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Football Books: News and Reviews

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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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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Fallen Idle, by Peter Marinello 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

Fallen Idle: Fighting Back from the Booze, Swindles and Drugs That Ripped My Life Apart, by Peter Marinello (2007)

Peter Marinello was the footballing sensation of 1970 and was instantly hailed as the new George Best – but, like the great Northern Irishman, drinking and reckless behaviour ultimately proved to be his downfall.

But one could argue that Marinello’s fall from grace was even more spectacular than Best’s – he was kidnapped in Nigeria while on tour with Hibernian and lost his virginity in front of six teammates. Read more…

Highbury: The Story of Arsenal Stadium 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

Highbury: The Story of Arsenal Stadium, by Bruce Smith (2005)

In this highly illustrated book, journalist and stadium consultant Bruce Smith exhaustively chronicles the life and times of the Gunners’ home ground in north London.

The author takes the reader from the site’s humble beginnings as college playing fields to its present status as one of the most recognisable pieces of football real estate in the world. Smith traces the development of the stadium, from its opening in 1913 after just 60 days of construction, when the club, known then as Woolwich Arsenal, moved there from across the river, and recalls the many events staged there since, footballing and otherwise.

The book highlights how pioneering architects such as Archibald Leitch, Claude Waterlow Ferrier and William Binnie played a vital role in shaping Highbury as we know it today, and how other personalities, including Sir Henry Norris, AG Kearney, Herbert Chapman and David Dein, have influenced its development.

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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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My Story, by Charlie George 0

Posted on August 26, 2011 by samh

My Story, by Charlie George (2005)

This book, co-authored by sports writer Alex Montgomery, tells the story of a lad whose dreams came true.

Frederick Charles George was born on October 10, 1950, in Islington, London. He was brought up only a mile or so from his beloved Arsenal, the football club he adored and was later to become synonymous with. When he was not playing football, he could be found standing on the terraces of the North Bank, and it was not long before he was spotted by Arsenal and signed as a schoolboy for the Gunners. Read more…

My Autobiography, by Bob Wilson 0

Posted on August 26, 2011 by samh

My Autobiography, by Bob Wilson (2003)

Bob Wilson spent 39 years at Arsenal – as a player, and then as the first goalkeeping coach in the first division.

Following his retirement as a footballer, a career in television beckoned, making him a household name. This autobiography reflects on his days as a sports commentator and presenter at the BBC, and his subsequent switch to ITV, and also includes his account of the Grobbelaar trial and his relationships with some of the most popular names in sport and television, including Des Lynam, Jimmy Hill and David Seaman. Wilson also has affectionate memories of Jill Dando and Helen Rollason, and tells the moving story of his daughter’s illness and legacy.

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Bertie Mee: Arsenal’s Officer and Gentleman 0

Posted on August 24, 2011 by samh

Bertie Mee: Arsenal’s Officer and Gentleman, by David Tossell (2005)

Bertie Mee restored the glories of the past for Arsenal and became a legendary manager in the process of helping to lay the foundations of the modern Gunners.

Mee was an intensely private man, yet with the co-operation of his family, friends, former players and colleagues, this biography is an in-depth look at a football legend.

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My Defence, by Ashley Cole 0

Posted on August 23, 2011 by samh

My Defence: Winning, Losing, Scandals and the Drama of Germany 2006, by Ashley Cole (2006)

Ashley Cole insisted this was not an autobiography – because he’s “too young for all that life-story stuff”.

It’s interesting that the title for this book was later changed from the provisional and rather uninspriring My World Cup Year to My Defence, suggesting that Cole did indeed have something else to defend apart from his team’s goal. The pun in the title is probably the cleverest thing about the book. Read more…

The Glorious Game: Arsene Wenger, Arsenal and the Quest for Success 0

Posted on August 23, 2011 by samh

The Glorious Game: Arsene Wenger, Arsenal and the Quest for Success, by Alex Fynn and Kevin Whitcher (2003)

Arsenal may have overcome Southampton 1-0 to retain the FA Cup and, Arsene Wenger claimed, had the best team in the Premiership, but the 2002-03 season will go down in memory as one largely unfulfilled by their own high standards.

Alex Fynn and Kevin Whitcher draw on times spent behind the scenes at Highbury to piece together an intimate portrait of both the man at the helm, Wenger, and life at the only Premiership club in with a shout of challenging the Old Trafford hegemony.

The Glorious Game looks back to Arsene Wenger’s arrival at the club, studies his philosophy of football, examines Arsenal’s underachievement in Europe and their continuing battle for English supremacy with Manchester United. The financial implications of the Ashburton Grove move, and the place of the youth academy in Wenger’s long-term strategy are also discussed.

The book features interviews with, and profiles of, the key individuals at Highbury – from Wenger and David Dein, through to the likes of Thierry Henry, Sol Campbell, Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires, Liam Brady and Bob Wilson.

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