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    Yeah both seem good choices. I don’t think I’ve read the sequel to The Far Corner. Is it as good?

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      Originally posted by Sunderporinostesta View Post
      Yeah both seem good choices. I don’t think I’ve read the sequel to The Far Corner. Is it as good?
      It's a more personal book, dealing with various ups and downs in his life,but there's still plenty of laughs as well.

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        Not as good, but still worthwhile

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          The Far Corner is in. Its sequel is out. The compiler has read both. Compiler is gonna skip through FATE asap before deciding.

          Thisisabit more difficult than I expected. As a football sad bastard you kind of assume a basic knowledge level for others that quite simply isn’t there.

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            Brilliant Orange?

            Fear and Loathing in la Liga?

            Only a Game?

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              I might have missed this, but if this is a book club then probably Fever Pitch or Pearson's first book. But if she can put together collection of PDFs that reflect fan experiences, I'd think that assembling some chapters for Pearson, Daniel Gray's book that came out about watching football during COVID, Barney Ronay's book about Sunday league, some chapters from Galeano's Football in the Sun and the Shadow (esp. the chapter about referees), and I'd include Cameron Carter's essay from WSC 432 about superstition.

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                The Miracle of Castel Di Sangro is in, surely?

                As an aside, I’m about four chapters into Wings of Change which is about Red Bull killing football clubs and becoming a big thing in football and not just diabetes.

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                  There’s a Stanchion Football Book Market on 09/12/23 at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, WC1R 4RL if anyone is interested.

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                    I just finished Mike Blackstone's The Brown Sauce is Off: A North West Odyssey. This is a self-published book that covers non-league football in the North West during the 2003-2004 season. There are 42 chapters if I remember correctly, with each about a different game at a different stadium (no repeats). One is called off and another he can't get to because of a major train delay. Each chapter includes some discussion of travel by train or bus, a discussion of the ground and club (some historical and some in the present) that includes consideration of the programme and the food on offer, and then a match report.

                    It's probably an interesting book for someone who wants some ground-up historical analysis and first-person narrative accounts of a specific time and place. Blackstone has a history editing programmes so that experience adds a unique focus. With that said, there are enough typos that a proof-reader would have been useful. I'm trying to remember when the blog explosion happened. It seems like a few years after this book was published. I mention this context because the book chapters read like what would become blog posts. That's not a pejorative description; rather, just to highlight that I don't know if the book reads as literary as other groundhopping books that preceded this one (e.g., Aizlewood's Playing at Home). It seems like this early 2000s yielded a number of these books about non-league travels and then another wave came in the early 2010a. I have posted about a few in this thread and have more in the pile to be read.

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                      Five+ years ago I picked up all of Tony Incenzo's ...to Wembley "personal reviews" of the FA Vase competition. It looks like he put out six of these. I finished the first one that covers 1982-1983. Comparing this zine (he uses the phrase "booklet") to some of the books that ground hope, I think this was more enjoyable. The length works well, the writing is more journalistic and tighter, and he does a good job putting the reader in the scene with quotes from fans, players, and club officials. Again, a bit more journalistic than literary. The one funny (odd?) move is there is a bit of big-shotting that happens with some name dropping (e.g., mentioning that he was interviewed by the BBC, talking about meeting up with club secretaries, viewing the final from the press box). But these moves don't take away from the overall quality. And on the plus-side he is able to get access to some interviews that have not often featured in some of the books I have read recently.

                      There are a number of these on ebay that don't sell for much if anyone is looking to take a trip down memory lane or if you're like me, and simply curious about unofficial accounts of cup competitions/looking to read some old zines. I'll probably jump into the issue for the next season and then get caught up on some other zines before coming back to the others in this series.

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                        I received George Dohrmann's Switching Fields as a gift just before WC22 but finally had time to read it during my commute the last two+ weeks. The book uses the failure of the US men's national team to qualify for WC 2018 as the starting point to investigate why a country the size of the US hasn't produced sustained success. I was aware of most of the reasons discussed in the book prior to reading it (pay to play youth leagues, which are geared to white suburban middle class families, an inability to attract black kids, general ineptness of the US Soccer Federation, and an obsession with British football even though many British national teams were also failing to qualify for the WC). But I did learn some new information about the founding of AYSO, about NCAA corruption, and about the development of MLS and USL academies. I also learned a lot about various small efforts that were popping up around the country where folks wanted to adopt alternative models to the pay to play system.

