I think I was about 12 or 13 when I was given The Boy’s Companion – A Book For Every Boy. My copy disappeared half a century ago but I have managed to get hold of what I think is the same edition from 1962.It’s a book from a bygone age, with chapters on sports and hobbies, but also on motoring (?), shooting, wrestling, putting on a play, bird watching, and metalwork (including how to make a bird-cage!). The four colour plates in the book are titled British Bird’s Eggs, British Birds, British Butterflies, and International Code of Flag Signals!
However I was only really interested in the chapters on football and card games. As a kid all I wanted to do was kick a ball around, and between the ages of 9 and 14 this is probably all I did in my spare time.
The extract on the left, taken from the chapter on ‘association football’ (as the book calls it), shows the type of boots worn at the time. I had a second-hand pair that didn’t have studs and were intended for use indoors and on hard surfaces. I guess my mum got them cheap somewhere and that they were all she could afford. Eventually she was able to buy me a new, sleeker pair – with screw-in studs!