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Mr. Shankley's Photograph: A Journey from the Kop to the Cavern

By Stephen Kelly


Mr Shankly’s Photograph offers a further example of the scope and nature of the sports journalists’ portfolio of work. In this case it is a fictional work with a number of popular cultural strands at the core of the work, including football, industrial society and music. It is essentially part of a new genre which began with Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch in 1990 aimed at capturing the emotions and drama of football in a contextual and fictionalised form. But if Fever Pitch is essentially a southern and middle class account of fandom during the 1980s, Mr Shankly’s Photograph concentrates on a northern and industrial experience in an earlier time. It examines the role of football and music in Liverpool during the 1960s against an uncertain political and industrial background. The book relies heavily on the author’s own experiences of working in a shipyard and being involved in industrial activities as well as his involvement in youth culture. Drawing on such experiences through observation is an essential part of the journalists’ creative role and by using the technique of a fictional account the journalist is able to relay these experiences to a wider audience. It is also an important part of the development of a professional practice. The fictional craft of the journalist is often overlooked yet is an essential aspect of journalism. By drawing on such rich past experiences the journalist is able to relay the culture of the period so that it becomes required reading for those interested in social change and the culture of a particular era. It was nominated for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Prize and received critical praise. It has contributed towards developing the genre of sports writing and establishing sports writing as an important aspect of journalism

Topics: PR
Publisher: Robson Books
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