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Author Topic: Damned Utd
ale
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the title of the new novel by David Peace out later this month..again set in Yorkshire and against the background of Brian Cloughs 44 days at Leeds in 1974 while Watergate unfolds and the country goes to the polls twice..

cant wait ...have pre-ordered from Amazon at a healthy discount...

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Tubby Isaacs
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Sounds great. I'm more tempted by the 90p and order it from the library discount.
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Croute au fromage et oeuf au plat
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The Observer review says it's a bit of a demolition job on Clough.
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How's The Bairn?
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I'm reading it at the moment. Currently on Day Fourteen. Fantastic book.

I wouldn't call it a demolition job on Clough. Not in the slightest. It concentrates a lot on the sheer arrogance of the bloke, which actually comes off as quite an attractive trait, especially considering you can picture the scene of him pitching up at Roy McFarland's house at 1 in the morning and saying to his Dad "well, get him out of bed, because he's fucking signing for Derby County now".

It also gives you a great sense of the mutual hate between Leeds united and Brian Clough from the outset, and the way it's written (see next paragraph) means there are constant questions being asked as to the reason behind such spiteful relationships, such as between Clough and evie, Bremner, Giles and the Leeds board.

It switches attentions constantly from the day his playing career ended, and his time at Hartlepool(s) and Derby, and his Leeds days.

Already I'm reading this book, and know it deserves to be turned into one of the best football films you could ever see. It's screaming out for it. Magnificent.

********************************SPOILER****************************

Just to get you in the mood, here's a snippet that features on the back of the book. It encompasses the disdain that Clough has for the players and the club - this is his first speech to his Leeds players:

"Gentlemen, I might as well tell you now, you lot may have won all the domestic honours there are and some of the European ones but, as far as I am concerned, the first thing you can do for me is to chuck all your medals and all your caps and all your pans in the biggest fucking dustbin you can find, because you've never won any of them fairly. You've done it all by bloody cheating."

.********************************END OF SPOILER*********************

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How's The Bairn?
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*****************PROBABLE SPOILER ALERT*************

Just done the next 14 days of it. Now I start to see where the Observer review comes from. It's starting to highlight the crossing of that fine line between arrogance and aggression. It's almost like it's a diary on the mental unravelling of a footballing genius. The paranoia of Clough has started to show. The "Us v Them" mindset that he adopted takes over the story.

****************END OF SPOILER ALERT***************

Still a fucking amazing read.

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How's The Bairn?
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Finished it, loved it, read it again straight away whilst in France, loved it again.

It shows how much of a flawed character he was, and, if substantiated as I expect it to be, how much alcohol took a grip on his life as soon as it started to sour at Derby and right through his Leeds days.

The only complaint I have about it is there is a lot of repeating the same sentence, repeating the same sentence, repeating the same sentence three times. Three times. Three times sentences would be repeated, as if to make the passage more salient. It's OK in moderation, but it's done too much in this.

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ale
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the endless repetition is Peaces style of writing...

having now read it myself I was surprised how insular it was ...references to the outside world were minimal...

also thought Peace was more sympathetic to Clough than had been led to believe...

difficult to know where the line between fiction and reality was crossed with regard to the actual players at Leeds...many of the comments and conversations are reproduced from at least one source I'd read previously(Tony Francis biography of Clough)...inviting Bremner out to Majorca,asking McKenzie to be his eyes and ears in the dressing room etc although its difficult to believe he spent his time holed up in Revies old office drinking and smoking while shouting the team line up to Jimmy Gordon through a locked door on matchdays...

makes you wonder though how the club would have turned out if he'd been allowed to buy Shilton & Todd...

still mesmerising stuff from the best contemporary author now writing...

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The 7th Baron Bartok
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Hmm, sorry Kettle, but if you feel the need to flag that bit about Clough telling Revie's men they'd won their medals by "cheating" as a "spoiler", I think that tells me the book might not have that much new to say. I've heard that "cheating" line on at least one TV documentary, I think it's pretty much common knowledge.
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Hieronymus Bosch
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I was thinking that too -- this "throw your medals away, you losers" spiel has been in the public domain for some time, I've read about it a good few times.

Anyway, I have ordered this book along with the one Peace wrote about the miners' strike. I can't stand Leeds United in the normal run of things, but nobody with a pulse could fail to find their 1970s dark side a subject of fascination.

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statto99
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Indeed. The "medals" quotation is one of the single most well-known comments associated with Leeds.

Glancing through the book it looked to be a page turner, though.

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Hieronymus Bosch
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Well, as I said, yesterday I ordered this book online for about 15.

A little while ago, our features editor came over to me and handed me a review copy. Doh!

[ 22.08.2006, 19:52: Message edited by: Citizen Bambaataa ]

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Hieronymus Bosch
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I am currently nearing the end of this, and it's one of the best books I've read in years.

It's savage stuff. Every paragraph is like a punch in the face. You can almost taste Clough's creeping paranoia and his gradual enslavement by drink. Viewed through his eyes the Leeds players are a faceless phalanx of silent, scowling malcontents.

I am so impressed with it that I have ordered three more of Peace's other novels.

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ale
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Citizen...you wont be dissapointed...one word of warning though...if you're getting the Yorkshire quartet they are best read in the order of publication ie 1974,1977,1981,& 1983...theres a lot of characters and who appear in each and despite Peaces fondness for repetition the narrative could be difficult if they are read in random order..
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Gangster Octopus
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When's this out in paperback?
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Crusoe
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It's out now in paperback. It's as good as everyone here has said, am really enjoying it - thanks for the recommendations.
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