Chronicling the Kop: cultural context and the captain’s false teeth

Posted by mjs76 at Sep 14, 2010 05:23 PM |
Leicester academic pens the definitive history of Liverpool FC.

Red Men is the new book from the University of Leicester’s football expert John Williams who is a Senior Lecturer in our Department of Sociology. Subtitled Liverpool Football Club – The Biography, this is the definitive history of one of the most famous and successful clubs in the world.

But this is no anorak’s guide to who scored which goal when. Rather, Red Men “offers a rich sociological context for the discussion of the football club and its players and fans, and the professional game in the wider sense, by providing accounts of associated cultural and social developments in the city and beyond over the past century. It examines the early role of civic and ethnic elites in both sport and politics in the early years of the professionalisation of football and deals with issues of gender, race and sport in Liverpool. It also explores the ‘clerical tyranny’ in Liverpool that restricted weekend play for local men and women for many years.”

On the other hand, this is no dry, academic tome either. The book provides “incredible ‘colour’ and unique data drawn from the Liverpool club’s official Minute Books which reveal evidence of the early commercialisation of the game, hard-working but chaotic directors, discussions about stadium development and relations with supporters, players and sponsors, and (in hard times) whether the club could manage to pay for repairs to the club captain’s false teeth, cruelly damaged in football action!”

You can’t ask for more than that.

Though there have been many volumes about Liverpool FC, most have concentrated on the glory years under Bill Shankly’s reign whereas in fact the club had been in existence for 70 years before then. Wiliams’ exhaustively researched book documents and explores the full history, impact and significance of the club from its origins to the present day.

Published in hardback by Mainstream Publishing (part of Random House) and running to a whopping 432 pages, Red Men has a cover price of £16.99.

Not to suggest that Anfield is a favourite subject of John Wiliams or anything, but his previous books include:

  • Passing Rhythms: Liverpool FC and the Transformation of Football (2001, with Stephen Hopkins and Cathy Long)
  • Into the Red: Liverpool FC and the Changing Face of English Football (2001)
  • The Liverpool Way: Houllier, Anfield and the New Global Game (2003)
  • Kennedy's Way: Inside Bob Paisley's Liverpool (2004, with Alan Kennedy)
  • The Miracle of Istanbul: Liverpool FC, from Paisley to Benitez (2005, with Stephen Hopkins)
  • Groove Armada: Rafa Benitez, Anfield and the New Spanish Fury (2006, with Ramon Llopis) and...
  • Come On You Red Men: The Official Cultural History of Liverpool Football Club (2008)

Not an Everton man, then…