ARSENAL: THE LONG SLEEP, at 384 pages, is the biggest book on Arsenal football club ever written. It is the definitive, detailed account of the seventeen seasons immediately after the record seventh Football League championship win in 1953. It follows the fortunes and misfortunes of its players, managers and club officials during that trophy-wise barren era. Poignant, often funny, and occasionally sad, it faithfully records how the on and off the field events were interpreted by the club's loyal, long suffering fans, one of whom was the author.
It also recalls a time when professional footballers in England were inextricably tied by contract to their club and not allowed to earn more than the statutory maximum wage, as decreed by football's governing bodies, the FA and the Football League. Alone, one man dared to challenge that so-called 'soccer slavery' and went on a personal 141 days strike against his club Newcastle United. Future England international George Eastham's ultimate triumph in the High Court was to change forever the rights and unfettered fortunes that his modern counterparts enjoy.
The Long Sleep concludes with that triumphant night at Highbury on 28th April 1970 when seventeen years of failure were swept away dramatically to usher in a new successful period in the history of this famous and traditional club.
Read an extract from the book by clicking HERE
John Sowman is a lifelong Arsenal supporter from the early 1950's and attended Kentish Town C of E primary school just a twopenny bus ride from Highbury Stadium.
John considers that so many football writers in the past have concentrated purely on their clubs' successful years, which is perfectly understandable but unfortunately denies their readers an alternative understanding of the reasons behind the more difficult or downright disastrous eras that all football clubs, even the most successful ones necessarily have had to endure from time to time.
His book, he believes, will help to fill that vacuum and become the perfect antidote for the triumphancy present in most other publications. It is one that many fans of Arsenal, both past and present, particularly and other clubs in general, will immediately relate to, albeit no doubt a little reluctantly. It also acts as a salutary reminder to everyone that loves football and their chosen club that the good times can never last forever.
A member of AISA (Arsenal Independent Supporters Association), John Sowman has interviewed several former Arsenal players including John Radford, John Barnwell and Peter Goy for the UNTOLD ARSENAL website www.untold-arsenal.com, as well as providing articles of general interest on Arsenal’s post-war past.
He is also author of the seventh in a series of AISA History of Arsenal booklets –
The Arsenal Managers 1956-1966, covering the seasons when Jack Crayston, George Swindin and Billy Wright were in charge, published by the ARSENAL HISTORY SOCIETY, part of AISA, www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk.
John, a former senior manager with ferry company Sealink and latterly with British Rail, is retired and lives in Hertfordshire with his wife Yvonne.
''this is an extraordinary book'
''a work of art lovingly put together'
''I love and recommend this wonderful book'
Click HERE to read Bob's foreword in full
(Registered Charity No. 1079977) was launched in August 1999 by Bob and Megs Wilson as a memorial to their daughter, Anna, who died from a rare form of cancer in December 1998, shortly before her 32nd birthday. The Foundation was born out of the belief that the quality of life of young adults living with a life-threatening illness can be improved by providing 'special days' away from the routine of illness and treatment.
'Our desire to help young people with life-threatening illnesses grew from our own experiences with Anna,' says Wilson. 'She wanted quality of life, quality of time and, most importantly, she wanted to be treated as normal. The more we lived with Anna's cancer the more we realised that special days can often do more than conventional medicine.'
A percentage of royalties from the sale of this book and the Kindle version are being donated to the Willow Foundation.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the work of the Foundation or making a donation should contact: The Willow Foundation, Sylvia Adams House, 24 The Common, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 0NB.
The Foundation's Internet site can be found at: www.willowfoundation.org.uk