Book Review: The Illustrated History of Football - Hall of Fame



As a youth getting the Scottish Football Book, Playing For Celtic and Oor Wullie annuals were as much a part of Christmas as the Morecambe & Wise Show and the faint whiff of ammonia from an elderly Aunt. The book at Christmas tradition still exists with certain types of books released to hopefully take advantage of this market. Cynical, yes, but if it means that the work of David Squires finds as big an audience as possible then I'm wholeheartedly in favour. David's cartoons appear every Tuesday on the Guardian website and you have probably seen them retweeted multiple times into your timeline within minutes of them going live on the site His second book “The Illustrated History Of Football Hall of Fame” is released on today and follows the format of his hugely successful debut “ The Illustrated History Of Football”. This book focuses on people who have contributed to making football the greatest game on earth, the great players, the great managers, the great innovators and , lest we forget, the batshit mentalists. Each entrant into David's hall of fame gets his own page, with a brief outline of how they have earned their place in the book and these are both interesting and bloody funny. Then we get to enjoy David's real talent, a cartoon detailing his view of their life and career. It should be said that these are not entirely accurate representations of their lives more an effort to capture their “essence”. For example the idea that Garrincha and his ,erm..childhood chum, the family goat, would appear on Jeremy Kyle show somehow makes sense. (If you don't know the story Google 'Garrincha, Childhood and Goat' then make a contribution to the RSPCA) . It's very hard to pick a highlight I reckon every cartoon has at least one hearty chortle frame. The father who leaves the ground ten minutes early with his kids being portrayed as worse than Hitler was responsible for a head turning splutter when I was reading it on the tram into work . Another depicting a fat arsed Kenny Dalglish vaulting an advertising hoarding to the approval of The Fonz has a certain logic to it, trust me. I must mention that the Bobby Charlton strip has a very poignant depiction of his post Munich grief. It bizarrely made me warm to a man whom I had previously filed under “bland” and had me thinking what guilt he must have carried with him his whole career. The detail in the drawings and background jokes mean that the book does stand up to repeated readings. In fact his first book actually lives in my bathroom where it is a perfect companion when I take my ease. There's a real joy to be had in discovering the jokes that you missed the first and even second time you read them. I can only suggest that you drop a hint or two to your nearest and dearest that Hall Of Fame appearing in your stocking would be welcome and one thing I can guarantee is that it will add an extra dimension to the legendary Boxing Day 'sit down'