 15 Footballers Who Went From Riches to Rags - TheSportster

Timeless Two Stripes: How sponsorship conflict made Johan Cruyff play the 1974 World Cup with a two striped Adidas kit Half the relations of mine lived in Barugh Green and there were about 40 of them. I still love that place and Barugh Greeners, though I was quite young when we moved to Wombwell, on the other side of Barnsley, where my dad got a council house. He also introduced rowing machines so that fitness sessions were not simply a case of running up and down the stadium terracing. Collindridge was born in November 1920, only four years after Fergie Suter, the man widely regarded as the game’s first professional player, died in middle age. As a young man Collindridge mixed with many of the figures who had contributed to the game’s formative years.I’ve met hundreds of nice females,’ he says, ‘including my missus, who’s a good Nottingham girl who puts me in my place.’

Some players clogged – Stanley Matthews used | Biteback Some players clogged – Stanley Matthews used | Biteback

Born in Dudley, Worcestershire, Edwards appeared on the radar of leading clubs while still in his early teens. He met all the criteria of a Busby Babe, the name given to the youthful recruits enrolled by the Manchester United manager Matt Busby because the club were too impoverished to sign established players. Interestingly, though most of my interviewees mentioned Edwards among their favourite players, there were few anecdotes, just expressions of quite how formidable he was.

Don Ratfcliffe, the popular Ratter who was another team-mate of Matthews’s in his second spell at Stoke, says: ‘I got on very well with Stan and used to fire his bullets for him. He was a very quiet fella, but he was funny and used to tell me things to say to their defenders. From 1st July 2021, VAT will be applicable to those EU countries where VAT is applied to books - this additional charge will be collected by Fed Ex (or the Royal Mail) at the time of delivery. Shipments to the USA & Canada: Eastham hung on for seven months before Newcastle relented in October 1960 and allowed his transfer to Arsenal. This is both an important historical record as well as an immensely entertaining book. Highly recommended. Greville Waterman

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