Reviews from When Saturday Comes. Follow the link to buy the book from Amazon.

 by Archie Macpherson
Black & White, £17.99
Reviewed by Archie MacGregor
From WSC 278 April 2010

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As unlikely alliances go, learning that Archie Macpherson was once good pals with Jeremy Paxman during their days on breakfast TV in the late 1980s must rank right up there as one of the most bizarre double acts in the history of tele­vision. There's no suggestion that they've remained close buddies ever since, rather the rapport was a fleeting mutual support mechanism designed to help both of them deal with the mind-numbing ordeal of early morning broadcasting. Look what it did to Frank Bough after all.

My Story
by Ralph Milne with Gary Robertson
Black And White, £14.99
Reviewed by Neil Forsyth
From WSC 277 March 2010

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In August 1991 Ralph Milne travelled to London and met a Chinese football agent in Green Park. After changing into a tracksuit behind a tree, Milne dribbled past the Chinese a few times before they switched to practising passing. Milne launched the ball with such force it caught the agent flush in the face, sending him into the mud. He got to his feet with the news that Milne had earned a short-term deal to play in Hong Kong. A few months before Green Park Milne had been on Man Utd’s books. A few years before that, he’d been one of the most exciting Scottish players of his generation. But a few years before that, he’d discovered alcohol.

The Alan Curtis Story
by Alan Curtis, with Tim Johnson and Stuart Sprake
Mainstream, £17.99
Reviewed by Paul Ashley-Jones
From WSC 278 April 2010

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Having grown up watching Alan Curtis from the terraces of the North Bank at Vetch Field, I expected to enjoy this book and wasn't disappointed. Curtis had three separate spells with Swansea as well as playing for Leeds, Southampton and Cardiff City (where he was voted Player of the Year despite his background) while winning 35 caps for Wales.

A History of the People's Team in the Workers' State
by Robert Edelman
Cornell University Press, £21.95
Reviewed by Jonathan Wilson
From WSC 278 April 2010

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Listen to some fans of Spartak Moscow and they would have you believe that their club almost single-handedly defied the state machine, that the 12 league titles they won in Soviet times were each clear and decisive blows for liberty and independence. Spartak's founder and long-time president, Nikolai Starostin, is hailed as some sort of sporting saint, whose years in a prison camp in Siberia were a form of martyrdom for the spirit of freedom he kindled in others.

Searching for the real Steve Coppell
by Stuart Roach
Know The Score Books, £17.99
Reviewed by Roger Titford
From WSC 277 March 2010

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Is Steve Coppell interesting enough to merit a second biography? Reading-based journalist Stuart Roach believes he is and seeks to add spice with the sub-title “Searching for the real Steve Coppell”. As an organising principle this fails simply because there are no false or pretend Steve Coppells. What you hear from Steve is what there is – it’s one of his distinguishing characteristics. After 200 pages Roach predictably admits defeat – he “remains a footballing enigma”.

Playing To Win
The Autobiography
by Dave Whelan
Aurum Press, £18.99
Reviewed by Ashley Shaw
From WSC 272 October 2009 

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Mild And Bitter Were The Days
Wigan 1970
by Ken Barlow, £9.99 
Reviewed by Ashley Shaw
From WSC 272 Oct 2009 

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It’s easy to have a pop at Dave Whelan. An old-school Tory businessman with a “pull yourselves up by the bootstraps” philosophy, he has recently taken on a rent-a-quote personality, a reliable fall-back for Sky Sports News on a slow news day. His book, like the man, is a plain-speaking offering that might irk some. 

The Real Story of Brian Clough at Leeds United
by Phil Rostron
Mainstream, £12.99
Reviewed by Duncan Young
From WSC 273 November 2009 

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The spine of this book by experienced Leeds United journalist Phil Rostron promises “the real story of Brian Clough at Leeds United”. The title and timing suggest that inside the reader will discover truths that were glossed over by David Peace in his dramatisation of that famously short tenure.

Got To Be There
Part One 1964-1987
by Dave Burnley
Dawber, £10.00
Reviewed by Alan Tomlinson
From WSC 274 December 2009 

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Big Club, Small Town & Me
The epic story of Burnley’s meteoric rise to the Premiership
by Brendan Flood with Stuart Wilkin
TH Media, £9.99
Reviewed by Alan Tomlinson
From WSC 274 December 2009 

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Before and on October 18, 2009, the UK’s sport media focused upon what some called the “cotton-town derby” – Blackburn Rovers versus Burnley – that would establish “bragging rights” in east Lancashire. The two clubs were founder members of the Football League in 1888, but had not met in a top-flight fixture for over 40 years. It was an eerie atmosphere walking to Ewood Park from Lower Darwen, as the blue-and-white of Blackburn dominated the streets, one shirt announcing “Burnley fans eat bananas with their feet”. The 2,800 Burnley supporters were bussed in with a police escort. During this 11-mile journey passengers were abused from the windows of respectable Blackburn residences. On arrival buses were cordoned off by lines of police, preventing any contact with the visiting supporters. “How many of you are on duty for this?” I asked a young policewoman. “All of us... They’ve cancelled everyone’s day off.”

by Mick Kelly
Pennant Books, £9.99
Reviewed by John Carter
From WSC 275 January 2010

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“May you live in interesting times” goes the Chinese saying and Queens Park Rangers supporters certainly do. They’ve had a chairman ambushed at gunpoint, been taken over by a consortium that, temporarily, made them “the richest club in the world” and welcomed seven different managers, all in four years.

by Simon Hughes
Trinity Mirror, £14.99
Reviewed by John Williams
From WSC 275 January 2010

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Bill Shankly once told his captain Tommy Smith: “Managing a football club is like drowning: sublimely peaceful and pleasant once the struggle is over.” Shanks always got a little melancholy as the summer months stretched ahead with no football action. He also said wisely that the most important quality a manager must have is “the natural ability to pick a player”. Many of today’s Liverpool supporters might question the current incumbent on this score.

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