THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

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

 

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

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

Buy this book

 


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 

Buy this book

 


“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 

Buy this book

 


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 

Buy this book

 


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 

Buy this book

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 

Buy this book

 

 

 

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 

Buy this book

 

 

 

 

 

Football Handbook – The Glory Years
Marshall Cavendish, £9.99

Reviewed by Taylor Parkes
From WSC 239 January 2007 

Buy this book

 

 

 

 

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 

Buy this book

 


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 

Buy this book

 


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.

A History of Football Tactics
by Jonathan Wilson
Orion, £18.99
Reviewed by Harry Pearson
From WSC 259 September 2008

Buy this book

 


To those of us who grew up reading World Soccer in the 1970s, the word “tactics” will forever conjure up the severe glasses of journalist Eric Batty, portly sage of formations and positional play, whose annual selection of a World XI invariably involved at least one player of whom the writer would observe: “For club and country he is predominantly deployed on the right wing. I have elected to play him at left-back...” In 1970, Batty wrote a book in which he presented an analysis of the styles and tactics of the teams at the Mexico World Cup. In it the author conclusively proved – by data, argument and drawings – that Brazil were the most effective side at the tournament.

Modern Russia and the People's Game
by Marc Bennetts
Virgin, £11.99

Reviewed by Csaba Abrahall
From WSC 259 September 2008 

Buy this book

 


Russia’s impressive showing at Euro 2008, following recent UEFA Cup victories for CSKA Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg, was the latest indication that Russian football, after a long period of post-Soviet underachievement, is emerging into an era of success. Marc Bennetts’ affectionate analysis of football in modern Russia is therefore a timely one.