They Used to Play on Grass He watched her slapping sausages and bacon into the pan, cracking a couple of eggs. Her hair was a lot thinner now, a soft white halo above her head… she was a powerful woman then and she needed to be for the farmers paid them two shillings an hour to pick potatoes and she had to push the pram two miles to the fields, the new baby in the pram, the younger ones hanging on to the sides, the two bigger boys kicking a tin can or a shiny black rubber remnant of what had once been a tennis ball. Sometimes it was dark when they set out and dark again when they started off home, the widow and the pram and the dirty-faced rabble of kids and the baby in its warm wrappings and nobody to know that the bottom of the pram, under the baby, was crammed with a stone of stolen potatoes that would give them stew for two days.

This is a novel about football, published in 1971, but set a shortish distance into the future I think maybe late 1970s. It follows a fictional football club in its preparation for the semi-final of the “British Cup”, with the climax of the novel, naturally, being the match itself.

Given the fact that this is a novel about football, and footballer’s lives, and that it’s (half-)written by a footballer, I was not expecting to get much out of this and my expecations were pretty low. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the story is readable, and I managed to get quite into it, even getting quite excited and tense during the football match at the end.

On the whole, not too bad, considering – but let’s just say it’s not one I plan to read again…

Here’s an Amazon link.

My local library didn’t have a copy of this, nor did any local bookshops, nor Ebay and the cheapest copy I could find on the Internet was (including P&P, which given that this was a hardback was not cheap either!) £11.00.

Such irony – the book on the list that, so far anyway, I have had the least desire to read and I had to fork out £11 for it. Ha! I’m half-tempted to keep it, as it’s obviously such a treasure, and pass it on as an heirloom. But I figure there is a reason why this book isn’t in print – it’s because nobody wants to read it! (Nobody but me, anyway.) Give me a shout if you can think of a use for it, eh?!

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