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

by Mick Kelly
Pennant Books, £9.99
Reviewed by John Carter
From WSC 275 January 2010

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“May you live in interesting times” goes the Chinese saying and Queens Park Rangers supporters certainly do. They’ve had a chairman ambushed at gunpoint, been taken over by a consortium that, temporarily, made them “the richest club in the world” and welcomed seven different managers, all in four years.

by Simon Hughes
Trinity Mirror, £14.99
Reviewed by John Williams
From WSC 275 January 2010

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Bill Shankly once told his captain Tommy Smith: “Managing a football club is like drowning: sublimely peaceful and pleasant once the struggle is over.” Shanks always got a little melancholy as the summer months stretched ahead with no football action. He also said wisely that the most important quality a manager must have is “the natural ability to pick a player”. Many of today’s Liverpool supporters might question the current incumbent on this score.

A Plymouth Argyle Story
by Paul Roberts
The History Press, £14.99
Reviewed by Josh Widdicombe
From WSC 276 February 2010

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When Plymouth recently put forward its bid to become a World Cup city you can bet the word “potential” appeared pretty regularly between the matt-finish covers of its proposal. Plymouth Argyle’s history is scarred with repeated failures to fulfil this somewhat abstract notion, never more gloriously than in the managerial reign of Peter Shilton.

The Autobiography of Dave Jones
by Dave Jones & Andrew Warshaw
Know The Score, £17.99
Reviewed by Tim Springett
From WSC 272 October 2009 

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Football was never the reason for writing this book. That was clear long before Dave Jones said so on page 191 out of 192. Jones states that his motivation was his desire for closure, particularly for his family, ten years after he was initially accused of child abuse while working at the Clarence House children’s home on Merseyside in the late 1980s. What could have been an interesting football history is hence told in somewhat sketchy form, as the story of the charges, the trial and swift acquittal dominates.

And Other Curious Phenomena Explained
by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski
Harper Sport, £15.99
Reviewed by Roger Titford
From WSC 272 October 2009 

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Ignore the title – presumably the publisher’s slant to sell more – and follow the sub-head about curious phenomena. Written by an FT journalist and an economist this is a book for nerds. Around the periphery of today’s football (and sports) industry there are a lot of clever people generating a lot of information that, if correctly assembled, should prove they are cleverer than the likes of Harry Redknapp and the typical phone-in caller. Kuper and Szymanski address topics as varied as the suicide rates after major football tournaments (lower than expected) and strategies in the transfer market (think twice about buying blonds unless you’re a Swedish club). The sacred cows of some of our football beliefs are attacked with hard data. Some, to my mind, survive the onslaught.

A Riotous Footballing Memoir About the Loneliest Position on the Field
by Graham Joyce
Mainstream, £8.99
Reviewed by Pete Green
From WSC 273 November 2009 

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What do goalkeepers daydream about? What goes through their minds when all the play is down the other end? Simple Goalkeeping Made Spectacular is the true story of a 52-year-old custodian called up to represent England in a Writers’ World Cup in Florence. The story fades into the background, however, as Graham Joyce digresses into matters as diverse as the pre-match huddle, what the six-yard box is for and the efficacy of spraying WD-40 on your osteoarthritic knees.

A German’s view of our beautiful game
by Raphael Honigstein
Yellow Jersey, £11.99
Reviewed by Mike Ticher
From WSC 274 December 2009 

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Psychoanalysing national character is “a murky business”, says Raphael Honigstein, a German journalist who has lived in England since 1993. It certainly is, especially when your picture of the nation is a caricature. An unflattering view from an outsider is often unsettling. It can also be refreshing and challenging, but only if the insights are original. Honigstein has absorbed a lot about English football through direct experience and its literature (he leans heavily on David Winner and David Downing), but most of his conclusions seem to me exaggerated, too broad or half-truths, at best.

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.

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