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Football Books: News and Reviews

A new chapter in Hillsborough story 0

Posted on September 13, 2012 by samh

Hillsborough: The Truth, by Phil Scraton

Yesterday the families of the 96 people who lost their lives at Hillsborough were finally told what they had known for 23 years: the tragedy wasn’t the fault of the fans, and a cover-up of monumental proportions had been orchestrated by the very people who should have been there to serve and protect.

Much has been written about the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which concluded that South Yorkshire Police had deliberately sought to change their version of events in order to protect senior officers whose abject failure to control crowds on the day (and, indeed, their decisions in the months ahead of the match) led to the needless and preventable deaths of nearly 100 men, women and children. Read more…

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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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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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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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…

Hillsborough: The Truth 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

Hillsborough: The Truth, by Phil Scraton (1999)

The Hillsborough disaster left 96 men, women and children dead, hundreds injured and thousands traumatised. This account details the tragic day in 1989 and the subsequent seven-week-long trial.

It reveals the contradictions between the Taylor Inquiry, which found the main reason for the disaster to be falure of police control, the South Yorkshire police acceptance of liability in negligence and the controversial inquest system which returned verdicts of accidental death when negligence had been clearly established.

The author also exposes the appalling treatment endured by the bereaved and survivors in the immediate aftermath, the inhumanity of the identification process; problems concerning the emergency response; and the systematic review and alteration of police statements by South Yorkshire police managers and their solicitors.

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The Day of the Hillsborough Disaster 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

The Day of the Hillsborough Disaster, by Rogan Taylor, Andrew Ward and Tim Newburn (Editors) (1995)

This is an account of the whole day of the worst disaster in Britain’s sporting history, which occurred at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium on April 15, 1989.

The disaster ultimately claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans as a result of crushing on the Leppings Lane terrace. In the aftermath of the tragedy, the media spotlight served largely to confuse and even distort the truth about how 96 people died. This is a narrative of the day of the disaster, in the words of those who were there: players, referee, police, emergency service workers, doctors in the crowd, club and FA officials, and those at the heart of the tragedy.

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Harry’s Game: An Autobiography 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

Harry’s Game: An Autobiography, by Harry Gregg, Andy Walsh and Richard Kurt (2002)

Has there ever been a period in any football club’s history as perplexing as the 1950s and 1960s at Manchester United? The Munich air crash dominated everything else.

Millions of fans also remember the rise of the Busby Babes, the dark years of the early 1960s, and the glorious renaissance of the Best, Law and Charlton era.

Goalkeeper Harry Gregg was at the very centre of this phenomenal era, a vital participant in all the club’s dramas. This book tells the inside story of one of the most important years of the world’s biggest club. Gregg was an important political figure at Manchester United, a leader of the old guard and one of Matt Busby’s closest “boys”. He tells of the triumphs of the Babes, the 1958 Cup run, and the continent-conquering Sixties rebirth. He also looks at the darker days, misdeeds and boardroom moves as the Edwards dynasty tightened its grip.

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Four Minutes to Hell: The Story of the Bradford City Fire 0

Posted on August 26, 2011 by samh

Four Minutes to Hell: The Story of the Bradford City Fire, by Paul Firth (2005)

THIS is the story of a disaster inflicted on one group of people who just happened to be at a football match and of how that disaster was used to benefit so many others in the following years.

May 11, 1985, was to be a family day, a day of great celebration at Valley Parade. For the first time since 1929 Bradford City had won a league title, even if it was just the Third Division Championship. Their biggest league crowd of the season came in joyous mood, despite the cool weather. Read more…

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