Memories of Matt Busby, Jimmy Murphy and Manchester United
by Keith Dewhurst
Yellow Jersey Press, £8.99
Reviewed by Joyce Woolridge
From WSC 302 April 2012

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"It seems almost incredible that the best team in Europe, and one of most thrilling in history, was run by two elderly men who had theories, put players together accordingly and then more or less let them get on with it." Those two elderly men were Matt Busby and his assistant Jimmy Murphy, the hero of Keith Dewhurst's masterly memoir of a partnership that began in a stuffy Nissen hut at the Army Recreation Centre in Bari in the summer of 1945.

A quest to reclaim the soul of football by leading the world's ultimate underdogs to glory
by Paul Watson
Profile Books, £12.99
Reviewed by Nick Dorrington
From WSC 303 May 2012

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"Pohnpei," read the Wikipedia article, "have never registered a win." That sentence alone was enough to pique the interest of frustrated football writer Paul Watson, who was sick of regurgitating news and writing profiles of players he had barely heard of. Searching for a national team bad enough to give them a chance of earning an international cap, he and flatmate Matt Conrad stumbled across Pohnpei, a tiny island in the Pacific ocean whose football team seemed to fit the bill.

Searching for the real Steve Coppell
by Stuart Roach
Know The Score Books, £17.99
Reviewed by Roger Titford
From WSC 277 March 2010

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Is Steve Coppell interesting enough to merit a second biography? Reading-based journalist Stuart Roach believes he is and seeks to add spice with the sub-title “Searching for the real Steve Coppell”. As an organising principle this fails simply because there are no false or pretend Steve Coppells. What you hear from Steve is what there is – it’s one of his distinguishing characteristics. After 200 pages Roach predictably admits defeat – he “remains a footballing enigma”.

The Autobiography of Dave Jones
by Dave Jones & Andrew Warshaw
Know The Score, £17.99
Reviewed by Tim Springett
From WSC 272 October 2009 

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Football was never the reason for writing this book. That was clear long before Dave Jones said so on page 191 out of 192. Jones states that his motivation was his desire for closure, particularly for his family, ten years after he was initially accused of child abuse while working at the Clarence House children’s home on Merseyside in the late 1980s. What could have been an interesting football history is hence told in somewhat sketchy form, as the story of the charges, the trial and swift acquittal dominates.

The inside story of Clough’s Derby days
by George Edwards
Tempus, £12.99
Reviewed by Terry Staunton
From WSC 250 December 2007

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Brian Clough was football’s first great multi-media star, an endlessly quotable mouthpiece whose fame and notoriety stretched far beyond the sport itself. He was a constant subject/target for TV impressionists, and his profile was so high that he was an obvious and welcome guest on Parkinson at a time when the show was awash with A-listers of the calibre of Robert Mitchum and Orson Welles.

The Biography
by Xavier Rivoire
Aurum, £16.99
Reviewed by David Stubbs
From WSC 248 October 2007 

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There is, among the photographs included here, a picture of Arsène Wenger in a line-up for FC Duttelheim, at the age of 11 in his native Alsace. So exactly did he look then as he does now, from the neck up at any rate, that you might suspect a mischievous bit of photoshopping. The combined, hawkish air of scrutiny but also inscrutability is already engraved on to his countenance. For Wenger, despite numerous examples cited of his thoughtfulness and considerateness, doesn’t always seem quite human. Arsenal supporters have loved and revered the man but have also found him, emotionally, to be a bit of a closed book. Which is why the rise in his spats with a succession of managers, including Glenn Roeder, Alan Pardew, Martin Jol, and, of course, Sir Alex Ferguson and José Mourinho, have almost come as a relief to some fans, despite the fact that they have coincided with a decline in the club’s fortunes.

My Story
by Neil Warnock
Hodder & Stoughton, £18.99
Reviewed by Pete Green
From WSC 248 October 2007 

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Neil Warnock should be more popular. Sure, you wouldn’t want to watch his players lamping the ball up to the big man every week, but his moaning about referees is far from unique and, in an age when distinctiveness is at a premium among managers, Warnock stands out as one of very few with a personality rather than a checklist of banalities. When most football autobiographies seem as achingly dull as their authors’ TV interviews, then, Made in Sheffield ought to shine out as Warnock lays into his long list of adversaries.

The Uncut Story of a Football Genius
by Daniel Taylor
Aurum Press, £16.99
Reviewed by Ashley Shaw
From WSC 247 September 2007 

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Daniel Taylor of the Guardian has penned a diary of the last two seasons at Manchester United from a pressman’s point of view. Rarely have two seasons brought such contrasting fortunes – after the loss of Ruud van Nistelrooy and Roy Keane in the first, most writers predicted United would struggle in the second, only for Alex Ferguson to turn the tables spectacularly with a title win that earned the astonished admiration of fans, players and journalists.

The Toughest Job in Football
by Brian Glanville
Headline, £18.99
Reviewed by Harry Pearson
From WSC 246 August 2007 

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“I didn’t see any reaction in the team. That was the thing that left me amazed; there wasn’t the rage you expect from an England team that’s losing.” So said Fabio Capello after watching Bobby Robson’s team thrashed humiliatingly by Holland at Euro 88.

20 Years with Brian Clough
by Duncan Hamilton
Fourth Estate, £14.99
Reviewed by Al Needham
From WSC 244 June 2007 

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Provided You Don’t Kiss Me starts with Hamilton as a terrified teenager in Brian Clough’s office doing an interview for a local sports paper (naturally, Clough asks more questions than the author) and ends on the sofa of his girlfriend’s Leeds flat on the day that Clough died, tearstruck over a father figure he barely realised he had. The story in between – the memoirs of nearly two decades serving as Clough’s mouthpiece in the Nottingham Evening Post – blows away anything The Damned Utd came up with.

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