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  1. #551
    longeared's Avatar
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    Owls: Sheffield Wednesday through the modern era by Tom Whitworth

    This came out about a year back but only just got round to reading. Essentially a modern history of the club, starting with a few pages covering the first 120 years then the main focus kicks in with the disaster. This bookends the story as the inquest reaches its conclusions a few pages from the finish.

    There's always a danger that club histories will disappear down a rabbit hole of "then we beat Barnsley then we got whacked by Reading then we drew with Cardiff" and the book largely avoids being a list of results, indeed at times entire playing seasons disappear in a paragraph - you won't find a mention of beating Leeds 6-0 in January 2014 for example even though it would have been relatively straightforward to add to the text. What there is a lot of is detailing the boardroom goings on at the club over the years and it can be seen how a sequence of poor decisions led to the decline of the club. There's undoubtedly an element of the author wanting to present people he likes in a positive light - Lee Strafford certainly gets a more favourable write up than I would have given him - but an unspoken theme of the book is the "ten bob millionaires" who ran the club for most of the period and who often appear more concerned with protecting their own position. We also get to see how the Co-Operative bank effectively ran the club for a decade and managed to finally steer the club away from the old guard and into the hands of Milan Mandaric.

    The book ends in a slightly odd fashion, presumably because of print deadlines. We go through the entire 2015-16 season including the inquest then the play offs get tacked into a page of results afterwards. There's a few points in the book I'd argue the toss on, but it'd be nice to see the author reissue the book in a few years, perhaps when the court cases have finished and the more long term effects of the current owner are becoming apparent.

  2. #552
    Satchmo Distel's Avatar
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    How does he handle the local rivalry with Sheff Utd?

  3. #553
    Satchmo Distel's Avatar
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    Imlach's book is awesome. His writing flows so effortlessly across time and space between the personal and the political. When he is writing about Sweden 1958, for example, you feel you are right there; a few minutes later you're back in Lossiemouth or on the Nottingham Forest training ground.

    My favourite section is on the war matches played in Elgin: Stan Matthews, Bill Shankley, Stan Mortensen. The lives of the wives, stuck in an unequal marriage to husbands with oppressive professional contracts, are also captured with empathy.

  4. #554
    Satchmo Distel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    I realise I've said this before, but the Argentina book is superb, and isn't structured the same way as the England one. It's a lot more Behind the Curtain-like. I would recommend getting the second edition as there were one or two small errors in the first that should have been tidied up by the new one, and getting the UK edition if you can as it's substantially fuller than the US one.
    Finally got round to this. Definitely the best account of the 1958-1978 period that I have read, and fair to the greatness of the 1978 achievement whilst acknowledging that the team had its fair share of gamesmanship, such as Kempes doing a Suarez, handball on the line, against Hungary. The book also references this excellent goal from 1973

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TNHyGVyqXI0

  5. #555

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    Quote Originally Posted by sw2bureau View Post
    Bought, read and thoroughly enjoyed Roger Hermiston's "Clough & Revie" book last week, the stuff about old Middlesbrough being particularly enjoyable for me - but there's a whole lot more to it than that.
    I'm really enjoying this so far. Halfway through (they've stopped playing, started managing), which is about the point where a lesser, lazier book would start. Recycling the well-known stories of Clough and Revie would be easy, but Hermiston gets off the internet and chases up dozens of former players and others who knew them. Some would have passed away since, so the book was probably written just in time.

    By going back before they were managers, Revie's reputation gets revised more positively. He comes across as a decent human being, before he drank the potion and transformed into "dirty Leeds".

