> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 2 June 2016
  • ISBN: 9781473540996
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 464

Fifty Years of Hurt

The Story of England Football and Why We Never Stop Believing

The nation's top football writer with an agenda-changing book on where England football went wrong after winning the World Cup in 1966, and how to put it right.

'England invented football, codified it, became champions of the world in 1966 but humiliatingly then forgot how to play the greatest game of all. England took their eye off a ball they arrogantly thought they owned, allowing other nations to run off with it.'

It was Fifty Years of Hurt from when Bobby Moore lifted the World Cup trophy at Wembley to arguably the nadir of the national game - defeat by Iceland at Euro 2016 and the most botched managerial appointment in FA history. In this groundbreaking book, a Sunday Times bestseller, Henry Winter addresses the state England are in as they celebrate, or rather not, the golden anniversary of their greatest moment. Part lament, part anatomy of an obsession, both personal and collective, it analyses the truth behind the endless excuses, apportions the blame for the crimes against English football, but is also a search for hope and solutions.

As well as players and managers, Henry Winter talks to the fans, to agents, to officials, to the governing bodies, about every aspect, good and bad, of English football over the past five decades to provide answers to the question: 'where did it all go wrong?'. It is a passionate journey by a writer with vast personal insight into the national team, with unprecedented access to all areas of the game, but also by a fan who wants his England back. The Fifty Years of Hurt must end.

  • Pub date: 2 June 2016
  • ISBN: 9781473540996
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 464

About the Author

Henry Winter

Henry Winter is the Chief Football Writer of The Times and a five-time winner at the Sports Journalists' Association awards.

He loves the England national team with a passion that borders on masoschism and has covered every one of their games from Wembley to Beijing, Chicago to Rio over the past twenty-two years, as well as seven World Cups. Along with Wayne Rooney and Roy Hodgson, he also has the third English vote for the Ballon d'Or award for the world's best player.

Praise for Fifty Years of Hurt

“Powerful... Winter feels the pain as acutely as any ordinary fan. He also has a mischievous turn of phrase. The quips, however, don't dilute the serious issues he raises. It's a horribly sobering, as well as a revealing and entertaining read.”

The Times

“A wholly original work on arguably the biggest topic in football. Winter has a wonderful turn of phrase and his skilful hand is necessary because the subject matter is so well known. The recontextualisation of the past as a means to understand the present is this book’s gift. Winter is justifiably proud of his attendance at every England match since 1993, and his asides, observations and anecdotes are what elevate this above other accounts of the Three Lions. History suggests that Winter's tale is likely to remain relevant for years to come.”


“Deeply felt, highly readable and enjoyable.”

When Saturday Comes

“Elegaic... Winter's excellent contacts have brought him interviews with key players.”


“This is an utterly fascinating, moving and very dramatic book. Great footballing heroes past and present leap from the pages. Never has the beautiful game been more beautifully written about.”

Jilly Cooper

Related titles