THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

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

 

Inside the British Derby
by Douglas Beattie
Know the Score, £16.99
Reviewed by Csaba Abrahall
From WSC 257 July 2008 

Buy this book

 


Together with the admission that it was watching Celtic and Rangers fans beating the crap out of each other that led to his interest in the subject, the photograph of typical 1980s terrace brawling that adorns the cover of Douglas Beattie’s study of derby rivalry raises the fear that it will provide the setting for some standard hooliganism porn. Happily, such a fear proves to be unfounded. Although there are tales of violence dating back to an all-in scrap featuring fans, players and police in Sheffield in 1892, what Beattie – an award-winning BBC news journalist – has produced is an intelligent and well written insight into the eight biggest derbies in British football.

The Willie Miller Story
by Willie Miller with Rob Robertson

Birlinn, £14.99
Reviewed by Neil Forsyth
From WSC 256 June 2008 

Buy this book

 


For the uninitiated, Willie Miller is not a mafia overlord but a long-standing servant of Aberdeen, also known as the Dons. Miller played for the club for 19 years, before a spell as manager and his current post as director of football.

The Hidden History of the 1966 World Cup
by Martin Atherton

Meyer & Meyer, £17.95
Reviewed by Josh Widdicombe
From WSC 256 June 2008 

Buy this book

 


In 1997, FIFA paid £254,000 at auction for a replica of the Jules Rimet Trophy, possibly believing it to be the real thing. It wasn’t. Since 2000 Martin Atherton has been investigating how the incidents surrounding the theft of the trophy in 1966 led to this purchase decades later. A tale of intrigue, scheming and a black-and-white cross-breed called Pickles, it is equal parts Ealing comedy and an episode of Spooks.

by Brian Belton
John Blake, £17.99
Reviewed by David Wangerin
From WSC 256 June 2008 

Buy this book

 


We’ll leave it to West Ham fans to decide whether Ade Coker (nine appearances in three seasons), Clive Charles (14 in four) and Clyde Best (174 in seven) represent the “East End Heroes” of the title. But “Stateside Kings”? If anybody associated with America’s egregious pansy sport even approached the status of a sovereign, they certainly weren’t playing for the Boston Minutemen or the Portland Timbers.

The Autobiography
by Tommy Smith

Bantam Press, £18.99

Reviewed by David Stubbs
From WSC 256 June 2008 

Buy this book

 


“Anfield Iron” (no sniggering, London readers) is the nickname conferred on the former Liverpool captain who improbably crowned a faltering career in the 1977 European Cup final when he quick-wittedly attached his head to Steve Heighway’s blasted corner and scored the Reds’ second goal. However, although acknowledging his hardness and his willingness to intimidate young wingers by threatening to break their legs, Smith protests that he is a fair player. He was, he says, only cautioned twice in his career (although this has increased to three times by page 394). He was famously suspended for feigning an injury in a Cup-Winners Cup tie against Ferencvaros. However, Smith protests, he was only pretending to go down from a bottle hurled from the crowd having been struck by one minutes earlier, unnoticed. So all was fair, really.

The Lands that FIFA Forgot
by Steve Menary
Know the Score, £16.99

Reviewed by Jonathan Wilson
From WSC 253 March 2008 

Buy this book

 


Every country, Henry Kissinger once said, needs an army, a bank and a football team. Many of the countries discussed in Outcasts don’t have an army or a bank. Many aren’t even countries, at least not in the traditional sense. And yet all are desperate for a football team that would somehow give them legitimacy. When Tibet played Greenland in a friendly in Copenhagen, who did not see it as a strike against the Chinese authorities who would deny them statehood? And yet there is a sense in which Greenland are rather more wronged than Tibet, at least in terms of FIFA’s refusal to acknowledge them as a member.

Our George: Family Memoir of George Best
by Barbara Best with Lindy McDowell
Sidgwick & Jackson, £18.99
Reviewed by Joyce Woolridge
From WSC 255 May 2008 

Buy this book

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories of George Best
by Christopher Hilton & Ian Cole
Sportsbooks, £14.99

Reviewed by Joyce Woolridge
From WSC 255 May 2008 

Buy this book

 




These two very different books share a common theme: how George Best should be remembered, and who should determine how he is remembered. George Best produced four major autobiographies in his lifetime. The last, Blessed, was a serious attempt at putting his side of the story for posterity. In Our George, one of Best’s sisters undertakes to reclaim her brother’s memory on behalf of part of his closest family.

A History of the Corinthian Football Club
by Rob Cavallini
Stadia, £17.99
Reviewed by Harry Pearson
From WSC 255 May 2008 

Buy this book

 


Founded in 1882, Corinthian Football Club took their name not from the Greek city-state, but from a word meaning “a man of fashion and pleasure”. And right from the start pleasure was an integral part of the Corinthian ethos, with failure to attend any of the lavish meals presented to the team on their trips around Britain likely to result in a player’s expulsion from the club.

by Alex Gray
Sphere, £11.99
Reviewed by Graham McColl
From WSC 255 May 2008 

Buy this book

 


England’s tilt at the 2006 World Cup is still a “live” memory for most football fans: the last hurrah of Sven, Beckham as prima donna, Theo Walcott as team mascot, Joe Cole’s goal against Sweden, Wags dancing on tables and, of course, of Nicko Faulkner, the midfield player, since found stabbed to death in his Glasgow home, and whose obituary in the Gazette states: “He will probably be best remembered for his performance for England in the 2006 World Cup that earned him an England cap.”

The Extraordinary Football Games of Britain
by Hugh Hornby
English Heritage, £16.99
Reviewed by John Turnbull

From WSC 255 May 2008 

Buy this book

 


Staring each other down across a rutted meadow in the Scottish Borders as daylight fails, two participants in the 2006 Shrovetide football match in Denholm, Roxburghshire, might be about to re-enact Monty Python’s semaphore-based version of Wuthering Heights. The caption to the photograph on page 131 of Uppies and Downies – the latest publication in the Played in Britain series – explains that this is what the unpredictable cross-country ramble offered at that moment: a game of wits between two men – one Uppie and one Doonie – several hundred yards apart, tramping through field and wood.