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Football Books: News and Reviews



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…

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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Ossie: King of Stamford Bridge 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Ossie: King of Stamford Bridge, by Peter Osgood, Martin King and Martin Knight (2002)

In A 16-year career spent with Chelsea and Southampton, the late goal-scoring legend Peter Osgood made 560 appearances, scoring 220 goals and winning two FA Cup-winners’ medals.

He was part of the victorious Chelsea side that defeated the mighty Real Madrid in the 1971 European Cup-Winners’ Cup final and is the last player to have scored in every round of the FA Cup, including the final.

This book tells the story of the career and the extraordinary roller-coaster personal life of the man who spearheaded a team that made as many headlines off the field as on, and tells the truth about the hard-drinking and hard-living antics of these Kings Road dandies – Hudson, Cooke, Baldwin and company.

Osgood, who died in March 2006 aged just 59, tells of his strained relationship with manager Dave Sexton, which resulted in his and other stars’ departures, triggering a decline in Chelsea FC’s fortunes that took some 20 years to reverse. He recounts his experiences in the Mexico World Cup of 1970 and is brutally honest about the challenges and problems faced by ex-footballers as they attempt to adjust to life in mainstream society.

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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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The Chelski Revolution 0

Posted on August 26, 2011 by samh

The Chelski Revolution, by Harry Harris (2003)

It took just seven weeks for Chelsea to splash more than £110m on the finest players the world football scene had to offer. Practically overnight, the wage bill soared to £1.5m a week.

From Real Madrid to Arsenal, the football world sat up and took notice. This book reveals how Chelsea were within days of financial meltdown when multi-billionaire Russian Roman Abramovich took charge. For the first time ever it discloses the rival bids, the involvement of David Mellor and the investigations of city watchdog the FSA into potential insider share dealings. Most remarkable of all, the text reveals Chelsea’s negotiations with Sven Goran Eriksson and Alex Ferguson for the manager’s position, as well as their discussions with even more of the leading lights of the footballing world such as Wayne Rooney, Stephen Gerrard and Michael Owen.

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Chelsea: A 100-year History 0

Posted on August 26, 2011 by samh

Chelsea: A 100-year History, by Brian Mears and Ian Macleay (2004)

In summer 2003, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich acquired Chelsea Football Club, sending shockwaves reverberating around world football.

Chelsea, the institution, was transformed overnight into arguably the most powerful club in the world by virtue of the vast fortune bestowed upon them by their benefactor. This was an amazing twist to a story that started almost a century before on a piece of wasteground in west London. The genesis of Chelsea, founded in 1905, was pioneered by the Mears family, whose dynasty was to remain at the helm for more than two-thirds of that century. Co-author Brian Mears was a particularly significant figure in his role as chairman throughout the colourful period from the end of the swinging ’60s until the early 1980s.

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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…

Abramovich: The Billionaire from Nowhere 0

Posted on August 23, 2011 by samh

Abramovich: The Billionaire from Nowhere, by Dominic Midgley and Chris Hutchins (2004)

This is an investigative biography of the Russian rouble machine which follows the maxim ‘follow the money’ to show how he emerged.

It tells of political intrigues in post-Soviet Russia, the astonishing dash for cash of the new free market entrepreneurs reminiscent of 19th-century America, where the money came from, his decision to buy Chelsea, what club ownership gives him and the long-term implications of his takeover.

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