Can’t recall doing a book review on footyscene before and having recently written a Toffee book myself I can empathise entirely with the process, moreover the Author is a friend of both my Family and My Friends though I have never met him personally, just so everyone is on, ahem, the same page …
So then, Paul Gladwell’s The Scrapbook Years ; A Teenage Evertonian In The ’80’s is ostensibly a Labour Of Love in attempting to convey to his Son Jed, the passion yet also the up-and-inevitably-down methodology of being an actual go the game Toffee, as one thing Muza is – I’m going to refer to him in the vernacular from this point forwards, is an Evertonian. It screams from every page. Muza is 5 years younger than me but I was still a teenager in the ’80’s, though admittedly only it’s initial 3 years, while I particularly relate to the Shankly-Paisley years of torment which signify my personal Schooldays beyond early Middle School.
Another thing which immediately jumped out at me was his instant absorbtion in the Legend of Alan James Ball Jnr. via his Father’s influence and as someone whom later knew Bally, knows his Children and went to his Funeral and whom got it all from my own Father as little more than a Toddler, I can totally relate and the fact that Muza never got to actually see him play makes it even more laudable in my opinion as a method of illustrating how strong are those bonds, those stories passed on to us by our Families, in a book whose intended recipient was his own Boy, I loved it .
Being a Scrapbook Muza’s tome contains many images, snaps, quotations etc and while difficult to convey in prose, in effect they work because that is what this is supposed to be, snapshots of a time sadly gone and under-pinned with his own circumstances and personal Toffee journey. Some of the images took me back, those Season Tickets, Gerald MF Sinstadt an Kick-Off, the Programmes, the Clippings, the Tickets, and I actually did that Swinging To Them Windows at Wembley thing, Charity Shield 1987, so yeah, again nice .
The Social deterioration of both the Nation generally and region specifically of the period and the Music-Politics-Terrace Culture thing it spawned and through the eyes of a Youngun I was once more taken back to those times . As for the Terrace Tales they exist as anyone whom attended games then will attest, though as this is a Family site I shall not over-concentrate but again they are wholly legitimate in context and in truth.
Indeed Muza’s own Family suffered break-up as many did around those times- my own included, and it is the formulation of his own St. Domingo identity whist with a Single Mother and various Sibling’s and away from the Alan Ball Iconography on a daily basis which I found as interesting as anything in the book. He also includes reference’s, often quotes in fact from his own Mates, something I also did in my ebook as I found it gave depth to my recollections and to the re-telling of same. This Toffee shit is a Communal Exercise in essence and again I enjoyed those aspects.
Before Muza very kindly sent me a copy of The Scrapbook Years, I had heard Word-Of-Mouth reviews from Lads I consider Me Brothers and whom are approaching 45-50 years of active Toffeeism so I was kinna open to the concept from the off, yet I am glad that I have now read it for myself. Those times were indeed special ones, perhaps though let’s pray not, unique in the history of this fine Institution so to have the wide-eyed gob-smacked innocence of a Youth at that time and to be able to pass that directly, specifically to one’s own Child is, particularly when Jed is only yet 6 years old and by the time he grasps its significance the game they are both watching will have changed beyond all recognition, I feel, a beautiful thing.
Therefore, should you be looking for a(nother) book this Christmas and you feel you may enjoy a trip down our very own Golden Memory Lane I can recommend Paul Gladwell’s; The Scrapbook Years; A Teenage Evertonian In The ’80’s .