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Football Books: News and Reviews



Football: A Short History, by Matthew Taylor 0

Posted on December 04, 2011 by samh

This is a slim volume, but then it is called ‘a short history’. At just 64 pages, it might not seem possible to cover in great detail the history of the game, but the conciseness of this book (published in October 2011) is what makes it attractive, as well as the many illustrations in what is an attractive layout.

Taylor starts with the origins of association football, which lie “in the chaotic and unregulated forms of folk football popular throughout Britain from the Middle Ages”, before discussing the split between the amateur and professional games. Read more…

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…

Meet Me in the Roker End: A Revealing Look at Sunderland’s Footballing History 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Meet Me in the Roker End: A Revealing Look at Sunderland’s Footballing History, by Martin Howey and David Bond (2004)

The writers offer a special insight in to Sunderland’s history, revealing many previously untold stories from the past.

Fascinating stories include those of the long-serving captain who thought his manager was a schizophrenic, the England international who spent the night at Joan Collins’ house and the big-time buy whose afternoons were spent playing one-a-side with the legendary Bill Shankly.

There are also the yarns of the all-time-great who was portrayed on a postage stamp, the wing-half who sparked a diplomatic incident by signing his name as “Eggs and Bread”, the FA Cup winner who was an expert tap dancer and the winger who studied poultry-keeping.

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Steak… Diana Ross: Diary of a Football Nobody 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Steak… Diana Ross: Diary of a Football Nobody, by David McVay (2003)

This book opens on a rubbish tip that doubles for a training ground littered with refuse engineers – known in those distant pre-politically correct days of 30 years ago as dustmen – and ends, more or less, at Elland Road, home of Leeds United and the European Cup finalists the previous season.

The diaries of David McVay, written during his formative years as a teenager with Notts County during the 1970s, invite readers on an undulating and nostalgic soccer sojourn that can never be repeated in the context of the modern game. Read more…

Lows, Highs and Balti Pies: Manchester City Ruined My Diet 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

Lows, Highs and Balti Pies: Manchester City Ruined My Diet, by Steve Mingle (2004)

This book comprises vivid, colourful and highly individual recollections of City’s most memorable games over the past 37 years.

One hundred matches are featured, starting with a 5-2 drubbing of Sheffield United in 1967 and ending with the 4-1 triumph in the first derby at the cursed City of Manchester Stadium. Read more…

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…

The Best of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly 0

Posted on August 26, 2011 by samh

The Best of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, by Simon Inglis (Editor) (2006)

AFTER its launch in 1951, Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly became a firm favourite, selling more than 100,000 copies at its peak.

A selection of the best of this legendary magazine, spanning its 20-year existence, is reproduced in this facsimile edition. It includes photos, letters and articles that are bound to bring a smile of wistful nostalgia to those old enough to remember it the first time round, as well as delighting younger readers sick of today’s glossy commercialism.

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Scoring at Half Time, by George Best 0

Posted on August 24, 2011 by samh

Scoring at Half Time, by George Best (2003)

The late Manchester United legend is in a breezy, self-deprecating mood in this book, and looking forward to a sober future – which, following his return to alcoholism and subsequent death just two years later in November 2005, is filled with extra poignancy.

But, as the title of this book suggests, Best was a natural wit, which comes through in his writing – he made a lucrative career in after-dinner speaking out of it; here, he entertains readers with a number of humorous anecdotes which offer a lighter tone than his previous book, the more introspective Blessed.

Also recommended is Best’s final book, Hard Tackles and Dirty Baths.

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Hard Tackles and Dirty Baths: The Inside Story of Football’s Golden Era, by George Best 0

Posted on August 24, 2011 by samh

Hard Tackles and Dirty Baths: The Inside Story of Football’s Golden Era, by George Best (2005)

This book, which offers an insight into the late Manchester United legend’s view of one of football’s golden eras, was published barely a month before his death in November 2005.

Informed by Best’s own experiences and those of his fellow professionals, the book is a complete history of the 1960s and 1970s – from the abolition of the maximum wage, and the humble beginnings of the likes of George as bootroom apprentices to the star-studded era of sideburns, collar-length hair and universal adulation.

The book follows the drama and intrigue of each successive season (1963 to 1973) in league, cup and abroad, pondering the key themes from each year to offer an intimate pitch-level view of football’s greatest generation.

It is a fitting sign-off from a much-missed football hero, whose other books, Blessed and Scoring at Half-time are also recommended.

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