Published by:
Pitch Publishing
9 Donnington Park, 85 Birdham Road,
Chichester, West Sussex PO20 7AJ


Copies can be purchased from:

Pages: 318

MRP: £18.99


Matthew Appleby has written a book on New Zealand's Test Captains as well as many journalistic articles on cricket and books on other subjects. His latest book is a different take on being a cricket fan and one which will appeal to many people such as myself, namely that it is on the subject of collecting. There are many of us.
It did not take me long to realise that I had actually dealt with and was extremely grateful to the book's subject, Matthew's father, Edgar Appleby. My gratitude to Edgar was due to my having great difficulty in securing one edition of the Indian Cricket Annual which would allow me to complete a full set. I will never manage a full set of Wisdens and, after buying copies through a collector and many in India, I was being stumped by, I think, the 1993 edition. It was Edgar Appleby who managed to supply me with the missing link and secure the full set for me. Matthew's reminiscences of his father ring out and my more modest recollection of Edgar extends to receiving a very nice letter from him along with the prized possession. I am sure that I still have the letter too.
In this book of extensive memories on his father and on the subject of collecting, it is delightful to read of events which many of us who collect cricket books and cricketana will relate to. How cricket was watched live also is interesting.
Edgar was also quite a local celebrity in Cumbria after a career in the Royal Navy. Cumbria may be known more for its scenic beauty rather than its cricket but one such cricketer who fell into the Appleby orbit was former England wicket-keeper, Paul Nixon, who has written a charming foreword.
I am pleased to see that one of Matthew's childhood heroes was Sir Geoffrey Boycott. Matthew was lucky enough to be one of those at Headingley in 1981, if not on the frantic final two days.
The book charts how Edgar, often referred to as just Appleby, became involved in book selling. Reading about it shows his devotion, love of the game and his remarkable knowledge on subjects not just about cricket. The fifty artefacts mentioned include books, autographs, programmes, T-shirts, ties and is likely the envy of many of us who enjoy cricket collecting. Edgar Appleby was enough of a celebrity - and outside of Cumbria where he was a regular MC at events - to be mentioned in the Wisden obituaries after his death aged 84 in 2015.
Matthew's observations on Wisdens are interesting and I suspect that I have failed in one of the prerequisites: condition. He writes knowledgeably, as may be expected, and one can learn much about the art of collecting, both as buyer and seller. Hence, my run from the end of World War II to the present day is something of which I am proud but the condition of a few shows that I did not spend as much on them as I might.
Cricket throws up many interesting characters and some are mentioned in How To Be a Cricket Fan including stalwart county spectators and others who "collect" cricket grounds as spectators. There are those who collect playing at grounds too. It is part of the rich tapestry that the game has the ability to throw up and this memoir about Edgar Appleby is most enjoyable.