More Than Just Tricks
by Lee Trundle with Chris Wathan
Mainstream, £16.99
Reviewed by Huw Richards
From WSC 289 March 2011

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Lee Trundle always did trade in the unexpected. There is some surprise in a large publisher seeing sufficient demand in a book about a lower-division local hero, but a changing media landscape means that where Robin Friday and co were confined to Saturday night football editions and fan word-of-mouth, Trundle has reached wider audiences through YouTube and Soccer AM.

Steve Hodge
by Steve Hodge
Orion Books, £18.99
Reviewed by Al Needham
From WSC 290 April 2011

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It's not at all surprising that Steve Hodge – who was the prototype for a seemingly unending line of nice, sensible-haircutted players turned up by Brian Clough – should choose to place himself in the role of spear-carrier in his own autobiography. The words "Model Professional" are etched through the book like the lettering in a stick of rock, from the photo of him holding his schoolboy contract in an outfit straight off the rack of C&A's Young Mr Disco collection to being poked in the eye by Eric Cantona at the end of his career.

The Frank McDougall Story
by Frank McDougall & Jeff Holmes
MacDonald Media, £9.99
Reviewed by Dianne Millen
From WSC 290 April 2011

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There are probably not many people who have punched Alex Ferguson in the face and lived to tell the tale – let alone stayed friends with the grumpy Govan genius. But Frank McDougall, the most legendary goalscorer never to be picked for Scotland, can count this among his many claims to Scottish footballing fame. It seems typical of the likeable but somewhat chaotic figure described in this likeable but somewhat chaotic book that he not only lived to tell the tale, but persuaded the great man to contribute a chapter.

My Autobiography
by Ricky Villa with Joel Miller & Federico Ardiles
Vision Sports, £18.99
Reviewed by Huw Richards
From WSC 290 April 2011

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The title, evoking the famous commentary on his greatest moment, and three pages of adverts for other Spurs-related books, make it clear that there is one reason why Ricky Villa's autobiography was commissioned. There are, though, many more reasons than one for reading it. This might easily have been a lazy exercise focussed exclusively on Spurs and treating everything as though it leads to a single glorious moment in the 1981 FA Cup final replay.

The Alex Stepney Story
by Alex Stepney with David Saffer
Vertical Editions, £17.99
Reviewed by Terry Staunton
From WSC 293 July 2011

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On the morning of Manchester United's 1977 Cup final showdown with Liverpool, Alex Stepney left the team's hotel for a stroll and, on coming across a barbershop, decided to get his haircut. As Stepney settled down in front of the mirror, the man with the scissors asked him if he was planning to watch the game later that day, seemingly unaware that his customer was one of English football's most famous keepers.

by Kevin Drinkell
Black and White, £14.99
Reviewed by Pete Green
From WSC 293 July 2011

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Kevin Drinkell was a great centre-forward whose career never quite hit the top. There's a credible argument that he was unlucky not to have made the England squads of the late 1980s. This was partly down to the wrong transfers at the wrong times, admits the player in this autobiography, and partly due to the intransigence and skulduggery of Robert Chase, his chairman at Norwich, in handling approaches from Manchester United and Tottenham.

by Paul Merson
HarperSport, £16.99
Reviewed by Tom Lines
From WSC 292 June 2011

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Most football memoirs carefully ration the racy bits as a way of punctuating the otherwise straightforward retelling of a career. How Not To Be A Professional Footballer does precisely the opposite. Cast adrift with Merse on a seemingly endless sea of lager, cocaine and crumpled betting slips, the sensitive reader ends up desperately scanning the horizon for Alan Shearer paddling towards them aboard an uncreosoted fence panel.

Captain of the North
by Stan Anderson & Mark Metcalf
Sportsbooks, £17.99
Reviewed by Joe Boyle
From WSC 292 June 2011

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The urge to revisit football's once firmly embedded localism strengthens the more global the Premier League becomes. As local heroes go, Stan Anderson is hard to beat. Born in County Durham in 1933, Anderson is the only man to captain all three major north-east clubs. The bulk of his career was spent at Sunderland, playing at wing-half, a now defunct defensive midfield position. Anderson's instincts, however, were to push on, resulting in 46 goals in just over 500 appearances.

by Mick Rathbone
Vision Sports, £12.99
Reviewed by Jonathan Paxton
From WSC 294 August 2011

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It's hard to imagine Trevor Francis, with his nasal, West Country drawl, as a figure to be feared but to the teenage Mick Rathbone in the 1970s, he was strangely terrifying. The author's thin skin and paranoia of failure dictate the early part of this book. Breaking into the Birmingham first team, Rathbone is struck rigid with fear every time he receives a pass from his idol, almost incapable of directing any ball towards Francis, and the most interesting parts of this book concern his lack of self-belief. He plays without shinpads in the hope of picking up an injury, dreads the papers giving him a poor rating and almost quits football for a job with Dyno-Rod.

A Life of Two Halves
by Paul Lake
Century, £14.99
Reviewed by Tony Curran
From WSC 295 September 2011

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Despite his prodigious talent and popularity as a player at Manchester City, I seem to recall that Paul Lake had a slight image problem with the wider public. Rather like Glenn Hoddle at Tottenham, Lake's languid, easy style and comfortable technique were revered by home fans but occasionally perceived as being rather too effortless by some less enlightened outsiders who preferred their heroes to demonstrate more tangible evidence of commitment.

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