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Archive for ‘Biographies’


Coming up… 0

Posted on April 11, 2012 by samh

A quick note on some of the books due to hit shelves (or Amazon pages if you prefer) this month…

Everyone loves Jeff Stelling, right? Well, if you do, you’ve got to check out Jeffanory: Stories from Beyond Soccer Saturday, in which the award-winning host of Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday and former Countdown presenter returns with a collection of what is billed as “the funniest, weirdest, most tragic, most heart-warming, under-the-radar stories of the football season”. Sounds a bit like an entertaining bog book or something to flick through on those long away days, but it might be good for a laugh. Read more…

November Round-up 0

Posted on December 01, 2011 by samh

In November, Jonathan Wilson revisited the legend that was Brian Clough in Nobody Ever Says Thank You: The Biography. It claimed to be ‘the final word’ on the man, while the Sunday Times hailed it as “the most comprehensive account we have had of this remarkable man so far”. Read more…

October round-up 0

Posted on October 31, 2011 by samh

Nostalgia is always popular with football fans, and the rather lengthily titled Those Were The Games: A Nostalgic Look at a Century of Great Football Matches (When Football Was Football), released on October 6, promises a look back at “fascinating football matches from the last 100 years”, including the ‘White Horse’ FA Cup final of 1923.

Tim Quelch’s Underdog: Fifty Years of Trials and Triumphs with Football’s Also-Rans, published on October 14, looks back over a lifetime of watching struggling teams around the country, including some non-league teams. It’s a personal tale that also highlights the changing times and has been hailed as “a major work” by Backpass magazine.

Read more…

September Round-up 0

Posted on September 30, 2011 by samh

Red: My Autobiography, by Gary NevilleSeptember 2011 has seen the release of a quite a few notable Manchester United-related autobiographies. First up was Red, by Gary Neville (published September 1). Paul Scholes announced his retirement just months after Neville, at the end of the 2010-11 season, and came similarly hot on his former team-mate’s heels with the rather simply titled My Story (Sep 29). Read more…

Woody and Nord: A Football Friendship 0

Posted on September 02, 2011 by samh

Woody and Nord: A Football Friendship, by Gareth Southgate, Andy Woodman and David Walsh (2003)

Gareth Southgate and Andy Woodman have been best friends since they were apprentices at Crystal Palace together.

But while Southgate has gone on to play for a succession of Premiership clubs, Woodman, after being released on the day Palace were promoted, has been shuffled around the lower divisions. This is the story of a friendship that has endured two wildly divergent careers and an insight into the national game, from the staggering money and prestige of the premier League to the precarious living and hard knocks of the Nationwide League.

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Willie Maley: The Man Who Made Celtic 0

Posted on September 02, 2011 by samh

Willie Maley: The Man Who Made Celtic, by David Potter (2003)

Celtic owe almost everything to Willie Maley.

He played in their first ever game in 1888 and won Scottish caps in 1893, before becoming Celtic’s manager in 1897. He then set about building Celtic into the best team in Scotland and, from the beginning, envisaged the club as a powerful presence in world football – playing games in England, Europe and the United States. This book chronicles his playing career, the building of the great Edwardian Celtic team, the devastating effect of the Great War and the wealth of talent that he uncovered until his dismissal from office in 1940.

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One Night at the Palace: A Referee’s Story, by Alan Wilkie 0

Posted on September 02, 2011 by samh

One Night at the Palace: A Referee’s Story, by Alan Wilkie with George Miller (2002)

Alan Wilkie’s story of his progression through the refereeing ranks is an entertaining read, punctuated with many anecdotes.

It manages to convey to some degree just how difficult the job of a referee can be at times, yet also how rewarding it can be for those who are good enough. The book also offers an interesting insight into just how petty some managers can be in top-flight football.

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Viollet: The Life of a Legendary Goalscorer 0

Posted on September 02, 2011 by samh

Viollet: The Life of a Legendary Goalscorer, by Roy Cavanagh and Brian Hughes (2001)

This book about “Busby Babe” Dennis Viollet puts the often underrated Manchester United striker up there in his rightful place alongside his more famous colleagues.

The authors also tell the story not only of that legendary United team of the 1950s but also about football in general in the post-war years. It was undoubtedly a golden era, but one in which the players earned little more than the people who watched and adored them.

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The Tommy Taylor Story 0

Posted on September 01, 2011 by samh

The Tommy Taylor Story, by Brian Hughes (1996)

When Tommy Taylor signed for Manchester United from Barnsley in 1953 he was generally regarded as the finishing touch to Sir Matt Busby’s famous Babes.

It had been rumoured that as many as 17 clubs had been chasing the 20 year-old’s signature and United’s fee (£29,999) instantly made Tommy one of the highest profile players in England. But was the Second Division striker worth it? Would he live up to the pressure at Old Trafford where so many before and since have failed? In the event, history records that Tommy went on to score 112 goals in 166 league games, 11 goals in 14 European Cup matches and five in nine FA Cup ties.

Taylor represented England 19 times, scoring 16 goals. He quickly became known among United fans as ‘the Smiling Executioner’, and was an integral part of the Busby Babes side that dominated the English game during the mid-1950s, until tragedy struck in 1958, when he was one of the eight United players who lost their lives in the Munich air disaster.

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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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