Gordon Dinnis loved to read books, in particular books about sport. He loved football books, books about cricket, boxing and biographies of sportsmen. I was a child in the late 1960s and I remember him sitting in his battered old armchair, cigarette in one hand, book in the other, with his bookcase beside him. It was his corner of the room, I never realised that until I thought about it just now. There was a whole room but he had his own space. His chair, his bookcase, his bureau where he kept all his financial papers, and a small coffee table with an ashtray heaped with old smoked out cigarette ends. Above his head the ceiling was yellow, the rest of the ceiling was white. I inherited the bureau, that was almost twelve years ago but if I open it and smell inside I can still smell the cigarettes and that makes me smile.
I kept one or two of his books, football books with a Brighton & Hove Albion interest. They were published around 1946, there were three in the series but he only had the second and third. I believe the first title to be ‘Soccer – The Ace Of Games’. At that time Gordon would have been in Italy, recovering at a re-allocation centre and then working in the Royal Army Pay Corps.
I was surprised to see the book titles, it seems strange seeing the word ‘Soccer’ and not ‘Football’. The author Alec E. Whitcher was obviously a fan of Brighton & Hove Albion, as ‘Profits from the sale of this book will be devoted to the funds of the Brighton & Hove Albion F.C.’ I’m sure he would have loved our recent 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace, as in his preamble he writes ” After the Brighton team have won an important match, my excitement is such that for two or three days following I am as stiff in the leg muscles as if I had played a hard game! These encounters are the spice of life to me.”
I have scanned some pages below, I thought it was an interesting chapter about the ‘Gold Stone’, although of course it’s very sad the Goldstone Ground is no longer there.