A new book all about the only FA Cup Final to be played during wartime will soon be published. Written by Matthew Bell (who co-authored Fit and Proper?: Conflicts and Conscience in an English Football Club) it tells the story of how Sheffield United and Chelsea reached the 1915 FA Final amidst the chaos of a world at war.
"When, on April 24th 1915, Sheffield United captain George Utley lifted the FA Cup, it brought to a close one of the most controversial football seasons in history. The same day, thousands of allied troops were killed or injured in a German poison gas attack near Ypres.
I’ve recently finished reading what for me is most definitely the football book of the year. 32 Programmes by Dave Roberts is a fascinating & evocative tale of love, life and obsession. When the author relocates to the USA, his wife informs him that they can only take what is ‘absolutely essential’. Packing his collection of 1000+ (1,134 to be precise - football fans are sticklers for statistics) football programmes he is aghast to be informed that the programmes do not fall into that category. He must whittle down his treasured archive to just 32 programmes, the amount that will fit into a paperback sized plastic container.
I am honoured to say that the author of this wonderful book has agreed to write one more chapter for the book, on the programme that almost made it .. but not quite. Over to Dave as he takes up the tale of programme 33 ..