The Autobiography
by Viv Anderson with Lynton Guest
Right Recordings, £17.99
Reviewed by Al Needham
From WSC 280 June 2010

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Viv Anderson, as we all know, was the first black player to turn out for the England first team so you’d expect his biography to be a tale of personal redemption and inner dignity in the face of the monkey-whoopers and banana-throwers – A Rangy Lope To Freedom, if you will.

The Chic Charnley Story
by Chic Charnley with Alex Gordon
Black & White, £14.99
Reviewed by Chris Fyfe
From WSC 281 July 2010

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One match can define a player's career: Archie Gemmill's goal against the Netherlands; Diego Maradona's Hand of God; Eric Cantona's karate kick. It was Chic Charnley's acclaimed guest appearance for his beloved Celtic against Man Utd in Mark Hughes's 1994 testimonial that summed him up.

Fighting Like Beavers On The Front Line Of Football
by Chris Kamara
Harper Sport, £15.99
Reviewed by Barney Ronay
From WSC 283 September 2010

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Mr Unbelievable is a mess. It is, structurally and tonally, a confused and uneven affair. It is without doubt unbelievable – an unbelievable dog's dinner. Having said that it isn't a particularly boring book, or at least not uniformly boring – open its pages anywhere and you find yourself assailed, bothered, nudged and jabbered at. Mr Unbelievable has one constant: the sound of uneasily giggling professional banter, the banter of a man who appears to be laughing so hard he has tears in his eyes, but who you feel might, at any moment, jab you in the eye and ask you what's so funny.

Life Of A Football Legend
by John Harding 
DB Publishing, £16.99
Reviewed by Terry Staunton
From WSC 284 October 2010

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Transfer negotiations between the two world wars may not have been as rife with the creative – and occasionally dubious – wheeler-dealings of modern times, but there were still a few inspired solutions to securing the services of a top player. In 1929, when Alex James was looking for a move away from a supposedly tight-fisted Preston to what he considered a bigger and more ambitious club, he resisted overtures from both Liverpool and Manchester City before Arsenal stepped in with an ingeniously structured offer.

The Lost Legacy of a Dundee and Spurs Legend
by James Morgan
Back Page Press, £9.99
Reviewed by Ken Gall
From WSC 286 December 2010

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Your reviewer approached this book with what can be fairly described as some scepticism. After all, can anything be more wearying than another "Where did it all go wrong, George?"/birds 'n' booze/study of a legend of the 1960s and 70s? Happily, however, while there are elements of the above, James Morgan's study of Alan Gilzean offers something else again; combining the career of a great player with an exploration of a personality at odds with our expectations of the great names of the past.

The Robbie Savage Autobiography
by Robbie Savage with Janine Self
Mainstream, £17.99
Reviewed by Joyce Woolridge
From WSC 286 December 2010

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"I have probably watched every adult movie ever made. There's not a lot else to do on Wales duty!... It was the only way to while away a little time when intense boredom set in." Beetroot can turn your pee red. Robbie Savage didn't need to shave until he was 22. He has a big hooter. Steve Claridge is one of the best dancers he has ever seen. At Leicester his team-mates labelled his sillier comments ("What train did the Krays rob?") "the Savisms" and here rattlepate Robbie quite entertainingly reveals every inconsequential detail in his own distinctive style.

My Autobiography
by John Giles with Declan Lynch
Hodder & Stoughton, £19.99
Reviewed by Jonathan O'Brien
From WSC 287 January 2011

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British readers remember John Giles primarily as the stocky, gifted, hyper-aggressive midfield engine of Don Revie's Leeds United. In his native Ireland, he inhabits a loftier plane as the conscience of modern football, having spent 25 years as RTE's main studio analyst.

The Christian Roberts Story
by Christian Roberts and James Leighton
Vertical Editions, £16.99
Reviewed by Gary Andrews
From WSC 287 January 2011

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Christian Roberts burst onto the scene as a fearless 17-year-old at Cardiff City, seemingly set for a glittering career. What followed was an exasperating journey around the west country and Wiltshire while, unknown to fans and even some of his managers, Roberts battled with alcoholism. Eventually he cleaned up at Tony Adams's Sporting Chance clinic, only to see a long-term knee injury force him to retire at the age of 28. The fact that he played half his career drunk makes his performances and natural ability even more impressive and will cause fans of Cardiff, Exeter, Bristol City and Swindon to wonder what might have been.

My Life and Crimes as a Football Hatchet Man
by Peter Storey
Mainstream Publishing, £16.99
Reviewed by Jon Spurling
From WSC 287 January 2011

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Arsenal's Double triumph in the 1970–71 season garnered few of the plaudits which Tottenham had received ten years earlier after winning both the Championship and the FA Cup. Critics insisted that Charlie George (who was injured for much of the season) and George Graham aside, the team was overly functional and, to put it bluntly, dull.  No player appeared to typify the Gunners' distinctly blue-collar, often attritional approach better than midfield enforcer Peter Storey. Granted assorted nicknames during his career, including "Cold Eyes" and "Snouty" (due to his ability to "sniff" out weaknesses in the opposition's midfield), former Chelsea skipper and fellow 1970s hatchet man Ron "Chopper" Harris recently labelled Storey "the bastard's bastard".

Tommy Lawton – My Friend, My Father
by Barrie Williams and Tom Lawton Junior
Vision Sports, £16.99
Reviewed by Harry Pearson
From WSC 288 February 2011

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"Notts County will be the Arsenal of the Midlands." If anything demonstrates the cyclical nature of football it's this comment made by Magpies chairman Len Machin back in the summer of 1957. It is a statement that has been echoed in one form or another ever since by the owners and directors of provincial clubs – including, naturally, those of Notts County.

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