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Football Books: News and Reviews

Spitting in the Wind: An Alternative View of Newcastle United 0

Posted on January 16, 2012 by samh

Spitting in the Wind: An Alternative View of Newcastle United, by Billy FuriousSpitting in the Wind, the latest book by ranter extraordinaire Billy Furious, aka Kriss Knights, represents two decades of “crackpot ramblings” on Newcastle United.

As a collection of fanzine articles (some previously unpublished and others with updated comments added with the benefit of hindsight), it is a haphazard and outspoken volume. At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s just another one of those badly produced, badly written amateur books in dire need of a proofreader and editor. While some of this may be true, certainly with reference to the production (which Furious’s website admits is “irreverent, sweary, often drunk and lacking in a basic understanding of any punctuation that [isn’t] a exclamation mark”), don’t let that put you off – this Billy bloke has a way with words that had me hooked from the start, and I’m not even a Magpies fan. Read more…

The Len Shackleton Story: Clown Prince of Soccer? 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

The Len Shackleton Story: Clown Prince of Soccer? by Colin Malam (2004)

Len Shackleton never won a thing in his 17-year career – not a League Championship medal, not an FA Cup medal, not even a medal for topping the old Second Division.

Not only that, but ‘Shack’ collected only five England caps. His legion of admirers regard that as an insult to the outstanding ability of this unusual footballer, but many will have to take their word for it because little or no film exists of the great man in action. Yet, more than half a century after he stopped playing, Shackleton remains a legend, particularly in Bradford, Newcastle and Sunderland where fans preserve precious memories of his magical ball control and outrageous showmanship. They insist he would have been a sensation in today’s game. But would he? That is one of the questions Colin Malam attempts to answer in this biography. Was the Clown Prince more Prince than Clown?

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Jackie Milburn: A Man of Two Halves 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

Jackie Milburn: A Man of Two Halves, by Jack Milburn (2003)

Written by Jackie Milburn’s son, this book gives an unprecedented insight into the life and career of the legendary Newcastle United forward.

To this day, “Wor Jackie” remains the Magpies’ top goalscorer, having notched up 238 goals in 492 League and Cup appearances throughout the 1950s. Milburn also won the FA Cup with Newcastle three times in six years and, in the third final in 1955, he scored one of the competition’s fastest-ever goals, after 45 seconds. Read more…

My Autobiography: An Englishman Abroad, by Bobby Robson 0

Posted on August 25, 2011 by samh

My Autobiography: An Englishman Abroad, by Bobby Robson and Bob Harris (1998)

The paperback edition of this book was updated with a new chapter reviewing events that happened between 1998 and 1999, including Bobby’s thoughts on Glenn Hoddle’s decline as England manager and the appointment of Kevin Keegan to the job.

Bobby Robson is one of the greatest football managers Britain has known. No one can match his international expertise and experience, and he remains one of the most sought-after managers around. Read more…

Andy Cole: The Autobiography 0

Posted on August 23, 2011 by samh

Andy Cole: The Autobiography, by Andy Cole and Peter Fitton (2002)

THIS is the autobiography of a Manchester United hero whose finest hour came in the tremendous treble-winning season of 1998-99.

But the book is not just about his life playing for the Reds and seeking glory in an England shirt, it also tells the story of a man whose playing career started at a young age at Lilleshall, who played for Bristol City and Arsenal before becoming a prolific striker at St James’ Park, and who fought against prejudice and racism to get where he is today.

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The Far Corner, by Harry Pearson 0

Posted on August 22, 2011 by samh

The Far Corner: A Mazy Dribble Through North-East Football, by Harry Pearson (1994)

The telling words on the front of the 1997 edition of The Far Corner (shown in picture) say: “Forget Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, this is the football book of the new age”.

Bearing in mind that Fever Pitch was published just two years before The Far Corner, it is clear to see that new ages come and go with increasing rapidity these days, not least in football literature. This tale of north-east football from the grass roots to the glamour of the Premiership brilliantly satirises the glut of “devoted fan” books that inevitably followed Hornby’s book. Read more…

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