It might not surprise you, but I am a massive fan of football in the 1980s. So, when the chance came to review a book on the subject then I jumped at the chance.Football in the 1980s by Michael Keane was a welcome stroll down memory lane. Inspired by a trip to his attic, and a rummage through some boxes full of nostalgia, Keane set about the joyous task of jotting down his recollections of the sport in what was both an enjoyable and turbulent time for the national game.
Pretty much all that you would want covered in this book is included in Keane's excellent review of the decade. Each section gives a brief summary of a particular subject, without being too long-winded, allowing the reader to absorb some interesting information.
From notable matches to Hoddle and Waddle singing Diamond Lights, a wide variety of material is covered. Keane is lucky in that the 80s does provide plenty to talk about - I should know - but he manages to write in a way that is entertaining and thought-provoking.
Although I generally view most of the 80s through rose-tinted glasses, even I recognise there was a lot wrong with the sport back then. Keane tackles topics such as Bradford, Heysel, and Hillsborough, discussing the impact they had at the time and for fans that attend matches today.
It's not just matters on the pitch that Keane assesses. Television is a recurring theme, be it the lack of live coverage on the box in comparison to the modern era, or a look back at Saint and Greavsie and Football Focus. The big screen gets a mention – Gregory’s Girl and Escape to Victory – with the entry on Subbuteo sure to ring a few bells with many readers.
Football in the 1980s is one of those books that is difficult to put down. I repeatedly found myself reading “just one more section,” before realising that I’d hammered through another huge chunk of the book.
An ideal Christmas stocking filler, I’d highly recommend this book for anyone who grew up in the 1980s, or indeed as a present for any young football lover that you feel should complete their education.