Reviews from When Saturday Comes. Follow the link to buy the book from Amazon.

Forty years in the commentary box
Xby John MotsonX
XVirgin, £18.99X
Reviewed by Taylor Parkes
From WSC 274 December 2009 

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If you disregard the alarming cover, on which Motty appears to be offering you outside for a fight, this exhaustive autobiography is more or less what you’d expect. Spanning a gruelling 386 pages – the last 65 just listing the games over which Motson has jabbered and chuckled – at its best it’s warm and charming. At its worst, it’s slightly deranged. Mostly, it’s boring.

50 Great Cup Upsets
by Derek Watts
Book Guild, £12.99
Reviewed by Terry Staunton
From WSC 276 February 2010

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The return of a certain country of perceived footballing minnows to the world stage this summer is likely to trigger some dewy-eyed reminiscences in the north-east of England. Bizarre as it may sound to younger fans, there is a corner of Middlesbrough that is forever North Korea.

Celtic's Lost Legend
The George Connelly Story
by George Connelly with Bryan Cooney
Black and White, £17.99
Reviewed by Jonathan O'Brien
From WSC 272 October 2009 

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A Bhoy Called Bertie
The Bertie Auld Story

by Bertie Auld with Alex Gordon
Black and White, £17.99
Reviewed by Jonathan O'Brien
From WSC 272 Oct 2009 

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It’s a truism that long-retired players almost always produce autobiographies far more absorbing than those of their still-playing or recently quit counterparts. Any Celtic fan unfortunate enough to have parted with hard cash for the memoirs of Henrik Larsson, Paul Lambert or Gordon Strachan won’t be making the same mistake again in a hurry. Mercifully, these offerings from a pair of late-1960s/early-1970s cult figures are both a cut above the usual dross.

The Billy Abercromby Story
by Billy Abercromby with Fraser Kirkwood
Macdonald Media, £9.99
Reviewed by Archie MacGregor
From WSC 273 November 2009 

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Many would contend that if football is Scotland’s national game then the favourite pastime of those playing it is most surely drinking. There’s certainly a longstanding tradition of romanticising, and even celebrating, the alcohol-fuelled deeds that so many of Scotland’s leading players have presented us with over the years – from an inebriate Jimmy Johnstone floating helplessly down the Firth of Clyde in a rowing boat on the eve of the 1974 World Cup to the recent escapades of Allan McGregor and Barry Ferguson. Yet all this larking about all too often comes at a cost. Be it a truncated career, or worse, in the tragic cases of the likes of Jim Baxter, a truncated life.

How the World's Most Famous Athlete Tried to Conquer America
by Grant Wahl
Crown, £16.99
Reviewed by David Stubbs
From WSC 273 November 2009 

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David Beckham’s transfer to LA Galaxy was a surprising late chapter in the adventures of a footballer whose global superstar status exceeds by some distance his admittedly considerable abilities on the pitch. It was a slight return to the mid-1970s and the influx of internationals who chose to spend their sunset years in American soccer – Pelé and George Best among them. They had failed to galvanise interest in the game stateside but, it was optimistically argued, the infrastructure of MLS would enable Beckham to raise the profile and standards of the game more successfully than had his forebears.

The Duncan McKenzie Story
by Duncan McKenzie and David Saffer
Vertical Editions, £17.99
Reviewed by Mark O'Brien
From WSC 274 December 2009 

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Duncan McKenzie openly admits that his style of play divided opinions. There were those who saw him as a luxury player, while others considered him the sort of maverick who could unlock defences in an era, the 1970s, when men like Ron Harris and Tommy Smith would emasculate forwards as soon as look at them.

by Ossie Ardiles
Bantam Press, £18.99
Reviewed by Adam Powley
From WSC 275 January 2010

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There’s a telling description of Ossie Ardiles that the World Cup winner recounts early on in this suitably idiosyncratic book. His unnamed former manager at Huracán joked: “You know what number you should be wearing? You should be wearing a question mark on your back!” Difficult to tackle on the pitch, Ardiles is similarly elusive to pin down on the page. His intelligence and insight is obvious but the reader is left with only a partial portrait.

The Gerry Hitchens Story
From Mine to Milan
by Simon Goodyear
Breedon, £16.99
Reviewed by Matthew Barker
From WSC 275 January 2010

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William Garbutt
The Father of Italian Football
by Paul Edgerton
Sportsbooks, £7.99
Reviewed by Matthew Barker
From WSC 275 January 2010

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Two books telling the neglected stories of two Englishmen whose reputations and legacies have always been more appreciated in Italy than in their native country. Gerry Hitchens made his name as a striker with Cardiff City and Aston Villa. A goalscoring performance for England against Italy bought him to the attention of Inter and a move to Milan in 1961. After 18 months of mixed success he left for Torino, before moving on to Atalanta and Cagliari. In total he spent eight years in Italy, returning to the UK and Worcester City in 1969. He died in 1983 during an amateur game, aged 48.

by Davie Hay
Black & White, £17.99
Reviewed by Graham McColl
From WSC 276 February 2010

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One of the “Lisbon Lion cubs” groomed to replace Celtic’s European Cup winners, Davie Hay’s three departures from Celtic Park were almost as significant as his achievements there. Eased out to Chelsea in 1974 after going on strike, in 1987 he became the first Celtic manager to be sacked and was sacked again, when assistant general manager, during the club’s turbulent 1990s rebirth.

by Steve Pitts
Pennant Books, £9.99
Reviewed by Pete Green
From WSC 276 February 2010

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As with Pete Doherty, Kerry Katona and Amy Winehouse, so with Paul Gascoigne: the same hypocritical combination of moral outrage and rubber-necking guarantees sales each time their descent lights up the front pages. From the national institution status of 1990, of course, Gazza had further to fall than anyone – all the way to Kettering Town, where he fetched up in 2005, installed as celebrity manager by incoming 20-something chairman Imraan Ladak and sacked eight games later, accused of almost daily indiscretions as the drinking continued.

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