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Football Books: News and Reviews


Archive for ‘Pundits’


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…

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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Strachan: My Life in Football 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Strachan: My Life in Football, by Gordon Strachan (2006)

Gordon Strachan has had one of the most illustrious careers in modern football.

As a player, he was the heartbeat of Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen in the early 1980s, before being poached by Ron Atkinson to play for Manchester United. He captained Leeds to championship in the early 1990s, won 50 Scottish caps and went on to manage Coventry and Southampton.

A former regular on Match of the Day, and one of the most honest and interesting voices on the game, he was manager of Celtic at the time this book was published. The book is a mix of both Strachan’s story and an analysis on the way the game is played and run. It is refreshingly candid on everything from the stress and pressure managers are under to the players and bosses Strachan has worked with.

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Priceless, by Rodney Marsh 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Priceless, by Rodney Marsh (2001)

Packed with anecdotes and stories from his successful spell in the US, this autobiography charts Marsh’s tough and violent upbringing in the East End and the emergence of his football career at fashionable Fulham, playing alongside the legendary Johnny Haynes.

After a spell at QPR he moved to Manchester City, where he became a cult hero among the fans who loved his outrageous skills. It was also the period in which he first grew close to George Best. Marsh later became well known for his appearances as a regular TV sports pundit, but was ignominiously sacked from Sky Sports after an inappropriate joke about the tsunami disaster.

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Des Lynam: The Biography 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

Des Lynam: The Biography, by Steve Purcell (1999)

Despite his retirement from sports presenting, Des Lynam is still one of the most recognisable faces in British broadcasting.

The consummate professional, his easy charm, handsome good looks and sparkling humour captivated millions of fans, both male and female, sporting and non-sporting. In this in-depth biography, Steve Purcell, a former Fleet Street journalist, unravels the complex man behind the most famous moustache on television: his life and loves, his rise from humble beginnings in Ireland to iconic status as a national treasure.

This biography tells how Lynam, a famously private individual, turned his back on a steady career as an insurance salesman to become a radio sports reporter, broadcasting from a garden shed. It tells of his early years in top-flight sports broadcasting and of how his reputation grew within the BBC as he covered World Cups, Olympic Games, Wimbledon tennis and the Grand National in a career spanning some 30 years. It also tells how, as he pursued his dream, his marriage suffered and eventually cracked under the strain.

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The King: The Autobiography, by Denis Law 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

The King: The Autobiography, by Denis Law (2003)

In the 1960s, Denis Law was the King of Old Trafford.

When it came to scoring goals, Law was the master, a mercurial genius. Loved by the fans because he always gave his all on the pitch, this fierce Scotsman fought for everything and was afraid of nothing.

Having played for Huddersfield and Torino, Law joined Manchester United for a new British record transfer fee of £115,000 in August 1962. He scored two goals in his debut game and many more were to follow -160 of them in only 222 games over his first five seasons. This book tells the extraordinary story of an Aberdeen boy made good – from humble beginnings, Denis Law reached the very pinnacle of soccer fame. Containing entertaining anecdotes about the likes of George Best, Matt Busby and Jimmy Greaves, Denis also lets us know in no uncertain terms his views on the modern game.

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Alan Hansen: A Matter of Opinion 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

Alan Hansen: A Matter of Opinion, by Alan Hansen (2000)

As former Liverpool star Alan Hansen knows only too well, football is a game of opinions. During his career as a player he faced intense criticism from the media which undermined his confidence and often threatened to overwhelm him. In this book, Hansen looks back on the triumphs and tragedies that marked his career.

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Greavsie: My Autobiography, by Jimmy Greaves 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

Greavsie: My Autobiography, by Jimmy Greaves (2003)

Jimmy Greaves is one of the most well-known footballers to grace the English game, a goalscorer of legendary prowess.

His characteristically humorous autobiography journeys from his childhood in the East End, through his early career in the Chelsea youth team to being one of the great stars of 1960s football at Spurs, AC Milan and as an outstanding England forward.

There are darker aspects too – the bitter disappointment of failing to make the World Cup-winning team of 1966, and the battle against the alcoholism that followed his retirement from the game. This book is both Jimmy’s story and the story of football in the golden era of the 1950s and 60s, before money changed the game. It is populated by the great players who Jimmy played with and against, and animated by anecdotes about the game.

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Gordon Strachan: The Biography 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

Gordon Strachan: The Biography, by Leo Moynihan (2004)

In recent years, Gordon Strachan has become best known among football fans for his realistic and often witty assessments of his teams’ performances and football matters in general.

It is easy to forget that Strachan forged a career as a player where his abilities made him the only player ever to win the Football Writers’ Player of the Year Award both north and south of the border.

From his time as a young player at Dundee via Aberdeen, where he was nurtured by the then fledgling manager Alex Ferguson and became an integral part of the team which won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1983, to the dizzy heights of life at Manchester United and Leeds and an international career involving two World Cups, Gordon Strachan showed not just his flair as a wily central midfielder but also strong leadership abilities. They provided him with the cornerstone of his management career that began at Coventry as he moved from player to player/manager before finally hanging up his boots and managing Southampton and Celtic.

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True Grit, by Frank McLintock 0

Posted on August 27, 2011 by samh

True Grit, by Frank McLintock (2006)

Frank McLintock was a leading player of his generation and is acclaimed as one of the Arsenal’s greatest captains.

After transferring from Leicester in 1970, he led Arsenal to a famous victory in the Fairs Cup and followed this up with even greater glory a year later, winning an historic league and FA Cup double. He left Arsenal in 1973 after being controversially dropped, and enjoyed four successful years at QPR. He retired from playing in 1977, to make an ill-conceived and hasty move into management.

Following this difficult period, McLintock entered the often shady world of agents, and faced perhaps his worst moment in the game, becoming involved in the infamous bungs scandal over Teddy Sheringham’s transfer from Forest to Spurs. He continues to retain a high profile in the game, appearing weekly as a Sky pundit. His is a captivating football story spanning 45 years during which he achieved fabulous success and faced shattering lows, all told with enthusiasm, humour, honesty and intense passion.

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