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Interview With Gary James, Football Historian and Author


While the Premier League continues to become more commercial with each passing year, there is I believe a resurgence in football supporters wanting to learn more about the history of this beautiful game (when it truly was beautiful and when corporations and television networks didn’t own it).

In the past few weeks, I’ve interviewed two wonderful minds who have brought you and I remarkable stories about the roots and history of football. And now I have a third interview to add to this collection. This one is with Gary James, football historian and author of several highly-recommended books about Manchester City.

While it’s so easy to get stuck in the daily grind of football punditry where talking heads discuss the short-term implications of refereeing decisions and how many points so and so team has (and believe me, there’s nothing wrong with that), my goal is to go outside those type of discussions and reach down deep inside to find, document and enrich our lives with the soul of football. I hope you’ll find that this interview succeeds in that regard and teaches you something about the real beautiful game as it did for me.

So, moving forward, I’ll continue to find more guests to interview to focus on the soul of football. These will appear on the EPL Talk Podcast in addition to the daily news and analysis (and interviews) that Kartik Krishnaiyer, Laurence McKenna and Stephen Darwin provide.

Back to today’s interview, Gary James is the guest interviewee as he dives into a whole host of fascinating topics such as:

  • Getting the record straight on the history of Manchester City and how they were founded,
  • The history of Manchester Central FC — the other team in Manchester other than City and United,
  • Who was the greatest ever English goalkeeper,
  • The stories about Bert Trautmann and what he’s famous for other than playing with a broken neck,
  • James’s memories of Maine Road and whether he misses the ground,
  • The answer to the big question — whether there are more City or United supporters inside Manchester,
  • Fascinating stories about the one-and-only Joe Mercer, who was a legend at Arsenal, Aston Villa and City,
  • And much more.

Whether you’re a City supporter or a fan of football, be sure to download this must-listen episode. And, when you have time, add your feedback about the episode in the comments section below. And to learn more about James’s book, visit his publisher’s website at

Before I go, I do want to say one thing. If you enjoy listening to this or any other episodes of the EPL Talk Podcast, please get the word out and let other soccer fans know how much you enjoy the podcast. Only through word of mouth and your concerted effort to tell people on message boards and comments (where appropriate) will the podcast grow. Just in the past few weeks, for example, we’ve brought you interviews with Robbie Earle, Martin Chivers, Simon Kuper, Joe Royle, Dotun Adebayo, Phil Cornwell and many more. Thanks in advance for getting the word out there to other soccer fans about the podcast.

Be sure not to miss a single episode of the EPL Talk Podcast, the only Premier League interview show on the Internet. We have a long list of high-profile guests scheduled over the next weeks each with their own fascinating stories to tell. Subscribe to the EPL Talk Podcast via iTunes or visit EPL Talk or the archives for the latest episodes.

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  1. Carver

    March 15, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Excellent Gary, keep up the good work

  2. shady

    March 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    very insightful interview. Great history insight and a must listen interview for any city fan or manchester historians for that matter

  3. Ben

    March 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Very good listen, some of the early history is fascinating. Credit to Gary for the research and in-depth information. Excellent

  4. eighthsin

    March 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Excellent interview – an insightful and interesting look at the clubs history.

  5. phil

    March 15, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Superb stuff Gary,i really enjoyed that,it’s a shame we couldn’t have kept Maine Rd as a 85,000 capacity stadium but seated.
    The early History of football supporters clubs is something that a lot of fans neglect & i’m sure the fans of a lot of the top clubs would be surprised about what they were like in their early years.

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