  6. #556
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Thistle View Post
    Here's my list of 'goalkeeper books' I've read

    Trautmann's Journey - Catrine Clay
    More Than Somewhat - Bruce Grobbelaar
    An Autobiography - Pat Jennings
    the Boy Who Wanted to Fly - Don Mullan
    the Incredible Adventures of the Unstoppable Keeper - Lutz Pfannenstiel
    The Keeper of Dreams - Ronald Reng
    A Life too Short - Ronald Reng
    The Binman Chronicles - Neville Southall
    Lost in France - Spencer Vignes
    Behind the Network - Bob Wilson
    The Outsider- A History of the Goalkeeper - Jonathan Wilson

    Recommendations welcome. Also if anyone wants to rehome books by or about goalkeepers to a loving bookshelf then I'm happy to take them.
    This is tremendously gauche of me, but, well, imp seems to have liked it:

    http://www.wsc.co.uk/reviews/64-Play...386-small-time

  7. #557
    Patrick Thistle's Avatar
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    OK, gloveguy, I will try and track that down. Don't apologise for the gaucheness.

  8. #558
    danielmak's Avatar
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    I just finished Steve Leach's book, Conference Season. The book was published in 2014. Four years from a publication date is about as close as I can get in terms of reading for pleasure. Usually I'm about 10+ years behind. The book covers the 2012-13 Conference season and Leach visits all 24 grounds. He frames the book by discussing how he became a Manchester City fan as a kid but has become disillusioned with the club after the new regime purchased the club and by discussing an early exposure to non-league football in the mid-1950s (or clubs that were in the lower division that would eventually fall down the pyramid). Each chapter follows a similar structure: a description of his journey to the city where the game is happening, some information about the city itself, some discussion of the club and its history, some discussion of the stadium and it's feel as well as its amenities, a short match report, and some concluding reflection about the overall experience of the match/where the team might be headed. He integrates local news reports and non-league publications.

    In general, I found the book to be an enjoyable read. I live in the US. Although I have heard of many of the teams discussed, I have only seen a few play in televised FA Cup matches and/or read about the sides in WSC. I have written before that I tend to be more interested in football books that can blend a focus on the culture of football, travel writing, and fan's experiences versus club histories or player/manager biographies so this book kind of checks most of those boxes. The writing is less literary than some of the books I have enjoyed most (e.g., Parkes, Pearson, and Davies come to mind), but I liked the general structure and was able to learn a bit about the clubs and their home cities. If you know a lot about smaller sides/non-league football then the book probably won't offer much new information, but for me it was a good read during my commute to/from work the past few weeks.

  9. #559
    Satchmo Distel's Avatar
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    Passion of the People? Football in South America by Tony Mason (1995) - good on the history and sociology of the game, especially up to 1958. A bit superficial on post-1958 World Cups (1982 is ignored completely). Favours Pele over Maradona, so will displease some.

    Out of His Skin by Dave Hill (2001 WSC edition) - has more power to shock now than it did then because it must be comprehensible to anyone under 35 that, for well over a decade, commentators and officials would just look the other way when a large crowd was racially abusing a player. The comments by Grobbelaar and Tommy Smith are unsurprising but impossible to excuse by context or "it was part of his background." But again the more decent players were guilty of looking the other way. Barnes being scapegoated for, say, Euro 88 would be less likely today but not impossible, as we might have seen something not dissimilar happen to Raheem Sterling if England had met a good team earlier in the 2018 KO stages. Very good chapter on Liverpool v Everton games in the 1987-88 season and the BBC ignoring the racism in the one it showed live; infact it's much worse than that, with pundits praising the traditional good-natured banter of the fans, as if the cameras were at a totally different, fictional event.
    Last edited by Satchmo Distel; 31-07-2018 at 21:53.

  10. #560
    Patrick Thistle's Avatar
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    So I finished Pavel is a Geordie last night. If you're going to read it, be prepared for stream of consciousness writing which goes into some strange tangents. The last three chapters are filler - two are the 'greatest teams I played with' cliches and one is all about how a coach he was working with at the time of writing should be given a job in the Premier League and slagging off Mike Ashley.

    Some highlights:
    Pep Guardiola probably used nandrolone (Pavel certainly hints at this)
    His hatred of Kenny Dalglish is quite amusing in its vitriol
    Some insights into Kevin Keegan's management style
    There's some throwaway bathos when he talks about his favourite music and such, and how he was disappointed when he went to a Chris Rea concert. He then adds as an aside that he also went to see The Lighthouse Family once, which just felt hilariously inconsequential.

