Readers could be forgiven for thinking I see the world largely through Spurs-tinted glasses, but my love of football is also drawn from finding expressions of devotion from fans of any team. The football writer David Goldblatt once described football clubs as the accumulated cultural capital of generations, of dreams, memories, community ties and family histories. Every club has these and, in an era when football clubs are marketed as an entertainment product, cold commodities rather than the living, breathing entities they were and still remain in the hearts of the fans whose devotion attracted the business gurus in the first place, it’s even more important that the folk roots of the game are preserved. Which is why I’ve been gripped by a book lent to me by a Crystal Palace-mad colleague.
Hy on Palace tells the tale of Hy Money, one of the first women to work succesfully in the male-dominated world of football sports photography. At nearly 400 pages long it’s an extensive pictorial record of 35 years of following Crystal Palace, a club with a history arguably more colourful than most. Published in 2005 by the Crystal Palace Fans Centenary Publishing project, it’s an engrossing, mostly monochrome record of an age of muddy pitches and crumbling stadiums, dodgy sideburns and dodgier-still glamour shoots – and one which reminds readers of the rich pedigree of players and characters who have passed through the Palace. In here you’ll find Geoff Thomas, Vince Hilaire, Malcolm Allison, Terry Venables, Ian Wright, Mark Bright, Peter Taylor, Gerry Francis, Kenny Sansom, Dave Swindlehurst… The list goes on, and all recorded by a woman who was a pretty remarkable character in her own right. Continue reading