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Mon November 28th 2022 



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Mark Hodkinson - The Longest Winter

The Longest Winter

Mark Hodkinson

Pub. by Pitch August 2022
ISBN 9781801501576



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In 1973-74, Britain was in meltdown. The Arab-Israeli War had sent energy prices soaring. Petrol was scarce. Offices were limited to a temperature of 17C and power cuts were frequent. A three-day working week came in as inflation took hold and miners and other workers went on strike.

The northern mill town of Rochdale suffered more than most. Its cotton industry was on shut-down in the face of cheap imports, and the football team was a mirror image of the town – tired, defeated, clinging to life.

The Rochdale team of 1973-74 is considered the worst to play in the Football League. They finished bottom of the third division, winning just twice in 46 league matches. They closed the season with a 22-game winless run and played one home match in front of the lowest-ever post-war crowd. That season 32 players turned out for the team, many of them drafted in from amateur or Sunday league clubs.

The Longest Winter is as much an intimate and forensic documentary in the Storyville mode as it is a sports book. It evokes the smells, textures and moods of the early 1970s.

 

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