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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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September Round-up 0

Posted on September 30, 2011 by samh

Red: My Autobiography, by Gary NevilleSeptember 2011 has seen the release of a quite a few notable Manchester United-related autobiographies. First up was Red, by Gary Neville (published September 1). Paul Scholes announced his retirement just months after Neville, at the end of the 2010-11 season, and came similarly hot on his former team-mate’s heels with the rather simply titled My Story (Sep 29). 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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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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Strachan: My Life in Football 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Strachan: My Life in Football, by Gordon Strachan (2006)

Gordon Strachan has had one of the most illustrious careers in modern football.

As a player, he was the heartbeat of Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen in the early 1980s, before being poached by Ron Atkinson to play for Manchester United. He captained Leeds to championship in the early 1990s, won 50 Scottish caps and went on to manage Coventry and Southampton.

A former regular on Match of the Day, and one of the most honest and interesting voices on the game, he was manager of Celtic at the time this book was published. The book is a mix of both Strachan’s story and an analysis on the way the game is played and run. It is refreshingly candid on everything from the stress and pressure managers are under to the players and bosses Strachan has worked with.

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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…

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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Determined: My Autobiography, by Norman Whiteside 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Determined: My Autobiography, by Norman Whiteside (2007)

In his eight years with Manchester United, Norman Whiteside came to embody their aspirations to such an extent that he was embraced as their on-field representative, the supporter on the pitch.

In this autobiography, Whiteside reveals the workings of Old Trafford during the 1980s – the good, the bad, the booze and the arrival of Alex Ferguson. His stories of growing up in the sectarian violence of Belfast will shock many, whereas the determination he showed when rebuilding his life when his footballing career was destroyed by injury will act as an inspiration.

Whiteside’s career is littered with unforgettable moments, among them the astonishing performance of the 17-year-old usurper of Pele’s “youngest ever” World Cup record as Northern Ireland beat Spain in Valencia in 1982.

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