Search for your sports books:

Featured Publisher: Pitch Publishing
The incomparable range of sports books produced by Pitch Publishing over the past few years has ensured theyÕve secured a place as one of the UKÕs leading publishers of sporting material.

From the unashamedly nostalgic Got, Not Got and the thought-provoking If Only: An Alternative History of the Beautiful Game, to Andrew MurtaghÕs superbly-written Gentleman and a Player, Pitch Publishing are always likely to come up with something different. Take a look at their current range:

Read Review
<back to archive

Johnny Haynes Portrait of a Football Genius By James Gardner

Release date: 11th August, 2017
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: £18.99
Our Price: £18.99
You Save: £0 (0%)
Buy Now

On the eve of the new football season, Huddersfield chairman Dean Hoyle referred to the importance of getting youngsters supporting their local team. “We need to have them by the age of seven,” said Mr Hoyle, whose club is doing everything it can to ensure a steady flow of supporters are backing the Terriers for years to come.

James Gardner was taken to his first Fulham game at the age of seven and fell in love. That love has clearly deepened over the intervening half century as this first full-length biography of a man who was not only an outstanding footballer but the first Englishman to earn £100 a week shows.

The author is right to claim that Johnny Haynes never received the credit he deserved. This was partly due to the fact that despite being an established international, he remained a one-club man and, with all due respect, that club was Fulham who were never likely to challenge the burgeoning hegemony of England’s footballing giants based almost exclusively in the north west. Nevertheless, Gardner’s claim that footballers in the fifties and sixties “…were working under conditions not dissimilar to those suffered by medieval serfs” is well wide of the mark.

Haynes in particular did well from the game. He was perhaps English football’s first celebrity, securing lucrative contracts with Brylcreem and the Milk Marketing Board, amongst others, while his image was prominent on billboards across the country.

He was also a ground-breaker, holding Fulham chairman Tommy Trinder to his promise to pay him £100 a week three days after professional footballers voted 694 to 18 to take strike action unless the maximum wage was abolished. By January 1961, Haynes’ salary was more than six times the national average, a trend that has since accelerated to eye-watering levels.

Gardner has included plenty of showbiz anecdotes, including a particularly amusing incident featuring Rex Harrison, but as Haynes reached the end of his career, Fulham were losing ground, although they would later attract the likes of Bobby Moore, George Best and Rodney Marsh to Craven Cottage.

In later life, little was heard of Haynes and there’s a poignant moment when he delivers some dry cleaning belonging to former England man Trevor Steven who recognises him. There are various accounts of the pair’s conversation.

It’s highly unlikely that a current England international with 50-odd caps will end his working life delivering dry cleaning; Johnny Haynes may not have expected it either, but he could still captivate 7-year-olds. Let’s hope Mr Hoyle has players capable of doing the same.

<back to archive


SBOTM Current Top 10

Salt On My Skin By Sarah Kennedy Norquoy
Welford Publishing
Read Review Buy Now
One Long and Beautiful Summer, By Duncan Hamilton
Read Review Buy Now
Really Wild Cycling: By Chris Sidwells
Read Review Buy Now
Splash! : 10,000 years of swimming By Howard Means
Allen & Unwin
Read Review Buy Now
Never Leave A Man Behind By Mick Dawson
Read Review Buy Now
Bob Willis: A Cricketer and a Gentleman by Mike Dickson & others Edited by David Willis
Hodder & Staughton
Read Review Buy Now
Because It’s Saturday By Gavin Bell
Pitch Publishing
Read Review Buy Now
Football’s Black Pioneers By Bill Hern & David Gleave
Conker Editions
Read Review Buy Now
Spirit of Cricket Reflections on Play and Life By Mike Brearley
Read Review Buy Now
Bundini: Don’t Believe the Hype By Todd Snyder
Hamilcar Publications
Read Review Buy Now

Amazon’s top 6 best-sellers

© Sharks Media Ltd 2004 – 2012. Site designed and maintained by Marcus Hamblett for Furydesign.