Up Close with the Giants of the Modern Game
by Simon Kuper
Simon & Schuster, £16.99
Reviewed by Jonathan O'Brien
From WSC 295 September 2011

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Though it shares a near-identical title with John Giles's recent memoir, The Football Men is several galaxies removed from the pockmarked pitches, pitiful wage packets and gnarled enforcers of that book. The world upon which it gazes is one of big names, bigger contracts, jawdropping skill, lucrative endorsements, expensive sunglasses and public tantrums.

The Autobiography of a Goalkeeping Legend
by John Burridge
John Blake, £16.99
Reviewed by Damon Green
From WSC 295 September 2011

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Like the tale of one of those old ladies born in Paris to the sound of Robespierre's guillotine, and eventually run over by a motor car on the Champs-Élysées, it is hard to believe that the two ends of the John Burridge story belong in the same lifetime.

Growing Up Fast
by Theo Walcott
Bantam Press, £18.99
Reviewed by Cameron Carter
From WSC 297 November 2011

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This is not a life of peaks and troughs. There are no regrets, no fatal flaws, no falls from grace – just a rapid rise to the top by a polite young man from Newbury. Theo Walcott's story is an incredible one, but only from one angle: his youth.

The Tragedy of Robert Enke
by Ronald Reng
Yellow Jersey Press, £16.99
Reviewed by Mike Ticher
From WSC 297 November 2011

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Considering young men are a group at high risk of suicide, the number of active footballers who have taken their own lives is surprisingly small. Dave Clement, Alan Davies and Justin Fashanu are perhaps the best known in Britain, all in their declining football years. That makes Robert Enke a rarity among rarities: the Hannover 96 goalkeeper was at his peak, in a season that should have led to the World Cup, when he walked in front of a train in November 2009.

My Autobiography
by Gary Neville
Bantam Press, £18.99
Reviewed by Joyce Woolridge
From WSC 297 November 2011

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"Put ‘Gary Neville' and 'wanker' into Google and you'll get about 10,000 results." Neville is a man with no illusions about his popularity. The English generally like their professional footballers to be either thick or humble, preferably both. Gary Neville is neither and has taken plenty of flak about what are deemed to be his ridiculous pretensions, such as planning to build an ecohouse and daring to have opinions.

The Andy Morrison Story
by Andy Morrison
Fort Publishing, £16.99
Reviewed by Tim Manns
From WSC 298 December 2011

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Ask about Andy Morrison in some of Plymouth's rougher pubs and the general response is a wince or a sharp intake of breath. He left the city 18 years ago, but is still remembered with a mixture of fear and dislike by many. Ask the same question at Home Park and more often than not those old enough to have seen him play will smile and wish there was a player with similar commitment and attitude in the current team. And there, as the man himself recognises, lies the conundrum. How could he run towards Argyle's hooligan element to celebrate a goal in the afternoon and then seek them out later for a brutal fight in the company of his brothers and mates?

My Autobiography
by John Robertson
Mainstream, £17.99
Reviewed by Geoff Wallis
From WSC 298 December 2011

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In his preface to WH Davies's The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp, first published in 1908, George Bernard Shaw revealed that he did not know whether to describe its Welsh subject as "a lucky man or an unlucky one". A century later this autobiography by the self-styled "chubby little lad from Uddingston" insists that luck played a major role in his sporting career, albeit luck offset by life-changing misfortunes in his personal life – his first daughter was born with cerebral palsy and died at a young age, and his elder brother was killed in a car crash in 1979.

The Man Who Never Gave Up
by James Leighton

DB Publishing, £16.99
Reviewed by Huw Richards
From WSC 298 December 2011

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Inconvenient truth as it is for some of us, Cardiff City's FA Cup victory in 1927 remains the greatest achievement by any Welsh club. The associated quiz question will endure until somebody else takes the Cup out of England, while the date is to Cardiff fans what 1966 is to England followers.

My Life on Football's B-Roads
by Chris Hargreaves
The Friday Project, £8.99
Reviewed by Piers Pennington
From WSC 299 January 2012

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If you were told that a footballer called Hargreaves had written an autobiography you might not be surprised, although Chris is probably not the first name that would spring to mind. Despite the unpromising title, arising from a tenuous connection between the author having played for a lot of clubs and having long hair, it proves to be a thoroughly enjoyable and – in an immediate, haphazard, unpolished kind of way – well-written account of what life as a lower-League professional footballer is really like.

The Autobiography
by Dominic Matteo

Great Northern, £16.99
Reviewed by Simon Creasey
From WSC 300 February 2012

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He may have made fewer than 150 appearances, scoring a measly four goals in the process, but at Elland Road Dominic Matteo's name ranks right up there with other legendary figures from Leeds' halcyon days. Whether home or away, Matteo's name is sung every week by Leeds supporters to commemorate the "fucking great goal" he scored against AC Milan in a Champions League tie at the San Siro.

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