Player profile: About Gary Thacker


This is the website of the author and football journalist, Gary Thacker – Amazon Author Page =

Gary is an author and journalist who writes for numerous magazines and websites, and has lived in Spain since 2018. His work has featured in The Guardian Sports Network and the Spanish press, writing a weekly La Liga column for a popular English-language newspaper.

Gary was shortlisted for ‘Blogger of the Year’ by the FSF in 2017, and has guested on BBC and talkSPORT radio. A member of These Football Times’ senior leadership team, he also features on a number of their ‘The Lob’ podcasts. The hugely popular and long-running ‘Political Football’ and ‘South America Files’ series, along with ‘Football’s Mount Rushmore’ and ‘The Final Word’ were all Gary’s creations.

To date, Gary has written seven books. Six are listed on the ‘Books’ tab above. The seventh, his first book, was written under the pen name of All Blue Daze, and can be found by typing “All Blue Daze” into the Amazon books search option.

Find Gary on Twitter @All_Blue_Daze


Twitter books1 (2)

Summary of published books:

“Dutch Masters – When Ajax’s Totaalvoetbal Conquered Europe” (Published May 2023)

Across the history of football, a select group of teams have achieved iconic status. Sometimes it’s through sheer success. For others, their stature is built by star performers. On occasions, it’s because a team has gifted a new way of playing to the world. Most rarely it’s because of all three.

The Ajax teams that conquered Europe with their enthralling ‘totaalvoetbal’ are one of those rare cases. Those Dutch artists used the pitch as their canvas, the skills of the players provided a palette of gloriously bright colours and their totaalvoetbal inspired the brushstrokes that delivered masterpieces of football creativity.

The Dutch Masters is the entrancing tale of how that iconic white shirt with a broad red band down its centre not only became synonymous with the beautiful game of totaalvoetbal, but also symbolised the success of the club that created a new paradigm of play. It’s the story of how Ajax came to dominate the European game as the epitome of footballing perfection.

Available to order from this link:


“Out of the Blue – Chelsea’s unlikely Champions League triumph” (Published June 2022)

By early 2012, it was clear that the appointment of Andre Villas-Boas as head coach at Chelsea was not going to deliver the required success. Any hopes of him being ‘Mourinho mark II’ had disappeared along
with all talk of his unlamented ‘project’. With a squad disillusioned and uninspired, the club was spiralling towards its worst season for a decade.
On 4 March, Villas-Boas was dismissed, with his former assistant Roberto Di Matteo made interim head coach until the end of the season. Struggling domestically, and with their place in the Champions League in peril, it was an appointment designed to make the best of things until a permanent replacement could be sought in the summer.
Instead, Chelsea embarked on a run of performances that not only led to an FA Cup triumph, but resurrected their European hopes with improbable victories over Napoli, Benfica and Guardiola’s
all-conquering Barcelona in two drama-filled games before, against all odds, winning the Champions League by defeating Bayern Munich in their own stadium. This is the story of a triumph that came Out of the Blue.

Available to order from this link:


“Beautiful Bridesmaids Dressed in Oranje: The Unfulfilled glory of Dutch Football” (Published June 2021)

Beautiful Bridesmaids Dressed in Oranje: The Unfulfilled Glory of Dutch Football is the story of a dazzling football dream. Built on the club successes of Ajax and Feyenoord, it’s a utopian ideal that blazed with a bright but ephemeral Oranje flame, scorching the football pitches of the world in the 1970s. Although Dutch clubs dominated the European Cup from 1969 to 1973, until 1974 the Oranje had failed to qualify for a World Cup for 36 years. Two finals then followed in successive tournaments, as ‘totaalvoetbal’ burst from its chrysalis, proudly revealing to the world its wings adorned with vivid shades of Oranje. The winners were the brides. It was their day, but the Dutch sides were more beautiful, yet so fragile, and football loved them for it. This isn’t merely a tale of bridesmaids who came so close yet failed gloriously. It is the celebration of a footballing counter-culture, a revolution, a flame that burned so brightly, but so briefly. It’s the story of those Beautiful Bridesmaids Dressed in Oranje.

