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Seoul Glow The Story Behind Great Britain’s 1988 Hockey Gold By Rod Gilmour

Release date: 18th September, 2018
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: £19.99
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“British sport in the 1980s saw Torvill and Dean, Bob Champion triumphing over cancer to win the Grand National, Ian Botham’s Ashes, Liverpool’s hour in Rome, Daley Thompson’s decathlon gold, Desert Orchid’s Gold Cup victory and Barry McGuigan’s featherweight heroics. GB hockey’s 1988 [Olympic] gold is certainly part of this illustrious list.”

Some observers may feel that by grouping Britain’s historic 1988 hockey gold with very special memories seared into the nation’s sporting psyche that Rod Gilmour’s prologue to the hugely enjoyable Seoul Glow is a little OTT. However, as we recently celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of a most improbable hockey victory in South Korea, this would be grossly unfair.

Prior to departing for south east Asia, the British team were given little chance of success, but following Sean Kerly’s semi-final heroics, millions of people who had displayed no previous interest in hockey tuned in to watch the final against West Germany.

The belief that Kerly & Co could produce something special at the 1988 Olympics grew each time you watched them on television. In the wake of an improbable success, commentator Barry Davies, whose enthusiasm for the sport was infectious and responsible for attracting so many of us to watch at some ungodly hour of the morning, uttered one of sport’s greatest (and most satisfying) lines: “But where were the Germans? But, frankly, who cares?”

Rod Gilmour builds this archetypal Boys Own story from scratch, detailing how Britain’s hockey squad was assembled under the watchful eye of no-nonsense coach Roger Self. The training regime introduced by Self, who died last year, was described in his obituary as “unorthodox and unyielding – but it worked.” The coach was deemed “…a man rarely inhibited by sensitivity [though] the players forgave him for the pain he had inflicted.”

‘No pain, no gain’ has become a coaching mantra for any sportsman or woman who covets success. That Self could successfully apply it to a sport traditionally considered peripheral and create a national team capable of winning Olympic gold effectively answers the question posed by doubters regarding the right of the 1988 side to be bracketed with Thompson, Botham et al as sporting icons.


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