After reading Alan Tanner’s report on Fulham’s defeat by Ipswich I perused that of Brian Glanville in The Sunday Times on that game. It made much the same points as Alan: players picked put of place, poor defending, lack of width. I then turned to another Sunday sports section and all there was by way of a report was a long quote from Mick Macarthy ,the Ipswich manager and a brief reference to the score and goal scorers. It’s quite possible that it was the work of a sub-editor who was not even there. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of a remarkable life is that Brian is 86, still going to matches, and contributing as a journalist. Sadly Brian is outside the pack of soccer writers. He worked abroad in Italy for over 10 years for Corriere dello Sport, he was a scriptwriter for That Was The Week That Was and author of many books, the first of which – on his hero Cliff Bastin – he wrote as stripling of 18 years still at Charterhouse school. For many years he ran a soccer park side called The Chelsea Casuals, for which Brian was – how does one put this politely? – a tough tackling full back.
It reflects the press that he is not the doyen of football writers. He is an acerbic critic of the game. His knowledge of the Italian football exceeds the totality of all the other writers. When James Inverdale presented an excellent programme on Italian football at 11 every Satuday called if my memory serves right Gazzetta Italia, Brian’s compendious knowledge was resourced in series of entertaining interviews at a pizzeria. This was the ealry 90s when Paul Gascoigne, Des Walker and David Platt followed the path of Jimmy Greaves, Denis Law, Joe Baker, Trevor Francis and Liam Brady in playing in the Serie A for big outfits. At around the time the Viola Club di Londra was formed and Stefano recalled Brian at one of their gatherings Brian holding forth as ever to the Fiorentina historian on the Viola. Twenty years on he is till plying his craft with copy that would not disgrace writers 50 years his junior.