From Chapman to Wenger - The Unofficial Story
by Brian Glanville
JR Books, £18.99
Reviewed by Cameron Carter
From WSC 277 March 2010

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Many histories have been written of Arsenal, but there are few that have the same personal touch as this one. At 19, Brian Glanville persuaded Cliff Bastin that he should ghost the winger’s memoirs and he has continued to write honestly and incisively about the game ever since.

The Remarkable Rise of Exeter City
by Nick Spencer
Nick Spencer, £12.50
Reviewed by Howard Pattison
From WSC 278 April 2010

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According to this book, supporters of Exeter City bought their football club in a jewellery shop. It is to be supposed that they left the premises, like so many other customers, wondering to themselves what on earth they had just done. But in 2003 the circumstances were so dire that the Trust felt they had no option but to run the club themselves.

Playing To Win
The Autobiography
by Dave Whelan
Aurum Press, £18.99
Reviewed by Ashley Shaw
From WSC 272 October 2009 

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Mild And Bitter Were The Days
Wigan 1970
by Ken Barlow, £9.99 
Reviewed by Ashley Shaw
From WSC 272 Oct 2009 

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It’s easy to have a pop at Dave Whelan. An old-school Tory businessman with a “pull yourselves up by the bootstraps” philosophy, he has recently taken on a rent-a-quote personality, a reliable fall-back for Sky Sports News on a slow news day. His book, like the man, is a plain-speaking offering that might irk some. 

The Real Story of Brian Clough at Leeds United
by Phil Rostron
Mainstream, £12.99
Reviewed by Duncan Young
From WSC 273 November 2009 

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The spine of this book by experienced Leeds United journalist Phil Rostron promises “the real story of Brian Clough at Leeds United”. The title and timing suggest that inside the reader will discover truths that were glossed over by David Peace in his dramatisation of that famously short tenure.

Got To Be There
Part One 1964-1987
by Dave Burnley
Dawber, £10.00
Reviewed by Alan Tomlinson
From WSC 274 December 2009 

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Big Club, Small Town & Me
The epic story of Burnley’s meteoric rise to the Premiership
by Brendan Flood with Stuart Wilkin
TH Media, £9.99
Reviewed by Alan Tomlinson
From WSC 274 December 2009 

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Before and on October 18, 2009, the UK’s sport media focused upon what some called the “cotton-town derby” – Blackburn Rovers versus Burnley – that would establish “bragging rights” in east Lancashire. The two clubs were founder members of the Football League in 1888, but had not met in a top-flight fixture for over 40 years. It was an eerie atmosphere walking to Ewood Park from Lower Darwen, as the blue-and-white of Blackburn dominated the streets, one shirt announcing “Burnley fans eat bananas with their feet”. The 2,800 Burnley supporters were bussed in with a police escort. During this 11-mile journey passengers were abused from the windows of respectable Blackburn residences. On arrival buses were cordoned off by lines of police, preventing any contact with the visiting supporters. “How many of you are on duty for this?” I asked a young policewoman. “All of us... They’ve cancelled everyone’s day off.”

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

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“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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

A Clueless American Sportswriter Bumbles Through English Football
by Chuck Culpepper
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £16.99
Reviewed by David Wangerin
From WSC 249 November 2007 

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The disaffected fan will readily identify with the first eight pages of Chuck Culpepper’s book, a catalogue of much that is wrong with American sport, which the Virginia-born expatriate claims left him afflicted with “Acute Sportswriter Malaise”, the product of “a 14-year career immersed in a vat of drivel, banality and corruption, especially drivel”. His conclusion – “sport sucks, but I’d hate to live without it” – could be a motto for the 21st century.

The Untold Story of Manchester United, 1919-1932
by Justin Blundell
Empire, £10.95
Reviewed by Joyce Woolridge
From WSC 245 July 2007 

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Manchester United’s recent affluence has been built upon two things: a ground that, according to Simon Inglis, has enjoyed one of the most “unhampered situations” of any major English stadium and two modern periods of success, under Matt Busby then Alex Ferguson. However, the move to Old Trafford in 1910, though it began auspiciously with the winning of United’s second title the following season, came close to putting the club out of business. It was poor timing to build a £60,000 stadium just before the outbreak of the First World War and the subsequent suspension of League football, though the wealthy brewer, John Davies, who undertook the relocation could hardly have known what lay in store.

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