Story of the golden boys joins worthy list
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