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…”

350 FarrellFootball between 
the lines
by David Farrell
Teckle Books, £9.99
Reviewed by Neil Andrews
From WSC 350 April 2016

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There’s a scene in Dad’s Army that neatly sums up David Farrell’s football career. In the midst of a rant about class warfare, Captain Mainwaring informs Sergeant Wilson that he had to “fight like hell” to get into grammar school and “fight even harder to stay there”. It is a sentiment Farrell can empathise with in his dogged determination not only to become a professional footballer but remain one, despite a crumbling left foot and a run of very bad luck.

350 CahillThe autobiography 
of Tim Cahill
by Tim Cahill
HarperSport, £18.99
Reviewed by Jamie Rainbow
From WSC 350 April 2016

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When Tim Cahill’s contract with Shanghai Shenhua was terminated, a number of A-League clubs approached the midfielder offering him the chance to finish his playing career in Australia. But, as he reveals in Legacy, he’d already snubbed an earlier return to his homeland for commercial reasons. The 36-year-old, fast approaching the end of his playing career, was already thinking about life after football. Or, to use Cahill’s own slightly nausea-inducing phrase, he had to “strategize as a businessman”.

349 Ronaldo400by Guillem Balague
Orion, £20
Reviewed by Joyce Woolridge
From WSC 349 March 2016

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Throughout the 350 and more pages of his “definitive” biography of Madeira’s finest player, Guillem Balague never runs out of steam or ways in which to point out that his subject is insecure, selfish, self-obsessed and immature. You don’t need to call in Freud to understand Balague’s negativity, just the 18-page prologue which demonstrates how miffed the author is not to have the sort of co-operation given by Lionel Messi in a previous biographical outing.

349 Currie400The life and career 
of Tony Currie
by EJ Huntley
Pitch Publishing, £12.99
Reviewed by David Stubbs
From WSC 349 March 2016

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There’s a strange fascination about Tony Currie that runs in parallel with the late David Bowie, or even the school of provocatively effeminate wrestlers of the early 1970s such as Adrian Street – glam Englishmen whose apparent purpose was to raise the hackles of a more stolid, crewcut older generation with their flamboyant, long-haired antics.

348 Latchfordby Bob Latchford      
deCoubertin Books, £20
Reviewed by Mark O’Brien
From WSC 348 February 2016

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Perhaps to its detriment, but thoroughly in keeping with its subject, Bob Latchford’s thoughtful, detailed autobiography shies away from drama and sensationalism and tells the story of a modest, unassuming Birmingham boy who became the most expensive player in British football.

348 Drogba400My autobiography
by Didier Drogba
Hodder & Stoughton, £20
Reviewed by Si Hawkins
From WSC 348 February 2016

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A couple of lines late in Didier Drogba’s autobiography really drive home that this isn’t your average burly striker life story. “On November 2009 I teamed up with Bono to help launch an initiative with Nike on the eve of World Aids Day,” Drogba recalls, before rattling through his UN work, including “mobilising people to eradicate the use of cluster bombs/munitions”. Clearly we’re in a different ballpark to, say, Micky Quinn’s Who Ate All The Pies.

346 ConroyThe autobiography 
of Terry Conroy
by Terry Conroy
Pitch Publishing, £18.99
Reviewed by Andy Thorley
From WSC 346 December 2015

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It’s a reflection on both the career of Gerard “Terry” Conroy and Stoke City (the club with whom he played nearly all his professional football and where he still works part time) that for large parts of the country the title of this book might be apt.

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