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March 24 , 2010

Get In There!: Tommy Lawton, My Friend, My Father


Tommy Lawton is England's greatest goalscorer. His record of 44 goals in 43 internationals is unsurpassed and in all he scored an astonishing 635 goals in his 731 game career playing for Burnley, Everton, Chelsea, Notts County, Brentford and Arsenal. Tall, handsome and as stong as an ox he was a national treasure and a true Boy's Own hero.But by the 70s Tommy's life was in ruins. Bankrupt, drinking heavily and on the dole after a succession of failed managerial posts and business ventures, the famous football legend faced jail after numerous court appearances. Withdrawn, depressed and out of love with football and life he came close to ending it all. In "Get In There!" - which Lawton would famously shout as the ball hit the back of the net from one of his bullet headers - his great friend, former Nottingham Evening Post editor, Barrie Williams, and his son, Tom Lawton Junior, have pieced together an exclusively personal account of Tommy Lawton's extraordinary life. Packed with wonderful memories and anecdotes, the book brings the story of Tommy Lawton, the footballer, to life: the poor working class background, the emerging talent, playing for Burnley aged 16, signing for Everton and practising headers for hours with the great Dixie Dean, starring in England's greatest ever attack with Stanley Matthews and Stan Mortensen. It also tells the moving, human story of Tommy Lawton, the man: how the idolised star's life descended into a cruel morass of debt, poverty, drink, shame and scandal before a chance encounter put him back on top, where he belonged. Beyond Tommy, the book encapsulates a footballing heyday when the stadiums were packed with working men straight from the factories and the players earned just a few pounds a week, smoked cigarettes at half-time and went on holiday to Blackpool if they were lucky. "Get In There!" is a fitting and very personal tribute to the great Tommy Lawton by two of the people who knew him best and a breautifully written trip down football's memory lane.

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