- An entirely original history of the most romantic club in football
- Many previously unpublished photographs
- Untold inside stories about the club and players
- More than a story about football – a book about a time and football culture
From the earliest days of West Ham United, the club sought competition outside the British Isles. In the mid-1960s, the Hammers, led by England captain Bobby Moore, won their way into top class competition in Europe to become the first side made up entirely of English players to win a major international trophy: the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965 at Wembley. Although this was to be the zenith of the team’s performance on the international stage, there were to be further exciting and intriguing campaigns and games.
Great goals, magnificent victories and defeats fought to the finish. However, this is more a story about places, people and times as West Ham went about breaking ground and hearts as the claret and blue adventurers rampaged across the continent. The boys from London’s East End were learning, teaching and developing a pedigree of football that was to be replicated, but without the pioneering magic the Irons engendered – a quality that could never be entirely reproduced. They nearly reached the sky while the rest followed.
This is the story of that glory in Brian Belton’s They Nearly Reached the Sky: West Ham United in Europe.
Emerging from the East London gang culture of the early 1970s, Brian Belton is a lifelong West Ham United supporter. After professionally qualifying in youth work, he gained a doctorate from the University of Kent and is currently a senior lecturer at the YMCA George Williams College in London. Belton has written close to eighty books as well as numerous articles and learned papers, spoken regularly at conferences and has appeared on radio and television.
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Extent: 176 pages
Illustrations: 40 black-and-white photographs