                        The book is well written. Dohrmann likes to rely on specific characters to help drive each chapter so changes can be linked to a more interesting narrative. Three minor criticisms: (1) He dedicates a chapter to the reasons why women's soccer has succeeded and men's soccer has failed, but the irony of hard-nosed, physically fit, win at all costs women's development is no different than what was happening with the men's game. There is hope for the men because a new generation of players are training in ways that mirror European and Latin American counterparts. (2) He is very interested in the failure of US officials to identify latino players. Makes sense. But Asian players are never mentioned in the book. When I was a kid growing up in Southern California, the children of Vietenamese immigrant parents loved soccer, but were cut out of most leagues. They played at school. (3) Dohrmann was clearly finishing to meet a WC deadline. The book would get less attention if it came out this summer. But the conclusion seems to suggest that things are fixed even though he admits that the US qualified for Qatar with a loss on the last matchday. The general poor showing at WC2022 also showed that we're still not that good. Maybe that will change by 2026 but being a co-host also provides some kind of boost that might not show growth unless the US can look good (not something that happened in Qatar) and beat some legit opposition.

                        That's all a bit jumbled, but if you're interested in youth development in the US and aren't already an expert, I think you'd enjoy the book.

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                          Ah, that rush to meet the World Cup deadline. They need to take on board our impromptu marketing survey at the last World Cup, where not a single OTFer claimed to read World Cup-themed books either in the run-up to or during tournaments.

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                            So much sports publishing is a loss leader that you'd think it didn't matter when the books came out. Dohrmann's not reliant on income from books for his living but maybe they promote The Athletic, which is his employer, and they staked a lot on WC22.
                            Last edited by Satchmo Distel; 14-11-2023, 17:59.

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                              The only thing I would add is that my dad read a review or heard Dohrmann interviewed and sent me the book. I don't know if the WSJ is writing about football during non-WC times. I would have never found this book on my own since it's not the type of football book I usually read.

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                                I read Emancipation for Goalposts, a book about football in/during the break-up of Yugoslavia. It was...well, less sensationalist than many takes on this story. It doesn't really linger on Arkan or the Bad Blue Boys, it doesn;t make an overly big deal of the Dinamo-Red Start Riot in 1990, and I appreciated all that. It didn't retread a lot of the ground from Blood and Circuses (the stuff about Kosovo is presented mainly from the POV of the diaspora), and it had a decent chapter on Croatian football in Australia

                                That said, it wasn't an especially riveting read either. 5/10.

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                                  Originally posted by imp View Post
                                  Ah, that rush to meet the World Cup deadline. They need to take on board our impromptu marketing survey at the last World Cup, where not a single OTFer claimed to read World Cup-themed books either in the run-up to or during tournaments.
                                  I missed the survey, but I did put myself through three of them. Two of them from Pitch. More fool me, I guess.

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                                    Originally posted by danielmak View Post

                                    The book is well written. Dohrmann likes to rely on specific characters to help drive each chapter so changes can be linked to a more interesting narrative. Three minor criticisms: (1) He dedicates a chapter to the reasons why women's soccer has succeeded and men's soccer has failed, but the irony of hard-nosed, physically fit, win at all costs women's development is no different than what was happening with the men's game. There is hope for the men because a new generation of players are training in ways that mirror European and Latin American counterparts.
                                    I wonder if that explains how the USWNT has fallen off it's pedestal. That training approach was (more than) enough when women's football wasn't promoted seriously elsewhere. Once other countries started giving proper training to women then the drawbacks of the US structure become apparent?

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                                      Originally posted by Etienne View Post

                                      I wonder if that explains how the USWNT has fallen off it's pedestal. That training approach was (more than) enough when women's football wasn't promoted seriously elsewhere. Once other countries started giving proper training to women then the drawbacks of the US structure become apparent?
                                      I don't follow women's football that closely. He writes about the growth of European club academies and how much those academies have transformed women's football. The college system (esp. University of North Carolina) was the US academy system. The US women still win a lot but the gap has closed. The US were out in front because colleges took women's football serious (again, esp UNC because they saw Title IX coming). It was noticeable to me how poor the US women were in front of goal during this last WC. Moreover, and this is certainly not unique to US women's football since I rant about it from time to time about men's football, but the lack of a creative #10 was also apparent.

