Story of the golden boys joins wor­thy list

Burton Mail - - Sport -

Seoul Glow: The Story Be­hind Great Bri­tain’s 1988 Hockey Gold, by Rod Gil­mour

“BRI­TISH sport in the 1980s saw Torvill and Dean, Bob Cham­pion tri­umph­ing over can­cer to win the Grand Na­tional, Ian Botham’s Ashes, Liver­pool’s hour in Rome, Da­ley Thomp­son’s de­cathlon gold, Desert Or­chid’s Gold Cup vic­tory and Barry McGuigan’s feath­er­weight hero­ics. GB hockey’s 1988 [Olympic] gold is cer­tainly part of this il­lus­tri­ous list.”

Some ob­servers may feel that by group­ing Bri­tain’s his­toric 1988 hockey gold with very spe­cial mem­o­ries seared into the na­tion’s sport­ing psy­che that Rod Gil­mour’s pro­logue to the hugely en­joy­able Seoul Glow is a lit­tle OTT.

How­ever, as we re­cently cel­e­brated the 30th an­niver­sary of a most im­prob­a­ble hockey vic­tory in South Korea, this would be grossly un­fair.

Prior to de­part­ing for south-east Asia, the Bri­tish team were given lit­tle chance of suc­cess but, fol­low­ing Sean Kerly’s semi-fi­nal hero­ics, mil­lions of peo­ple who had no pre­vi­ous in­ter­est in hockey tuned in to watch the fi­nal against West Ger­many.

Com­men­ta­tor Barry Davies, whose en­thu­si­asm for the sport was in­fec­tious and re­spon­si­ble for at­tract­ing so many of us to watch at some un­godly hour of the morn­ing, ut­tered one of sport’s great­est (and most sat­is­fy­ing) lines: “But where were the Ger­mans? But, frankly, who cares?”

Rod Gil­mour builds this Boys Own story from scratch, de­tail­ing how Bri­tain’s squad was assembled un­der the watch­ful eye of no-non­sense coach Roger Self.

That Self could suc­cess­fully cre­ate a na­tional team ca­pa­ble of win­ning Olympic gold ef­fec­tively an­swers the ques­tion posed by doubters re­gard­ing the right of the 1988 side to be brack­eted with Thomp­son, Botham et al as sport­ing icons. ■■ Sports­bookofthe­month.com price: £11.97, sav­ing £8.02 on rrp

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