Book review: Arsenal - A Nostalgic Look at a Century of the Club

Last updated : 08 January 2010 By Brian Dawes

Given that the Mirror was founded in 1903 its coverage has clearly been more than adequate for such a volume.

This is a large format book so lends itself perfectly to plenty of pictures. Many of the photographs are excellent and include quite a large number not previously seen in alternative Arsenal histories. Some reproduced directly from newsprint might not have the ultimate quality desired but given that many double page spreads include two, three, four, five or even six pictures this isn't a set back. Newspaper clippings, ephemera, quotes, captions, the odd cartoon and a relatively brief historical outline of events pull the whole together in a pleasing manner. Part documentary, part scrapbook, part history it doesn't attempt to go into great depth but does succeed in picking up on some fine anecdotal material. There's also a smattering of kids in the street and a seriously weird ref in front on the marble halls type human interest pictures, which I could have lived without. Although it has to be said they all add to the general flavour that catches history of the club in context.

Henry Norris didn't rank as a legend in this work but instead features as 'Norris the Notorious'. It seems my belief that Norris should always be classified as an Arsenal legend, if only because he wound up the Tiny Totts more than any other Gooner before or since, has yet to gain popular ground. Those that did make it to legendary status for the earlier years of the Club include the likes of David jack, Alex James, Herbert Chapman, Cliff Bastin and the legends continue right through to the period that includes of David Seaman, Ian Wright, Wright, Wright and George Graham.

This is one of a series called 'When Football was Football' that also features such teams as United, Liverpool and the Tottenham but that really is superfluous information which you really won't care about. The publishers who produced this book are more famously known for the precise accuracy of their motor manuals, so its a shame that one of the many excellent photographic illustrations, in this case a double page colour item was printed in reverse in the edition that I'm currently viewing. Incidentally the author, Paul Joseph, was previously responsible for editing 'It's up for grabs now...' an entertaining and now very collectable piece of Arsenal memorabilia.

Hardback, 250 x 250mm, 208 pages, 220 colour illustrations

ARSENAL - A Nostalgic Look at a Century of the Club
Paul Joseph
Hardback £18.99
Published by Haynes Publishing

Available from most good bookstores but if they need to order it in make it easier for them by quoting this ISBN number: 978 1 844259 47 2. Also available from all your favourite online bookstores.