Sep 13th, 2010 by 'holic
If ever there was a book with the potential to match Tony Adams’ Addicted for highlighting the perils that can lie in wait for young and old professionals alike, then this was it. Peter Storey, controversial in his playing days for the destructive side of his game, was to court further infamy when he retired from a career that included over five hundred appearances for his beloved Gunners, and nineteen England caps.
True Storey is a chronological account of his life to date, and so the temptation is large to head straight for the later chapters that detail Snouty’s departure from Arsenal and his subsequent spells behind bars, in more than one sense. Resist the urge. Follow the path of the young defender from near Aldershot through the Arsenal third team to the European Fairs Cup and double.
It is under the direction of Bertie Mee and Don Howe that he is given specific man-marking details, and told “You know what to do, Peter”, and Storey confesses that he gets on with the task ‘to the very best of his ability’. Right up to the eighties the most successful sides would employ players for whom ‘ball-winning’ was their primary function. ‘Ball-winning’ covered a multitude of sins, and few knew the dark arts better than the man called ‘the bastard’s bastard’ by Ron Harris, Chelsea’s own enforcer of the period.
As you read though, do remind yourself that nineteen international caps would not have been won unless the fella could play a bit. Competition for the England number two shirt was fierce at that time, with the likes of Keith Newton, Paul Reaney, Chris Lawler, and Cyril Knowles around. Storey’s qualities were always greater than just physical.
Gooners of the time will be surprised, I suspect, by his friendship with England team-mate, and North London rival, Martin Chivers. Those who saw the early break-up of that great double-winning side may find familiar sentiments when Peter talks of the departure of Don Howe and arrival of Alan Ball.
After his playing days are over the book takes another couple of twists. Well reported at the time, it is interesting, to say the least, to finally get Storey’s take on his colurful brushes with the law. There are not too many top footballers of today who will need to go into the pub business at the end of their playing days, and be exposed to the sort of people who were attracted to the Jolly Farmers. Their influence on the landlord is clear for all to see.
For Gooners of my era, the book is essential reading. The highs and lows of the sixties and seventies are brought to life all over again. Younger football fans will, I’m sure be fascinated by the accounts of just how different football was in those days, from the physical encounters to the small beer that salaries and benefits would be considered today.
If you enjoyed the Tony Adams book, then get this one too, and put a few bob in the pocket of a man who never gave less than his all for Arsenal.
A reminder, if it is needed, that I have a copy of the book, courtesy of Mainstream Publishing, for one lucky holic. To be in with a chance of winning just tell me how many goals Peter scored in his 501 appearances for the Gunners. Send your answer and a contact email to email@example.com before midnight tonight. I will do the draw tomorrow.
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