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Football Books: News and Reviews


Archive for August, 2011


The Complete Centre Forward: The Story of Tommy Lawton 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

The Complete Centre Forward: The Story of Tommy Lawton, by David McVay and Andy Smith (2000)

This book chronicles Lawton’s days from his birth in the back streets of Bolton to being signed at 17 by Everton to replace the legendary Dixie Dean.

Next he went to Chelsea, where after a falling-out he ended up, astonishingly, with Notts County, a Third Division club, despite being in his prime. Then came Brentford and finally Arsenal, the club who tried to sign him as a teenager. The book also touches on the darker side of Lawton’s life. The court appearance for passing dud cheques, his failed marriage and the dodging of bailiffs before he was re-discovered as a pundit and journalist.

Tommy Lawton died in 1996 but he lives in the memory of all the fans who idolised him. The authors David McVay and Andy Smith, were among the latter, although they never saw him in his prime. They spoke to Lawton on several occasions and received his full co-operation. They also traced many of his contemporaries, who provided a fascinating insight into the pre-and post-war football.

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The Doc: My Story – Hallowed Be Thy Game, by Tommy Docherty 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

The Doc: My Story – Hallowed Be Thy Game, by Tommy Docherty (2006)

‘The Doc’ is one of the most colourful characters in football. Always outspoken and honest, headlines have followed him throughout his career.

He achieved success on the pitch with Preston and Scotland, but it is as a manager that he secured his place in football history. The remark that he has had more clubs than Jack Nicklaus cannot be disputed: 14 teams in four different countries. He resigned from Chelsea; he was sacked by Manchester United within two weeks of winning the 1977 FA Cup and at Derby he became embroiled in a bitter legal dispute. Docherty tells all about his life in football and those he has shared it with – including Shankly, Busby, Clough, Ramsey and Stein.

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Terry Butcher: My Autobiography 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Terry Butcher: My Autobiography (2005)

Terry Butcher is a name that resonates with all football fans of a certain age, instantly bringing to mind the pictures of the giant central defender, fists clenched, bloody head bandaged, his once white England shirt streaked with claret.

Butcher has earned his stripes and his reputation over the years not only as an honest and committed footballer but also as a broadcaster who says it exactly as he finds it and a manager who never asks for more or less than 100% from his players. This autobiography chronicles – with candour and a great sense of fun – Butcher’s playing days with Ipswich and England before his momentous move to Scotland where he led a rampant Rangers side to just about every domestic prize.

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Tappy: From Barry Town to Arsenal, Cardiff City and Beyond 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Tappy: From Barry Town to Arsenal, Cardiff City and Beyond, by Derek Tapscott and Terry Grandin (2004)

In April 1954, Derek “Tappy” Tapscott pulled on his Arsenal shirt, made his first-team debut against Liverpool, scored two goals and signalled the start of an extraordinary career.

He tells his life story in an engaging style – growing up in Barry with 15 brothers and sisters, his early days as a forward with Barry Town, then a fateful journey to London, unaware that the Arsenal were keen to sign him and finally returning to Cardiff City.

Tappy relates the many highs and lows in his career, including being signed to play for Wales 48 hours after his Arsenal debut, playing against the “Busby Babes” in their last league game before the Munich air crash, lining up with John Charles against an England side sporting Stanley Matthews and Len Shackleton, and being chased down the pitch by Real Zaragoza defenders for shoulder-charging their keeper when Cardiff City faced them in the Fairs Cup.

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Talking Shankly: The Man, The Legend, The Genius 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Talking Shankly: The Man, The Legend, The Genius, by Tom Darby (1998)

There is no doubt that Bill Shankly was one of the greatest football managers of all time.

The former miner from the tiny Lanarkshire village of Glenbuck used football as an escape from the harshness and danger of life down the pit. After spells as a player with Carlisle and Preston North End, Shankly took over as manager of Second Division Liverpool. He revolutionised the club, replacing most of the players he had inherited and giving a chance to up-and-coming youngsters.

Shankly’s first success came in 1962 as Liverpool took the Division Two championship. Two years later they were league champions and followed that up in 1965 by winning the FA Cup for the first time in their history. Over the next nine years, as Shankly ruled supreme at Anfield, Liverpool lifted two more league titles as well as the FA Cup for a second time and the UEFA Cup. It was he who created the modern Liverpool, transforming a sleeping giant into the great club it is today. This biography charts his rise from down the pit to footballing legend.

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Sweet FA, by Graham Kelly 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Sweet FA, by Graham Kelly with Bob Harris (1999)

“A fascinating insight into football’s corridors of power” is promised on the front cover of this book.

This all depends, really, on how interested you are in the insider wranglings and alleged dodgy dealings of the Football Association, the Football League and the Premiership. Graham Kelly was at the heart of most of it, and so he has as good a right as anybody to lift the lid on it all; and the first question most people will have is: is he as boring on paper as he is in real life? Read more…

Meet Me in the Roker End: A Revealing Look at Sunderland’s Footballing History 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Meet Me in the Roker End: A Revealing Look at Sunderland’s Footballing History, by Martin Howey and David Bond (2004)

The writers offer a special insight in to Sunderland’s history, revealing many previously untold stories from the past.

Fascinating stories include those of the long-serving captain who thought his manager was a schizophrenic, the England international who spent the night at Joan Collins’ house and the big-time buy whose afternoons were spent playing one-a-side with the legendary Bill Shankly.

There are also the yarns of the all-time-great who was portrayed on a postage stamp, the wing-half who sparked a diplomatic incident by signing his name as “Eggs and Bread”, the FA Cup winner who was an expert tap dancer and the winger who studied poultry-keeping.

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More Than a Match, by Stuart Clarke 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

More Than a Match, by Stuart Clarke (2002)

This book includes just some of the fantastic photography from Clarke’s vast collection of more than 30,000 images over the years.

The book covers every aspect of football from the obvious such as players and stadia, to tea girls and commentators. Clarke fulfils the premise of the title by proving there is so much more to the game than, well, the game.

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Football in Our Time: A Photographic Record of Our National Game 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Football in Our Time: A Photographic Record of Our National Game, by Stuart Clarke (2003)

THIS book by Stuart Clarke, one of football’s best photographers, brings together 14 years of his work and covers a vast range of subjects from the glamour of the Premiership to the austere surroundings of lower-league clubs.

This collection really brings home – arguably more effectively and much more immediately than words could ever do – just how much the game has changed in such a short space of time.

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Striker, by Hunter Davies 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Striker, by Hunter Davies (1992)

In this satire on the football autobiography, Hunter Davies highlights the 1990s clash between the old values of traditional working-class football and the game which had suddenly become fashionable again and which was attracting new legions of middle-class fans.

The central character is Joe Swift, whose upbringing was the stuff of “TV documentaries where they eat their babies, keep pigeons in the bath and have coal butties for breakfast”: he lived in “the worst council estate on the worst estate in the whole of County Durham”. Davies deliberately creates a stereotypical character; Joe symbolises every ordinary boy plucked from a deprived area to go on to stardom. Read more…

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