357 AK86Two shots in the heart of Scottish football
by Grant Hill
Wholepoint, £7.99
Reviewed by Archie MacGregor
From WSC 357 November 2016

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Last day of the season title deciders are invariably occasions when the spectrum of unbridled joy and despair is stretched to the wildest extremes. The denouement of the 1985-86 Premier League campaign however surpasses most in the degree to which it is remembered not only by supporters of the clubs directly involved but also by anyone professing even a passing interest in the Scottish game.

356 DiStefanoby Ian Hawkey
Ebury Press, £20
Reviewed by Huw Richards
From WSC 356 October 2016

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Shameless clickbaiting though it is to bill “the definitive biography of the greatest footballer that ever lived”, both claims are defensible. Alfredo di Stéfano belongs in the “greatest ever” conversation and Ian Hawkey has put in the hard yards of serious research.

355 ForeverYoungThe story of Adrian Doherty, football’s lost genius
by Oliver Kay
Quercus, £20
Reviewed by Joyce Woolridge
From WSC 355 September 2016

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“Attrition rate”: the bland phrase used by a PFA spokesman recently to describe the not so pleasant reality that currently nearly 80 per cent of those entering professional football as “scholars” in academies will be out of the game by the time they are 21.

355 RockyThe tears and triumphs of David Rocastle
by James Leighton
Simon & Schuster, £18.99
Reviewed by David Stubbs
From WSC 355 September 2016

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David Rocastle commands enormous affection among Arsenal fans, who have a special fondness for their underachievers; Charlie Nicholas and John Jensen spring to mind also. In Rocastle’s case, he was luckless with injuries over the course of his career and, sadly, suffered the supreme misfortune of dying in 2001 aged just 33 of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In the decade he spent at Arsenal, however, he is remembered as a player who on his day was able to conjure flashes of Brazilian-style magic for an Arsenal team whose success was generally earned, under George Graham, through more pragmatic means.

352 Savageby Robbie Savage
Constable, £18.99
Reviewed by Tom Lines
From WSC 352 June 2016

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Apparently, you either love Robbie Savage or you hate him. He is, in his own words, “Mr Marmite”: someone who divides opinion “like Moses divided the Red Sea”. It’s an interesting choice of simile, suggesting a finely balanced reservoir of people on each side of the debate. In reality, on one hand there are the people who love him: his close friends and family, perhaps his agent, and on the other there are all the people you’ve ever met with an interest in football.

351 SecretGuardian Publishing, £12.99
Reviewed by Si Hawkins
From WSC 351 May 2016

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When the Secret Footballer embarked on his lid-lifting column for the Guardian six years ago, he presumably didn’t envisage having to stretch those trade secrets across four books, even after retirement. There’s a telling chapter here in which he repeatedly tries to quit playing, but football keeps pulling him back in, and you wonder if his publishers have been doing the same: “Dig deep, TSF, just a few more anecdotes…”

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