Available to order from this link:


“A Whole New Ball Game” (Published November 2021).

‘A Whole New Ball Game’ is the sequel to ‘The Games People Play’ (see below). At the end of the previous book, life had given aspiring manager John Moreton a good kicking, and he was heading for the plane home. He had failed to get his Spanish club, CD Retama, promoted and they looked set to fold. Sophia, his girlfriend/assistant coach, had left him, believing that he had conspired in the club’s demise. As for his one-timer friend Billy Swan, he was even more rock-bottom, having succumbed to blackmail and sold out his mates. In this much-anticipated sequel, will things take  turn for the better for Moreton? Will he cope back in England without Sophia?  Will Swan turn up again like a bad penny? Has the Spain chapter of his life closed, or can anything be salvaged? Expect a few twists in the tale, a few more jinking runs into the box and last-ditch winning goals. It’s A Whole New Ball Game! 

Available to order from this link:


“The Games People Play” (Published October 2020).

This book marked Gary’s first journey into fiction writing – Jon Moreton would have made it to the top-flight as a player: he had the mentality and ability, but his body let him down. An old friend Charlie Broome comes to the rescue and gives him a break: managing the struggling Spanish amateur league side CD Retama. Feathers are ruffled: he is mistrusted by the players and stand-in coach, Sophia Garrigues. Can he adapt to life in Spain and turn things around? Plenty of twists and turns through the season in this tale of football, love, and betrayal.

“The Games People Play” can be ordered using this link:


“Cheers, Tears & Jeers – A History of England and the World Cup” (Published April 2018).

Winning the World Cup in 1966 was the high watermark in the history of the England national football team. Both before and after The Day, however, the Three Lions have a chequered history in the world’s biggest footballing event. This book seeks to chart a path through that history, stopping for contemplation at various points on the way. It’s a journey full of highs and lows, with memories both golden and tarnished, and an occasional dip into some iconic games and events where England weren’t involved. Completed ahead of the World Cup Finals of 2018, the book offers an account of the story up until that event. What shaped England’s fare in Russia? Opinions will vary, but perhaps a review of the history up until that time may give an indication as to why it turned out as it did. It’s a tale of smiles and frowns, of joys and sorrow, and indeed of Cheers, Tears and Jeers. It’s the history of England and the World Cup. 

“Cheers, Tears & Jeers – A History of England and the World Cup” can be ordered using this link:


“I Don’t Even Smoke! – A brief history of life, love and football through blue-tinted glasses. Oh yes, and a cigar.” (Published January 2016).

Football has always been a strong element in my life. From very early days, right through six decades of being in love with the beautiful game, it has touched the most important moments for me. Of life and of love. For me, football is not just the background music though. It’s a strident theme tune; at one and the same time both alluring and demanding, strident and compelling. It’s that song you can’t get out of your head, not least because you don’t want to. If you’re looking for a real-life read about life, love and football, please forgive me for recommending this book to you. It’s at sometimes sad, at others funny – at least I hope so! – but always honest. As a Chelsea fan, I freely acknowledge its leaning towards the blue, but that’s just because my experiences are tinted with that colour. Chelsea fans would probably be able to identify with most of the events and emotions I experienced, but even if you’re attached to another club, I’m sure you’ll feel an empathy with the way the ‘beautiful game’ paints pictures in your life.

“I Don’t Even Smoke! – A brief history of life, love and football through blue-tinted glasses. Oh yes, and a cigar” can be ordered using this link:


For more details on Gary’s work away from this website, visit

Also follow All Blue Daze on Twitter: @all_blue_daze.


All Blue Daze acknowledges that many of the articles on the site are enhanced by the use of appropriate photographs, but we do not know who shot them. May we however offer a big thank you to the many great photographers out there who unfortunately remain unnamed.


2 responses

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    1. Hi Caleb.

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