'For just as it is hard fully to comprehend the sudden burst of success that Arsenal had in the 1930s without knowing about the years before, so it is nigh on impossible to fully grasp what happened at the start of the 1970s without appreciating the period before it.
This is why the volume Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970 by John Sowman is so important. Starting with the moment that Arsenal, on the last day of the 1952/3 season, won the League for a record 7th time, it charts Arsenal’s decline both match-by-match and through the reaction of the media and the public, as Arsenal followed up that record breaking championship season by coming 12th in the league and being knocked out of the FA Cup by Norwich City of Division III (South).
Perhaps most importantly, this volume takes us through a shift in Arsenal’s perception. We had had Chapman, Allison, Whittaker – none of these had been players of major significance, although Chapman had played for Tottenham and Whittaker had a few games for Arsenal after the first world war.'
Click HERE for full review
By Tony Attwood
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'I have just finished reading the Kindle version of The Long Sleep, which I found to be a thoroughly enjoyable and a fascinating read.
The period written about, allows me to wallow in nostalgia, (something us oldies like to do). As the book relates, to the time I started to go regularly to watch and support Arsenal both at Highbury
and later going to away matches. I remember well some of the matches and the players detailed in the book. The first league game that I went to at Highbury is highlighted in the book, the final game
of the 1958/1959 Season, which was played as an evening floodlight game v Birmingham City, the original game being postponed because of the tragic death of the Birmingham full back, Geoff Hall from
Polio. Arsenal had to win the game to finish 3rd in the 1st Division to qualify for ‘Talent’ money payment. Arsenal won the game 2-1 and to this day, I can still recall Danny Clapton scoring the
first goal with a cross shot from a precision pass behind the full back followed by a close range header from Vic Groves.
Fast Forward to the 1969/1970 season, it has been said by many people, and believe me, it is true, there has never been a game or atmosphere that there was at Highbury for the Anderlecht game, you had to be there, words cannot describe the emotion and joy in winning that cup in bringing the glory days to Arsenal.
I highly recommend this book to all Arsenal followers; I defy anyone not to enjoy reading about this period in Arsenal’s fantastic history'
'Another Old Geezer'
17 February 2016
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'You are both so right. It is a magnificent book (I have the paperback version) and it is those very years when I was growing up. I lived and breathed Arsenal and wallowed in the club’s history and Tom Whittaker’s autobiography was a treasure to me. We lived in the country with no league football clubs very near to us and as my Dad was an Arsenal fan I followed him. My uncle was a Spurs fan and it was him who took me to see my first game at White Hart Lane in 1959 when Arsenal won 4-1. Even my uncle was pleased for me. To see my heroes such as Jack Kelsey, Vic Groves, David Herd and Tommy Docherty made it one of the most memorable days of my life.
This book is very well written and so much information I didn’t know of. I have enjoyed reading a chapter a day and then looking up the many autobiographies and biographies of the different players and managers we have had to compare events. It is so well researched and a must read for any supporter who enjoys the history of our club. As I have posted before Arsenal’s successes have come in waves and in the periods in between is when a true fan still gets behind the team. Sure its fair to criticise and we all have our own ideas about how we should play and who to pick or buy but still support the club. When I was young there were Arsenal fans who were always moaning, sometimes justifiably, but even when success came would soon downgrade it. Unfortunately there are a lot of that sort now but those of us who lived through that time I think appreciate what the club has achieved more. The ones who first came on board at the height of our triumphs are the ones who easily get restless and expect it to happen all the time. We can be proud of what Arsenal have achieved and staying in the top four all these years with the bank rolled opposition clubs has been difficult and it would be good for those type of fans to read this book to see what hard times are really like. Remember too that even then our hard times would still have been the envy of many other clubs.
So thank you to John Sowman for bringing history back to life in a brilliant book, Bob Wilson for his foreword and Untold Arsenal for their part in getting it published.'
18 February 2016
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