Away from writing for various publications including The Jewish Weekly, I’ve been very lucky to meet my football heroes since writing my first football book a quarter of a century ago.
Since 1998, 25 titles have hit the bookshelves at this time of year including Alex Stepney’s “Tooting Common to the Stretford End,” Duncan McKenzie’s “The Last Fancy Dan,” and Allan Clarke’s “Sniffer.” When “Leeds United: Cup Kings 1972” was published all those years ago, I realized a career change was around the corner. Apart from selfies not being around when I interviewed the great Stanley Matthews to chronicle the 1953 FA Cup final at Wembley, it’s been an amazing adventure.
The Twin Towers are no longer there, but I was present in 1981 for an equally famous final when Ricky Villa scored the greatest ever winner as Tottenham Hotspur defeated Manchester City. And this clash is featured in my latest title.
GALVINISED! The Footballing Tale of Brothers Chris and Tony Galvin (Pitch Publishing) recalls the contrasting fortunes of the Huddersfield-born lads during a golden age of the game. The brothers have tales galore and recall players, teammates, traveling escapades, training ground bust-ups, and unforgettable matches. It’s a story of glamour and heartache.
Left-winger Tony followed the ups ‘n’ downs of ‘Super Leeds’ when Chris was at Elland Road before Tottenham snapped him up from Goole Town FC while he was studying Russian at Hull University. Surviving the hard-knocks world of non-league football, including facing ‘Mr Nasty,’ Tony came through a career-saving operation and appeared on Top of the Pops before the ‘81 FA Cup success. He won the FA Cup a year later and UEFA Cup alongside legendary stars such as Glenn Hoddle and Ossie Ardiles. He also won 29 Republic of Ireland caps and starred at Euro ‘88 when they broke England hearts only for a dreadful refereeing decision to thwart their ambitions. Tony ended his playing days at Sheffield Wednesday and Swindon Town before a brief post as assistant manager to Ardiles at Newcastle United prior to Kevin Keegan’s appointment on Tyneside.
Conversely, elder brother Chris, an inside-forward, joined Leeds United as an apprentice and made his debut at 18 in the European Cup days after receiving an England Youth call-up during a remarkable few days but ultimately struggled to break into Don Revie’s iconic team. After witnessing Leeds’ glory days from the subs’ bench, he played across the Football League pyramid. Famed for the ‘Galvin shuffle’ step at Hull City, before Johan Cruyff and Ronaldo, he captained Stockport County and played for York City before finding success in Hong Kong when he faced an inebriated George Best for a representative XI before running a sports shop.
Football-daft kids dream of becoming professional footballers, the Galvin boys lived it and look back with decades of wisdom. Sibling rivalry can be tough but they are closer than ever and have an intriguing story to tell.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for copies of “Galvinised!” signed by Chris and Tony. A donation to charity will be made from books sold.