Book reviews

Everton: The Faith of our Families

Faith of our FamiliesFive years have passed since publication of my Everton Encyclopedia and nearly fifteen since Everton: The School of Science was written, says James Corbett.

Since the last book to carry my name on the cover I have collaborated with some of the most distinguished figures in the club’s history on their memoirs – Neville Southall, Howard Kendall, Dave Hickson and Bob Latchford. But after that work the time seems right to add another, more wide-ranging contribution to the club’s history.

Everton appear at a crossroads in their history and it’s a fascinating and fast moving time. The changes heighten the imperative to capture something more of Everton’s past before it transforms forever. But what else can be added?

Quite a lot as it happens.

In this new work I have set about telling the story of Everton Football Club in the voices of the people who made it the great institution we know today. I and my colleagues have interviewed just about every significant living figure in Everton’s history: a total of 180 people – players, managers, directors, chairman, officials, supporters – generating hundreds of hours of recordings and 2 millions words of transcripts. Never before has a study of any sporting institution benefited from so many original interviews. Allied to this is significant new research on Everton’s early years, utilising lost and long forgotten documentary sources.

The more people we spoke to, the more layers and stories we built, and the more possibilities opened. It was a little like building a football team and then having that magic realisation that you have something very special on your hands.  Our belief that Everton was ‘more than just a club’ was reaffirmed many times, and we show a complex institution that touches people’s lives in many different ways.

The resultant book, Faith of our Families, is what I believe, an unprecedented study of a football club, charting, over the duration of 500 pages, the inner workings and highs and lows of Everton Football Club, from its inception as a church team in 1878 to its position today as an aristocrat of the English game and one of the wealthiest clubs in the world.

The book is out on the 26 October, but as with previous works we have opened up a subscription for those who would like to have their names listed in the book’s appendix. This period is open until 8 September and comes with free UK and subsidised overseas postage.

In addition there is a special limited edition version of 250 numbered copies that are signed by Bob Latchford and Neville Southall, featuring an Archibald Leitch balustrade, which is laser cut into the wibalin book cover to reveal a blue flyleaf. This is an exquisite and unique collectible designed by the ever-brilliant Thomas Regan of ToffeeArt and is sure to sell out quickly.

I hope that Evertonians and all fans enjoy this work as much as we all enjoyed working on it. And I hope in years to come it is referred to as an essential part of every Evertonians library. I’m very confident it will be.

Best wishes

James Corbett

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