Trouble and takeover at the world’s richest football club
by Mihir Bose
Aurum Press, £18.99
Reviewed by Adam Brown
From WSC 244 June 2007 

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The spate of foreign businessmen buying English clubs has received little serious attention from the nation’s hacks who seem to regard the process in the same way that a child looks at a glittery bauble on a Christmas tree. Bose, now the BBC’s sports editor, should be congratulated for providing this incredibly detailed account of the failed BSkyB bid to buy Manchester United in 1999 and the successful Glazer family takeover in 2005.

The Club That Wouldn’t Die
by Phil Whalley
SportsBooks, £16.99
Reviewed by Martin Atherton
From WSC 241 March 2007

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In one of football’s regular bizarre coincidences, when Oxford United were relegated from the Football League in 2006, they were replaced by Accrington Stanley. Stanley were the club whose place Oxford had taken following the former’s resignation from the League in 1962 due to financial difficulties. There was no club, no team and no ground by 1963, but Phil Whalley’s book tells the remarkable story of the resurrection of Stanley and their long and often fraught climb back to the top.

A Football History
by Gary James
James Ward, £21.95

Reviewed by Joyce Woolridge
From WSC 258 August 2008 

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Gary James’s ambitious aim is to tell the history of football in the Manchester area and thereby establish its importance to the city and its environs. The game was banned there 400 years ago because the inhabitants had been “greatly wronged... by a company of lewd and disordered persons... breaking many men’s glass windows at their pleasures and other great enormities”. As James points out, the authorities have not always been sensible of the myriad benefits of what became the region’s favourite pastime. You can hear James’s exasperation as he writes: “It says much about how the early history of football has been viewed in Manchester that the only plaque commemorating the history of [Manchester] City is actually incorrectly positioned.”

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

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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.

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

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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.

A Search for the Truth
by Brian Belton

Pennant Books, £16.99
Reviewed by Darron Kirkby
From WSC 254 April 2008 

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In Len Shackleton’s autobiography, a chapter entitled “What the average director knows about football” famously comprised a blank page. Brian Belton, on the other hand, manages to eke more than 270 pages out of Terence Brown’s 15-year tenure as chairman of West Ham United.

Glasgow and Manchester – Two Football Clubs, One Passion
by Frank Worrall
Mainstream, £9.99
Reviewed by Jonathan O'Brien
From WSC 253 March 2008 

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Two bad books mashed into one inedible puree of diametrically opposed flavours, Celtic United is the literary equivalent of one of those garish scarves you see being waved at European fixtures between Celtic and any English side, with half the garment taken up with their name rendered in green and white, and the other half bearing the name of their opponents, usually in red and white.

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.

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.

The Making of a Modern Superclub
by Alex Fynn & Kevin Whitcher

Vision Sports, £16.99

Reviewed by Cameron Carter
From WSC 260 October 2008 

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At last – a football book that reflects the spirit of the age. Arsènal – The Making of a Modern Superclub is a forensic account of the boardroom rumblings that have produced a world brand that sells property in London, beer in India and credit cards in Hong Kong. And 90 minutes of football in England on a Saturday.

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