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                                        I'm on an email list for Stanchion Books. They are organizing another London Football Market on December 9th. Perhaps of interest to anyone living in London who frequents this thread.

                                        They listed this book about South American football in their email update this week. I'll have to chase this down after the pile of books thins a bit. https://www.google.com/books/edition...sec=frontcover

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                                          It's published by Pitch, so I'd seriously recommend reading a sample first, if available. Most of their books are poorly written and barely edited, but occasionally there's a gem.

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                                            Just finished Martin O'Neill's autobiography On Days Like These. It's quite engaging, with a few interesting peeks behind the curtain, including the absolutely extraordinary behaviour of Brian Clough during one particular (ultimately failed) transfer negotiation. There are a few bits and pieces from his career that seem really significant but that he just casually mentions with a single sentence, including a court case or two and the fact he was approached about the England manager's job, which you'd really like to hear more about. I would also have liked to have read a little more about how he prepared for his career in management, but that is just portrayed as someone offering a job and him taking it while he was in non-football employment after ending his playing career, with a brief mention of having done a three-week coaching course. Perhaps that's how it did actually work out in those days and there's not a lot more to it.

                                            His character is rather revealed, perhaps to no great surprise, with most anecdotes and descriptions of other people ending up with a falling out of some description, although to be fair a lot of the potentially broken relationships do seem to be fixed at later meetings. That said, it is interesting to see who does (and more pertinently doesn't) get a mention in the acknowledgements at the end of the book. The final chapter, dedicated to his time as Ireland manager, does have a hint of Father Ted's Golden Cleric acceptance speech, as a fair chunk of it is griping about the Irish media. Anyway, it's nice to hear some of the stories from his perspective, and to get a sense of the pride and passion he has in his work. Not sure I'd say my opinion of him (mildly positive) has changed much having read the book, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

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                                              How does he rate the 1982 French side he played against? Does he have a "best team I saw"?

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                                                While acknowledging that France were brilliant, his main takeaway from that game seems to be that if his goal had not been unfairly ruled out for offside, the North would have won. The other amusing revelation (for me personally) that I forgot to mention was that it turns out he was a school contemporary of my dad - Dad would have been in his final year there when young O'Neill was in his first.

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                                                  Just read "The World's Biggest Cash Machine" by Chris Blackhurst. It's about the business end of Manchester United, from about the time it was listed on the stock exchange until today (lthough inconveniently it ends right in the middle of the Ratcliffe/Qatar stuff). It's not really a football book, tbh. I learned some stuff about the Rock of Gibraltar story that I didn't know before. And I came away thikning the Glazers might actually be financial geniuses (it takes skill to keep that many plates spinning for that long), which was not the author's intent. But flipping through the notes at the back, I suspect a lot of this has been covered before in books I haven't read, like Mihir Bose's Manchester Disunited. So, probably, give it a miss.

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                                                    Continuing with my reviews of books published a long time ago: I finished Charlie Connelly's London Fields. The subtitle (A Journey Though Football's Metroland) helps a bit, but only a bit. Basically, he sets out to study football in London. He notes in the intro that there isn't a central thesis; the book is more of a snapshot of the 1998-1999 season.

                                                    He is a good writer, each chapter is interesting on its own, but the book doesn't really make any sense as a book. The chapters are organized following each round of the FA Cup (mostly seeing games live in London but later watching in pubs or going to White Hart Lane to watch on a big screen when Spurs were away). In between these chapters, he interviews different people affiliated with the game (London FA, David Elleray about refereeing, the full time staff member for Arsenal's women's team). Then he ends with a criticism of Sky and football becoming televised spectacle even though he chose in the last few chapters to watch on TV instead of going to the games.

                                                    To fit the book into present times, it feels like it would be broken up: blog with FA Cup match reports, the narrative chapters that grow from the interviews would fit in the Blizzard, critique of TV in WSC. As a book, as I wrote above, it doesn't really hang together. But I'm glad I read it.

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