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Football Books: News and Reviews

October round-up 0

Posted on October 31, 2011 by samh

Nostalgia is always popular with football fans, and the rather lengthily titled Those Were The Games: A Nostalgic Look at a Century of Great Football Matches (When Football Was Football), released on October 6, promises a look back at “fascinating football matches from the last 100 years”, including the ‘White Horse’ FA Cup final of 1923.

Tim Quelch’s Underdog: Fifty Years of Trials and Triumphs with Football’s Also-Rans, published on October 14, looks back over a lifetime of watching struggling teams around the country, including some non-league teams. It’s a personal tale that also highlights the changing times and has been hailed as “a major work” by Backpass magazine.

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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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My Father and Other Working-Class Football Heroes, by Gary Imlach 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

My Father and Other Working-Class Football Heroes, by Gary Imlach (2005)

This book, a deserved winner of the 2005 William Hill Sports Book of the Year prize, tells of Channel 4 sports presenter Gary Imlach’s quest to find out more about the life of his footballing father Stewart following his death from cancer.

It is a superbly written and incisive tale of the relationship between a father and a son, made all the more poignant because the father is no longer there to speak out. His story is told through newspaper cuttings and grainy photographs, old programmes and dusty pennants – anything that Gary could get his hands on to discover just what kind of man his father was. Read more…

Playing Extra Time, by Alan Ball 0

Posted on August 23, 2011 by samh

Playing Extra Time, by Alan Ball (2004)

Small in stature, red-haired and fiery, Alan Ball was one of the most easily recognised players of his generation.

Fans on the terraces and team mates immediately took to his whole-hearted enthusiasm and never-say-die attitude. He overcame his diminutive size to become a professional player and youngest member of the 1966 England squad, and repeatedly faced rejection as a club manager.

But he now faces the toughest battle of life after his wife and daughter were diagnosed with cancer and are currently in remission. His hugely successful playing and managerial career that took him to, among others, Everton, Arsenal, Manchester City, Southampton and Portsmouth – plus two World Cups with England – now takes a back seat to the real test of character brought about by the illness of his loved ones.

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