by Howard Gayle - £16.99 deCoubertin Books (2016)
hardback ISBN 13: 9781909245396 | ISBN 10: 1909245399
In April 1981, Howard Gayle was summoned from the substitutes’ bench and sent on to play for Liverpool in the second leg of a European Cup semi-final at German champions Bayern Munich.
The previous October, by filling the same role at Manchester City, he became the first black footballer in Liverpool’s 89-year history to play at first team level.
Gayle’s Liverpool career proved to be short. He would pull on the red shirt only five times in total, scoring once.
Yet he is remembered as a trailblazer. In 61 Minutes in Munich, Gayle takes you inside his life: bringing the shutters down on a childhood spent between Toxteth and Norris Green, two contrasting areas of Liverpool. He details life on the streets, the racism, the other forms of abuse, of which he has only told a handful of people before, and his ascent from teenage football hooligan to a player with Europe’s leading club.
Gayle explains what it was like to be a black man with a sense of insecurity inside a Liverpool dressing room at the most successful point in the club’s history, a place where only the strongest survived.
In Munich, Gayle ran Bayern’s defenders ragged and is credited by many as the catalyst for Liverpool’s progression to the final. And yet, by being substituted after 61 minutes on the pitch, he reveals his dismay at never being trusted to keep his cool in the most tense of environments.
Gayle takes you to Newcastle, to Birmingham City, to Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers. He takes you back his modest home in the south end of Liverpool where it all began.
Part social-history, part-autobiography, 61 Minutes in Munich is an exposition of life in the city of Liverpool during one of the most turbulent periods in its history. Above all it examines how a pioneer like Gayle has been up against it from the moment he was born.
(Price & availability last checked: November 2016)
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In booklists: Football, Black, Asian and Middle Eastern Biography and Autobiography, Liverpool FC, Sports and Politics / Activism, Biography and Autobiography, Local Lives: Liverpool, Black & Asian Liverpool, In categories: Health & Wellbeing, History & Biography, World - Asia, Black, Asian & Other Diasporas, Local Interest, Changing the World,