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Archive for ‘England’


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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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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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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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…

The Way It Was: My Autobiography, by Stanley Matthews 1

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

The Way It Was: My Autobiography, by Stanley Matthews (2000)

Stanley Matthews was the most popular footballer of his era, the man who epitomised a generation of legendary players: Tom Finney, Nat Lofthouse, Billy Wright and many more.

He was the first footballer ever to be knighted, the first European footballer of the Year (at 41) and he played in the top division until he was 50 – and he will be forever remembered for his performance in the Matthews FA Cup final of 1953, when he inspired Blackpool to victory over Bolton.

But The Way it Was is not just the fascinating memoir of a great footballer, it is the remarkable story of an extraordinary life. For the last months of his life, Sir Stanley was working on his definitive biography, finishing it just weeks before he died.

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My Manchester United Years, by Sir Bobby Charlton 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

My Manchester United Years, by Sir Bobby Charlton (2007)

This book represents the first time England and Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton has told his story, in his own words.

In this, the first volume of his autobiography, he tells of the Munich air disaster of 1958 and the impact the tragedy had on his life and his football. Sir Bobby also charts his extraordinary career as one of the original Busby Babes, who went on to European Cup glory just 10 years after the devastating air crash, which all but wiped out Matt Busby’s young side.

Sir Bobby, who wrote this book in conjunction with award-winning sports journalist James Lawton, also describes his early life growing up in a tight-knit community in Ashington, Northumberland, with brother Jack.

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Sir Alf, by Leo McKinstry 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Sir Alf: A Major Reappraisal of the Life and Times of England’s Greatest Football Manager, by Leo McKinstry (2006)

Award-winning author Leo McKinstry’s biography of England’s greatest football manager provides a thought-provoking insight into the world of professional football and the fabric of British society over the span of his life.

Alf Ramsey’s life is a romantic story of heroism. Often derided by lesser men, he overcame the prejudice against his social background to reach the summit of world football. Read more…

Yours Sincerely, by Ron Greenwood 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Yours Sincerely, by Ron Greenwood (1984)

When Ron Greenwood, who died in February 2006 aged 84, worked as a teenager on the ground staff at Wembley stadium before the Second World War, he could hardly have expected to return there as England’s manager – but he did.

In 1977, when Don Revie abruptly left, the Oxford don Sir Harold Thompson turned to the retired Greenwood, who then stayed in the post until 1982. In this biography, written with Bryon Butler of The Daily Telegraph, the former West Ham manager from 1961-77 reveals all about his life at the helm of the England team and how he stuck to his word when he resigned after the 1982 World Cup.

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Roger Byrne: Captain of the Busby Babes 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Roger Byrne: Captain of the Busby Babes, by Iain McCartney (2000)

Manchester United have enjoyed more than their fair share of great players down the years, but none has been more comitted to the cause than Roger Byrne.

Brought up in Gorton, a working-class suburb of Manchester, Byrne was at first a promising wing-half, later even turning out at centre-forward, but he came into his own as a left full-back for United and England. Read more…

Rivals: The Offbeat Guide to the 92 League Clubs 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Rivals: The Offbeat Guide to the 92 League Clubs, by Geoff Harvey and Vanessa Strowger (2004)

With extensive quotes and contributions from supporters, this book examines the extraordinary cult of British football derbies, and the stereotypes and opinions supporters have about their footballing rivals.

The authors use statistics and fans’ testimonies to reveal facts such as Bolton Wanderers being the most loathed club in Britain, or Portsmouth possessing the most vocal fans. The book uncovers the amusing, bizarre, and sometimes alarming portraits of the intensity of fans’ feelings; the way in which they perceive other teams, towns and cities, and how they personally relate to the areas where they live and were brought up.

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