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My Father and Other Working-Class Heroes

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  165 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A beautifully written and moving account of the author’s search for the man his father was, and the life he led as a well-known footballer at a time when the men who played the game, and those who watched it, led fundamentally the same lives together in the same communities.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 25th 2005 by Yellow Jersey Press (first published 2005)
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Paul Harris
Gary Imlach has succeeded in writing an excellent and revealing story of his father's football career. Stewart Imlach was a player I'd never heard of before reading this book. A flying winger, he was a Scottish international in the 1950s and represented them in the 1958 World Cup. He played for a variety of clubs south of the border, most notably at Nottingham Forest in the earlier stages of his career where he appeared and starred in their victorious '59 FA Cup winning side. Once retired from p ...more
I must declare a personal connection with this book,if a very tentative one.I had the pleasure of knowing the Imlach family while Stewart was playing for Crystal Palace and living in Addiscombe in Croydon in the mid-60s.I was friends with Gary's older brother Stephen and thus knew the authour as a small boy...8 or 9..and his even younger brother,Michael.I often played with them,& occasionally met father Stewart,a quiet,unassuming man with a ready smile & a kind word for a slightly stage- ...more
Matthew Gaughan
I'd been thinking about reading this book for ages, but feared it might be a bit cloying and cliched. It's not. It's an absorbing, beautiful reflection on how football, and by extension Britain and working-class tradition, has changed so much since the 1950s, some of the changes good, some of them bad, some inevitable. It's done through the portrait of the author's father, but this portrait isn't sentimental - it's a thorough attempt to understand him through his own achievements and failings an ...more
What started out as one man's attempt to get to know more about his father's footballing career turns into a study of how the game has changed in the last 60 years.
It's emotional, heart-warming, and by the end you feel you know Stuart Imlach almost as well as his son Gary does.
Phil Mc
This isn’t a typical football book, not that I read many. Rather, it is three distinct books which don’t always sit well together.

The first, as much because it starts the book this way as the fact that it seems the primary motivation for Imlach’s writing, is a very personal insight into his father’s footballing life. A son’s devotion to his departed dad shines from the pages but only ever briefly engages the reader fully.

The second book within this book is the historical (statistical and anecd
Mel Siew
Jul 05, 2008 Mel Siew rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Football fans and historians
Recommended to Mel by: Alan, Susie Gledhill's boyfriend
A personal biography by Gary Imlach of his father's player career. Rather sadly, the project only gathered pace after the death of his father and there is a slight undertone of melancholy in certain parts.

What the book does fantastically well is to provide an insight into what being a football player was really like in the 1950s and 1960s. We all know about the abolition of the maximum (or should do), but do we really know what the real-life implications were of the retain-and-transfer system?

David Mcdowell
Another great book from my Dad! Journalist Gary Imlach goes in search of his father's professional football career - an area that he never gave enough attention while he was still around.

He spends time discussing his football schooling in Lossiemouth, his career in England (including Cup win) and for Scotland with the ridiculous 50s transfer and contract systems and finally his coaching and later years in the game. He has obvious pride in his father's achievements and a keen eye for the wider hi
The story of his fathers football career in the 1950's. It is hard to believe how different it was back then. The statistical stuff you could find anywhere, but this book is at its best when comparing the life of a footballer in those days, to the riches that top players earn today. Fascinating insights about the maximum wage for a player being only 15 a week, when some of the bigger factories were paying their workers 11. To get around this, most big clubs (in this case Nottingham Forest. Would ...more
One of the most moving and in-depth social commentaries of our age. Like one of the reviews states, every professional football player should have a copy of this book to help them appreciate the lengths of their former professionals. The beautiful game has never been so eloquently and honestly described in such a succinct fashion. Read it now.
Keith Salmon
This is an excellent book and it is a little unfair to pigeon hole it as many do. This book is about a man finding his father when its too late. If we are honest we are all a little bit like Gary Imlach, we wished we had been a bit more interested in our fathers life, for many it is too late and you find the love when its too late. A really touching interesting book on a number of levels, the story of a journeyman footballer, a unsung local hero, but a husband and a father.

Gary does his dad prou
Football Writer Chris
Presented football as it was, in an at times moving way. Imagine Ryan Giggs and David Beckham getting the local bus to the stadium on a matchday as Imlach's father did!
Wickovski Steve
A well written and decidedly lovely account of how footbalersl were when they were on a working wage and had to get a job to get them over the lean summer months between seasons.

Really enjoyed this and, like most I'd imagine, I couldn't help but shed a tear or two in the final chaper. Will hopefully post a full review on the blog at some point.
Nick Meakin
A great book written about football before the minimum wage where players were no more than serfs to their club. The soul of the game before sky even existed!!
A nice read. I am always so interested in English culture and football. Not as good as Fever Pitch, but not bad.
Jack Barraclough
An eye-opening account of what it was like to be a footballer in the 50's and 60's. Really well written.
Very interesting story and hopefully would be of interest to non-soccer fans
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