Apart form its current publications, John Blake Publishing has a sizeable back list of acclaimed sporting titles. These include biographies of stars such as Roger Federer, WG Grace, Fernando Torres and Frankie Dettori. For more information, visit www.blake.co.uk
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“The slump in league attendances…is not due solely to the economic recession. Watching the game has become an expensive pastime, and in the scramble for that ever-elusive quality, success, the product, so often designed to achieve it, loses vital eye appeal…”
Jack Rollin, who edits the Sky Sports Football Yearbook with his daughter Glenda, could have been describing any of the recent Premier League campaigns, many of which have been frustratingly predictable. In fact, the words come from the editorial featured in the book’s predecessor, the Rothmans Football Yearbook 1981-82, published in 1981 and also edited by Rollin.
Yet the words ring worryingly true. Indeed, it seems likely that as recession bites further, this could be a pivotal season for the domestic football industry which will need to work hard to retain its audience.
Such considerations aside, the new season’s bumper, 1,056 page edition of football’s definitive reference book was published last week. Packed once again with an abundant enough supply of facts and statistics to satisfy the most ardent pub quiz question setter, the tome has become an integral feature of the new football season.
While fans are aware that the year in which a particular football club was formed or first turned professional are not going to change from one season to the next (though the information is faithfully reproduced here), our appreciation of those records etched into football’s history, coupled with a modest, or in some cases pronounced, anorak inclination, makes the Rollin masterpiece a “must-have”.
Available at less than the cost of watching a League Two match, it represents extraordinary value given the number of hours most fans spend pouring through it. It goes without saying that the book’s stature ensures it is eminently capable of settling any football-related arguments that may arise throughout the new or any other season.
Yet the yearbook is also much more than this. As Rollin’s introductory editorial piece written more than 30 years ago proves, it has an uncanny knack of being remarkably prescient. Perhaps this is attributable to being constantly surrounded by facts and figures. It certainly accounts for the Sky Sports Football Yearbook’s status as the domestic game’s statistical Bible - as well as making it a very fine read.