Published by BBC Books – ISBN 978-1-84990-988-4
Reviewed by Richard DJJ Bowdery
BBC Books have scored again. Following hard on the heels of ‘Match of the Day: 50 Years’, comes this latest trip down football’s memory lane.
‘Match of the Day 365’ is a compilation of iconic moments from the Premier League era, spanning its first 22 seasons. Written by MoTD commentator Steve Wilson, it’s a fascinating reminder of what we watched, read and talked about in the pubs and on the terraces.
Set out in bite-size chunks, there is a story for each day of the year along with a paragraph or two on other notable events.
Although there is some cross-over between the two books, it doesn’t diminish the attraction of this latest offering which provides a wealth of stories that fans of the ‘beautiful game’ will want to revisit again and again – and what memories they are.
Who can forget?
• that cheeky shot from the halfway line which announced to the world a special footballing talent (17 August)
• one keeper’s kick that was even longer but achieved the same result as it bounced into the net over the opposing keeper’s head (2 Nov)
• the emotional Italian who pushed over a referee – the ref seemed to go down in stages (26 September)
• a manager’s rant to the TV cameras as pressure mounted on his team’s push for the League title (29 April)
• a European comeback by a team who were dead and, almost, buried at half-time (25 May)
• the tears of a clown when a penalty shoot-out lost us the chance of glory – if only his legs were two inches longer (26 June)
• a Kung-Fu kicking Frenchman who later talked of sardines and trawlers (25 January and 31 March).
With this type of book there is bound be stories that didn’t make the cut – a debate you can have with your fellow fans. But the book does what it says on the cover. And regardless of whether or not you agree with Steve Wilson’s choice of stories, you’d be hard pushed not to smile and even chuckle as you reminisce on an era that brought a fresh start for the English game.
All in all it’s a book every fan, who lived through this new dawn, should own, and every future fan should be encouraged to buy: so they can read for themselves what makes the Premier League probably the most talked about league in the world.
Published 3 September 2015.