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Behind The Glory: 100 Years of the PFA

John Harding

It is hard now to image that for much of the game’s history the life of the professional footballer was one of constant insecurity.  There was the continual threat of injury, fear that his annual contract would not be renewed, and the knowledge that someone more able would come along to take his place.  Players also suffered from the ‘retain and transfer’ system, which gave his club virtually complete control over his career.  Once signed, having collected a maximum fee of £10, the player became the property of the club, and could not be transferred except with the club’s permission.    The player’s only right under this system was to refuse to go to a team to which he was being transferred, but this could result in the loss of wages and a bad reputation.   

Behind The Glory is the story of how the Players’ Union – the Professional footballers’ Association – played such a crucial role in transforming the prospects of the professional footballer. It takes the reader from the formation of the PFA in 1907  its work which overturned the maximum wage during the 1960s and the Association's policies and objectives in the present day. At first devoted to securing for all professionals their basic rights and freedoms, the PFA has gone on to play a major role in shaping the development of the nation’s favourite game.

Behind The Glory! is also the story of great football characters — pre-1st World War stars like Billy Meredith, Charlie Roberts and Colin Veitch; interwar legends such as Charles Buchan and Jimmy Fay; post war stalwarts like Jimmy Guthrie, Joe Mercer and Cliff Lloyd; plus modern innovators such as Jimmy Hill, Derek Dougan and Gordon Taylor. All of these and many, many more have played crucial parts in the PFA’s long and fascinating battle against the odds, a battle that continues today as our national sport struggles to come to terms with the conflicting demands of rampant international commercialism and loyalty to the game’s local roots.

Lavishly illustrated with contemporary photographs and newspaper cuttings this book provides a fascinating account of the rise of the professional footballer from local to national hero.  A great read. 

To order a copy of this book why not visit Breedon Books website at www.breedonbooks.co.uk