THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

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

 

Forty years in the commentary box
Xby John MotsonX
XVirgin, £18.99X
Reviewed by Taylor Parkes
From WSC 274 December 2009 

Buy this book

 


If you disregard the alarming cover, on which Motty appears to be offering you outside for a fight, this exhaustive autobiography is more or less what you’d expect. Spanning a gruelling 386 pages – the last 65 just listing the games over which Motson has jabbered and chuckled – at its best it’s warm and charming. At its worst, it’s slightly deranged. Mostly, it’s boring.

by Ossie Ardiles
Bantam Press, £18.99
Reviewed by Adam Powley
From WSC 275 January 2010

Buy this book

 


There’s a telling description of Ossie Ardiles that the World Cup winner recounts early on in this suitably idiosyncratic book. His unnamed former manager at Huracán joked: “You know what number you should be wearing? You should be wearing a question mark on your back!” Difficult to tackle on the pitch, Ardiles is similarly elusive to pin down on the page. His intelligence and insight is obvious but the reader is left with only a partial portrait.

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

Buy this book

 


“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.

The Gerry Hitchens Story
From Mine to Milan
by Simon Goodyear
Breedon, £16.99
Reviewed by Matthew Barker
From WSC 275 January 2010

Buy this book

 

 

 

William Garbutt
The Father of Italian Football
by Paul Edgerton
Sportsbooks, £7.99
Reviewed by Matthew Barker
From WSC 275 January 2010

Buy this book

 


Two books telling the neglected stories of two Englishmen whose reputations and legacies have always been more appreciated in Italy than in their native country. Gerry Hitchens made his name as a striker with Cardiff City and Aston Villa. A goalscoring performance for England against Italy bought him to the attention of Inter and a move to Milan in 1961. After 18 months of mixed success he left for Torino, before moving on to Atalanta and Cagliari. In total he spent eight years in Italy, returning to the UK and Worcester City in 1969. He died in 1983 during an amateur game, aged 48.

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

Buy this book

 


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.

by Davie Hay
Black & White, £17.99
Reviewed by Graham McColl
From WSC 276 February 2010

Buy this book

 


One of the “Lisbon Lion cubs” groomed to replace Celtic’s European Cup winners, Davie Hay’s three departures from Celtic Park were almost as significant as his achievements there. Eased out to Chelsea in 1974 after going on strike, in 1987 he became the first Celtic manager to be sacked and was sacked again, when assistant general manager, during the club’s turbulent 1990s rebirth.

A Plymouth Argyle Story
by Paul Roberts
The History Press, £14.99
Reviewed by Josh Widdicombe
From WSC 276 February 2010

Buy this book

 


When Plymouth recently put forward its bid to become a World Cup city you can bet the word “potential” appeared pretty regularly between the matt-finish covers of its proposal. Plymouth Argyle’s history is scarred with repeated failures to fulfil this somewhat abstract notion, never more gloriously than in the managerial reign of Peter Shilton.

50 Great Cup Upsets
by Derek Watts
Book Guild, £12.99
Reviewed by Terry Staunton
From WSC 276 February 2010

Buy this book

 


The return of a certain country of perceived footballing minnows to the world stage this summer is likely to trigger some dewy-eyed reminiscences in the north-east of England. Bizarre as it may sound to younger fans, there is a corner of Middlesbrough that is forever North Korea.

by Steve Pitts
Pennant Books, £9.99
Reviewed by Pete Green
From WSC 276 February 2010

Buy this book

 


As with Pete Doherty, Kerry Katona and Amy Winehouse, so with Paul Gascoigne: the same hypocritical combination of moral outrage and rubber-necking guarantees sales each time their descent lights up the front pages. From the national institution status of 1990, of course, Gazza had further to fall than anyone – all the way to Kettering Town, where he fetched up in 2005, installed as celebrity manager by incoming 20-something chairman Imraan Ladak and sacked eight games later, accused of almost daily indiscretions as the drinking continued.

by Mark Hodkinson
Pomona, £9.99
Reviewed by Harry Pearson
From WSC 242 Apr 07

Buy this book

 


Mark Hodkinson’s funny and poignant new book is a deftly written account of coming of age in a scruffy north-of-England town, Rochdale – “built to be rained upon or swathed in mist, joyous in a sulk” – in which football plays its part, not in any particularly pivotal way but simply as part of the fabric of growing up.