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GCR Books

GCR books for Summer 2014

Stuck in a Moment

gcr_books_apr_2014_stuck_in_a_moment___the_ballad_of_paul_vaessen_67.pngThe Ballad of Paul Vaessen

by Stewart Taylor

Foreword by Tony Adams

Publication date:
8th August 2014


About the Book

It was 22nd April 1980, the eve of the European Cup Winners' Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Juventus in Turin and Paul Vaessen had a dream, a dream in which he came off the bench to score the winning goal, silencing the Stadio Comunale and catapulting himself to overnight fame. The next day he lived the dream, heading in Graham Rix's cross with only seconds left to score one of the most memorable goals in Arsenal's illustrious history. It was Paul's moment, a moment of supreme elation, a moment he would spend the rest of his life trying to recapture. Because the dream would soon turn into a nightmare as, eight months after his exploits in northern Italy, Paul would suffer the knee injury which would eventually curtail his career at the age of twenty one.

Paul was on the scrapheap.

And he was poorly equipped for life without football. After a comeback with non-league Fisher Athletic was aborted, most job offers were too mundane for him to even contemplate. Nothing could give him anything like the buzz he was looking for. Nothing, that is, except drugs.

Paul would spend most of the following fifteen years battling drug addiction, eventually dying alone and anonymously in his Bristol flat in August 2001, a manic depressive and schizophrenic facing up to the likelihood of amputation. His knee caused him agony, a constant reminder of what he'd once been and how high he'd once flown. He told those close to him that he wouldn't make forty. He was thirty nine when he died.

There were, though, good times along the way, as we hear from former team-mates such as Liam Brady, Frank Stapleton, Alan Sunderland, Graham Rix, Brian Talbot, Brian McDermott and Kenny Sansom. Fellow apprentice, Nicky Law, relives the mischief of the early years and we meet Paul's school friends, teachers and family. But this is primarily a sombre tale, a tale of seduction and abandonment. Tony Adams, who has written the foreword for this book, is just one of many who have acknowledged the importance and relevance of this cautionary tale, the book having received the endorsement of both the Sporting Chance charity and the Professional Footballers' Association.

Every now and then, especially when Arsenal and Juventus are drawn together in competition, Paul's name crops up again. And so does that goal, that moment with which Paul will always be associated. The moment in which Paul Vaessen will always be stuck.

About the Author

Stewart Taylor's published work dates back to the mid-90s when he was an illustrator for the Arsenal fanzine, 'The Gooner'. His cartoon strip, 'I'll Be There When Jensen Scores', ran successfully until 31st December 1994 when Jensen, rather inconveniently, scored. His description of that event was published in 'Arsenal - Memories and Marble Halls', a collection of short stories published by David Sims in 2000. Stewart has since written for the official Arsenal Magazine and Backpass magazine for whom he wrote an article about Paul Vaessen in 2010. At that point Stewart was already two years into his research for 'Stuck in a Moment: The Ballad of Paul Vaessen', a project which has taken five years to come to fruition.

Stewart, an economics graduate and civil servant, has supported the Gunners since Cup Final day 1979 and is a self-confessed child of George Graham. He once proudly represented Arsenal as a Junior Gunner, playing in a 5-1 thrashing by the Junior Hammers. He is married to a very understanding wife and is determined that at least one of his three young sons will take up the Arsenal baton some time in the near future.

About GCR Books

GCR Books is an independent publisher of Arsenal related books. Founded in 2008 they republish old Arsenal classics as well as publishing new titles. Two of their republished books have been used by Arsenal FC for their supporter membership packs in recent seasons and most of their publications can be found in Arsenal's retail stores.

GCR Books currently has thirteen titles in print with more planned for 2014 and beyond.

For further information, or to request a review copy:
Please contact: Greg Adams email:


£18.99 • Hardback • 302 pages • 230x148mm
ISBN 10: 1909050067 • ISBN 13: 9781909050068