THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

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

 

Football, Faith and Me
by Linvoy Primus with Peter Jeffs
Legendary, £18.99
Reviewed by Matthew Brown
From WSC 252 February 2008 

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The autobiographies of footballers tend to be much the same: the humble beginnings and boyhood dreams, the youth-team triumphs and early rejections, the lower-league obscurity and later successes. This one is no different, tracing the ups and downs of Linvoy Primus’s life story from his east London childhood to rejection by Charlton to the comings and goings of form, injury, managers and team-mates as he slowly moved up the ranks from Barnet to Reading to Portsmouth.

The Andy McLaren Story
by Andy McLaren with Mark Guidi
Mainstream, £9.99
Reviewed by Neil Forsyth
From WSC 252 February 2008 

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A football autobiography that opens with the subject considering suicide then loops back to sexual abuse in childhood is going to be a more demanding read than the standard one you would expect from the genre. For Scottish player Andy McLaren, this book reflects an often calamitous past. As well as the tragic abuse, there is a staggering line of self-destructiveness through a career that should have produced more than a Scottish Cup winner’s medal.

The England Women's Story
by Natalia Sollohub & Catherine Etoe

Tempus, £14.99
Reviewed by Pete Green
From WSC 252 February 2008 

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If women’s football still lacks credibility in the minds of many fans and journalists (of both genders), its advocates can also tend to hinder the cause by suspending their critical faculties. “It was a difficult chance,” pleaded a chivalrous Gavin Peacock during the 2007 World Cup, after England’s Eni Aluko screwed horribly wide of an open goal against Japan. As former players, Natalia Sollohub and Catherine Etoe slip easily into a similar cheerleading role – but readers looking for a basic primer on the England team rather than rigorous punditry will find their book a breezily efficient ­introduction.

The Autobiography
by Barry Davies
Headline, £8.99
Reviewed by Harry Pearson
From WSC 251 January 2008 

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“The Tiber had flowed into the Olympic Stadium and its colour was red.” This description of the 1977 European Cup final could, I think it fair to say, have come from only one man: Barry Davies. It bears all the veteran BBC commentator’s distinctive tics: portentousness and classical allusion are married in a sentence that at first reading seems to make no sense, but which after careful study is discovered to make absolutely no sense whatsoever. That to many people a red Tiber will conjure up images not of Rome and Liverpool, but of Enoch Powell is the collateral damage of his bombast.

Boardroom Truths About The Beautiful Game
by Peter Ridsdale
Macmillan, £18.99
Reviewed by Duncan Young
From WSC 251 January 2008 

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On the face of it, Peter Ridsdale’s account of his life at Leeds – and especially the events that led to him leaving the club – is a hard sell. It’s light on sensational revelations, supporters at his current club, Cardiff City, will have little interest and Leeds fans in general regard him with views ranging between ­disappointment and fury.

A Footballer Apart
by Graeme Le Saux

Harper Sport, £8.99
Reviewed by Mike Ticher
From WSC 251 January 2008 

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Graeme Le Saux is not a particularly remarkable man, and this is not a particularly remarkable book, but it throws up intriguing issues about football culture over the past 20 years. The contrast between his ordinariness and the extraordinary treatment he received tells us a lot about what a closed and vicious world football can be.

Sunderland: A Club Transformed
by Jonathan Wilson

Orion, £16.99
Reviewed by Ed Upright
From WSC 251 January 2008 

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The Irish Uprising: How Keano and the Mighty Quinn saved Sunderland
by Andy Dawson
Sportsbooks, £10.99

Reviewed by Ed Upright
From WSC 251 January 2008 

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Support for the Northern Ireland peace process seems to be gathering pace on Wearside – at least if you judge by name changes to some of Sunderland’s least welcoming pubs. One such hostelry, always known for the pro-Unionist nature of its clientele, is now named after Sunderland’s current manager, whose Irish national pride is well documented. This transformation is only one example of the way the explosion of interest since Roy Keane’s appointment has changed perceptions both inside and outside the region.

Studs! The Greatest Retro Football Annual the World Has Ever Seen
edited by Barney Ronay
Ebury, £9.99
Reviewed by Taylor Parkes
From WSC 239 January 2007 

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Football Handbook – The Glory Years
Marshall Cavendish, £9.99

Reviewed by Taylor Parkes
From WSC 239 January 2007 

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As the Premiership becomes an increasingly remote circus, the primary colours and brutal joy of Old Football seem more appealing by the day. The fan of a certain age starts keening for the past – because at least it’s our past – and Christmas offers the chance to indulge in nostalgia without the slightly queasy feeling of having to go out and buy it ourselves.

A Life in Football
by Egon Theiner & Elisabeth Schlammerl

Liberties Press, £10.99
Reviewed by Jonathan O'Brien
From WSC 259 September 2008 

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Giovanni Trapattoni couldn’t have enjoyed a smoother entrance to the Republic of Ireland job. An initial whirlwind of adulatory obeisance was followed by two inept friendly performances that helpfully dampened down expectations, though Trap was wily enough not to lose either game.

The True Story of Supporting the Worst Football Team in Britain
by Dave Roberts
Portico, £12.99
Reviewed by John Carter
From WSC 259 September 2008 

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Male adolescence is – among other things too toe-curling to be discussed in public – about making grown-up choices. It’s the first time we make our mark, take a stand, pledge an allegiance. The Bromley Boys is about one such choice.