    It's hard to read the book without feeling a sense of poignancy, given that he died suddenly the year after it was published.

    Lowlights:
    There's lots of 'the banter was great', 'he's a great guy' etc etc about players
    There could have been more order and structure to his story - he mentions not playing at Euro 96 several times, but doesn't talk about his international career in any detail.

  11. #561
    Sam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Thistle View Post
    Some highlights:
    Pep Guardiola probably used nandrolone (Pavel certainly hints at this)
    Hardly the revelation of the century, given Guardiola tested positive for nandrolone in 2001.

  12. #562
    longeared's Avatar
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    PT, does Srnicek's book give much space to his season and a half at Wednesday?

    Bought Terry Curran's autobiography for 99p from a charity shop today. When it came out a few years back I assumed it was going to be a "PC, what's that all about" kind of affair but then ad hoc gave it a positive review in WSC so it's worth a go. Thought the layout looked rather familiar and indeed it's from the same publishers as Brian Laws's book.

  13. #563
    Patrick Thistle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    Hardly the revelation of the century, given Guardiola tested positive for nandrolone in 2001.
    He was subsequently cleared though. Pavel implies he shouldn't have been and that he used it at Barcelona.

    @longeared Short answer: no

  14. #564
    Iíve just ordered Wembley Wonders, the story of Bristol Cityís 1986 Freight Rover Trophy final win which was the first game I ever attended. Iím looking forward to reading the interviews with my uncle who played in the game and his teammates including David Moyes, Keith Curle and Alan Walsh.

  15. #565
    danielmak's Avatar
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    Well, I've been meaning to write something substantive about Ian Plenderleith's The Quiet Fan and time just keeps getting away from me. This is the best I can do with a holiday approaching in the US and a hectic travel schedule. A few months back I was talking with a work colleague who reads a lot of history and loves autobiographies of "important" historical figures. I told him that autobiographies aren't really my thing, but upon reflection I realize that I have read a lot of autobiographical books in recent years. All use football as an entry point into a memoir. I don't know if Ian would go with the memoir tag, but he's certainly using football to reflect on his life and his life to reflect on football. Of course, post Fever Pitch there have been a lot of books that fit this genre but good storytelling will separate (for me, at least) what's worth some attention and what seems to just use first person narrative.

    There's a point early in the book where Ian notes that there are range of industries that want us to think that football is very important and he's critical of that marketing/discourse. And on the other end of the spectrum we have people who think football is important because the sport is the context for joining a gang. But really this is a book about football being important. It's not important in the ways that the sport is marketed or because the stadium is a place where people can beat on one another. Instead, football becomes a context for reflecting on personal experience, local and regional geographic nuances, social and community connection. It is also an opportunity for some level of escape (even in times of personal or national or international tragedies). And football provides a context for learning about one's own identity: what you believe in, how you try on a different sense of self (here I am thinking about his discussion of feeling Scottish but Scots viewing him as English).

    The other thing that stands out to me about this book is that holding on to different footballing experiences provides a lens to reflect on one's past. For example, having old programmes helps inspire memories about football experiences and then opens a door to other personal memories and stories. Of course, football and football artifacts aren't the only tools to help with storytelling (photos, scrapbooks, other kinds of gifts that people hold onto all serve the same purpose) but for a football fan and for a football writer, the junk that accumulates is really a collection of storytelling aids versus just being junk in the attic.

    In the end, I really enjoyed reading this book. I spend way too much time watching football and talking with other people about football. I could care less about "transfer deadline day" or which player is sponsored by which shoe company (the kind of big football that Ian identifies as marketed as important), but football is important at the level of everyday life for me. This book helps narrate how that level of importance takes shape for him and by extension for many other (quiet) football fans. I'm sure I have more to say about the book and the chapters that make up the book but I've been buried with work and I'm a bit fried. Hopefully others will chime in about the book and I'll add to that discussion.

  16. #566
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    Many thanks for that, dm. PM for you.

  17. #567
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    I reviewed Barney Ronay's new book about the 2018 World Cup here.

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