THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

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

 

by Wilf McGuinness with Ivan Ponting
Know the Score, £17.99
Reviewed by Joyce Woolridge
From WSC 265 March 2009 

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Roy Keane’s response to his recent managerial difficulties was to grow a patriarchal, piebald beard. At least he could shave it off after a few days. Wilf McGuinness’s hair began to fall out in clumps and turn white when he was “relieved of his duties” at Manchester United and all he could do was briefly sport a trimmed ladies’ wig until an overenthusiastic Greek goal celebration dislodged it. McGuinness could teach Keano a thing or two about stress. As he says in his introduction, football has given him some tremendous highs, but has also “shattered his world” on several occasions.

An Anthology Of Modern Football Writing
edited by Christopher Davies
Know the Score, £19.99
Reviewed by Terry Staunton
From WSC 265 March 2009 

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That title’s not the best pun you’ve ever read, is it? Not nearly as clever, witty or inspired as sports headlines can be, but it’s the first word that’s the main problem: what does it say about a book when the authors are seemingly apologising on the cover? Perhaps it’s unfair to be too petty when it comes to charity projects, and a cause such as Great Ormond Street Hospital (which benefits from sales of this book) is the epitome of worthy, but the Football Writers Association’s idea of inviting nearly 70 journalists to pen a fresh piece on any aspect of the game they choose was bound to be somewhat hit-and-miss.

The Willie Johnston Story
by Tom Bullimore with Willie Johnston
Know the Score, £17.99
Reviewed by Alex Anderson
From WSC 265 March 2009 

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Featuring the most infamous hay fever remedy ever and 20 red cards in 20 years, Willie Johnston’s career is publishing gold dust. Yet by the end of this structureless, misspelled, style-free trudge of factual inaccuracies, you’re left astounded not by Johnston’s experiences but by author Tom Bullimore’s inability to provide a remotely commensurate book.

A Journey To The Heart Of Football
by William Barr
Morrow & Co, £8.99
Reviewed by Neil Rose
From WSC 265 March 2009 

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Just where is the heart of football? That is the question posed by William Barr in this slightly curious book whose title sums up the whole venture.

The Biography
by Jim White
Sphere, £18.99
Reviewed by Ashely Shaw
From WSC 266 April 2009 

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Enter the words history and Manchester United into Amazon and the mind-boggling number of results returned suggest that this subject is perhaps over-subscribed. In the last 12 months alone there have been a plethora of retrospectives – so how can a new “biography” of United be justified?

The Graham Roberts Story
by Graham Roberts with Colin Duncan
Black and White, £17.99
Reviewed by Archie MacGregor
From WSC 266 April 2009 

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In the concluding chapter of this book there’s a faintly amusing moment of DIY psychology when it’s declared that: “You either love me or hate me. There’s never been any middle ground with Graham Roberts.” It has to be said that the preceding 240 or so pages of cliche drenched text are unlikely to have inspired many to convert to the former.

Titan Books, £12.99
Reviewed by Harry Pearson
From WSC 266 April 2009 

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As a boy I always resented those bits of the comic annual that were given over not to the strips but to solid blocks of text, what my mother would term “proper stories”. It struck me that, like the bizarre habit of putting hard centres in boxes of chocolates, this was just another adult way of limiting a child’s enjoyment of life.

The Journey of a Japanese Genius
by Martin Greig
Mainstream, £16.99
Reviewed by Justin McCurry
From WSC 266 April 2009 

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Though sprightly in parts, Martin Greig’s biography of Japan’s most gifted footballer is too often the victim of the pitfalls inherent in crafting a book around protracted quotations and match reports.

The Biography of  Terry Paine
by David Bull
Hagiology, £19.95
Reviewed by Tim Springett
From WSC 267 May 2009 

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You can’t accuse the author of this excellent tome of not doing his homework, or loving his subject. David Bull, a retired social policy lecturer and lifelong Southampton fan, has penned a fully authorised biography of the player he considers to have been the best that he ever saw play for the Saints. Paine was certainly a remarkable player: 713 league appearances for Saints as they rose from the Third Division South to the top flight and remained there for eight seasons tell their own story. Likewise the 19 England caps that he won – the last against Mexico in the 1966 World Cup finals – without having kicked a ball in Division One.

The Amazing Story of the Islington Corinthians 1937-38 World Tour
by Rob Cavallini with Colin Duncan
Dog ’n’ Duck, £14.99
Reviewed by Pete Green
From WSC 267 May 2009 

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Fans sometimes like to think that football is popular across the world because it’s somehow more universally, intrinsically appealing than rugby, or baseball, or kabaddi. It’s not: it’s because of people like Tom Smith.