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Football Books: News and Reviews

Willie Maley: The Man Who Made Celtic 0

Posted on September 02, 2011 by samh

Willie Maley: The Man Who Made Celtic, by David Potter (2003)

Celtic owe almost everything to Willie Maley.

He played in their first ever game in 1888 and won Scottish caps in 1893, before becoming Celtic’s manager in 1897. He then set about building Celtic into the best team in Scotland and, from the beginning, envisaged the club as a powerful presence in world football – playing games in England, Europe and the United States. This book chronicles his playing career, the building of the great Edwardian Celtic team, the devastating effect of the Great War and the wealth of talent that he uncovered until his dismissal from office in 1940.

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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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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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Rio: My Story, by Rio Ferdinand 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Rio: My Story, by Rio Ferdinand (2006)

Rio Ferdinand is widely acknowledged as one of the most talented defenders in the world.

His transfer from West Ham to Leeds set a British record, a feat he repeated with his subsequent move to Manchester United. Ferdinand’s success on the pitch was meteoric – including high drama in the Champions League, a World Cup (where, in 2002, he was the outstanding English player) and a dramatic Premiership victory.

Ferdinand reveals all about his infamous missed drugs test, the controversies surrounding both his transfers, his supposed reluctance to re-sign for United in 2005, the alleged tapping-up meeting with Chelsea’s Peter Kenyon and various sex, driving and anti-social behaviour scandals.

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Psycho: The Autobiography, by Stuart Pearce 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Psycho: The Autobiography, by Stuart Pearce (2000)

When Stuart Pearce arrived at Nottingham Forest he advertised his business as an electrician in the club programme – his blunt attitude earned him the nickname “Psycho”.

In a story of extraordinary achievement, and equally conspicuous misfortune and failure, as both player and manager, Pearce recalls the legends and also-rans he has met along the way, offering no-nonsense portraits of the likes of Brian Clough, Glenn Hoddle and Rudd Gullit, and an insider’s take on the realities of the professional game.

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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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Nobby Stiles: After the Ball 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Nobby Stiles: After the Ball, by Nobby Stiles (2003)

This is Nobby Stiles’ account of a lifetime spent living and breathing football.

Signed to Manchester United at the age of 15, he progressed to the England team and had a starring role in the 1966 World Cup. He is one of only two Englishmen (Bobby Charlton is the other) to win both the World Cup and the European Cup.

After playing at the highest level, Nobby Stiles became a manager, then a youth coach at Old Trafford, where he dealt with the new United of Beckham, Scholes, Giggs and the Neville brothers. His appraisals of these players from this period are revealed, as well as studies of unforgettable teammates such as George Best and Bobby Charlton.

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The Miracle of Istanbul: Liverpool FC, from Paisley to Benitez 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

The Miracle of Istanbul: Liverpool FC, from Paisley to Benitez, by John Williams and Stephen Hopkins (2005)

This book offers an insight into the many foreign highs and domestic lows of the amazing 2004-05 Liverpool season.

It also maps out key connections between the great Liverpool European legacy of the 1970s and 1980s and the new Benitez era – via a detour of the ultimately doomed Gerard Houllier period of initial Continental Liverpool management. The authors look at some of the key players of the recent successful European campaign – Gerrard, Hamman, Carragher and the erratic Jerzy Dudek among them – and at the music and football cultures in the city that have uniquely shaped what is still known locally as the Liverpool Way.

The book compares Benitez with his key rivals: his Iberian ‘cousin’ Jose Mourhino at Chelsea and the fiercely competitive David Moyes at neighbours Everton. But it ends on that glorious night of May 25 in Istanbul, with fans’ recollections and memories.

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Thirty Miles from Paradise: My Story, by Bobby Lennox 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

Thirty Miles from Paradise: My Story, by Bobby Lennox (2007)

Bobby Lennox epitomises an era in which Celtic were the best and most successful football club in the UK.

In May 1967, he and his fellow Lisbon Lions achieved footballing immortality when they lifted the European Cup – the first British side to do so. Lennox’s 300 goals for Celtic and Scotland make him the second-highest goal scorer in Celtic’s history and the highest since the Second World War.

With the Scottish national side, Lennox famously scored the second goal in Scotland’s stunning 3-2 victory over England at Wembley in 1967, when the Scots became the first country to defeat the then world champions. In this definitive autobiography, Lennox recounts with his famous dry wit and openness his part in these extraordinary achievements and reveals aspects of his career which until now he has never previously made public.

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