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

by Mark Hodkinson
Pomona, £9.99
Reviewed by Harry Pearson
From WSC 242 Apr 07

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Mark Hodkinson’s funny and poignant new book is a deftly written account of coming of age in a scruffy north-of-England town, Rochdale – “built to be rained upon or swathed in mist, joyous in a sulk” – in which football plays its part, not in any particularly pivotal way but simply as part of the fabric of growing up.

The inside story of Clough’s Derby days
by George Edwards
Tempus, £12.99
Reviewed by Terry Staunton
From WSC 250 December 2007

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Brian Clough was football’s first great multi-media star, an endlessly quotable mouthpiece whose fame and notoriety stretched far beyond the sport itself. He was a constant subject/target for TV impressionists, and his profile was so high that he was an obvious and welcome guest on Parkinson at a time when the show was awash with A-listers of the calibre of Robert Mitchum and Orson Welles.

A Clueless American Sportswriter Bumbles Through English Football
by Chuck Culpepper
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £16.99
Reviewed by David Wangerin
From WSC 249 November 2007 

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The disaffected fan will readily identify with the first eight pages of Chuck Culpepper’s book, a catalogue of much that is wrong with American sport, which the Virginia-born expatriate claims left him afflicted with “Acute Sportswriter Malaise”, the product of “a 14-year career immersed in a vat of drivel, banality and corruption, especially drivel”. His conclusion – “sport sucks, but I’d hate to live without it” – could be a motto for the 21st century.

The Untold Story of Manchester United, 1919-1932
by Justin Blundell
Empire, £10.95
Reviewed by Joyce Woolridge
From WSC 245 July 2007 

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Manchester United’s recent affluence has been built upon two things: a ground that, according to Simon Inglis, has enjoyed one of the most “unhampered situations” of any major English stadium and two modern periods of success, under Matt Busby then Alex Ferguson. However, the move to Old Trafford in 1910, though it began auspiciously with the winning of United’s second title the following season, came close to putting the club out of business. It was poor timing to build a £60,000 stadium just before the outbreak of the First World War and the subsequent suspension of League football, though the wealthy brewer, John Davies, who undertook the relocation could hardly have known what lay in store.

Trouble and takeover at the world’s richest football club
by Mihir Bose
Aurum Press, £18.99
Reviewed by Adam Brown
From WSC 244 June 2007 

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The spate of foreign businessmen buying English clubs has received little serious attention from the nation’s hacks who seem to regard the process in the same way that a child looks at a glittery bauble on a Christmas tree. Bose, now the BBC’s sports editor, should be congratulated for providing this incredibly detailed account of the failed BSkyB bid to buy Manchester United in 1999 and the successful Glazer family takeover in 2005.

The Club That Wouldn’t Die
by Phil Whalley
SportsBooks, £16.99
Reviewed by Martin Atherton
From WSC 241 March 2007

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In one of football’s regular bizarre coincidences, when Oxford United were relegated from the Football League in 2006, they were replaced by Accrington Stanley. Stanley were the club whose place Oxford had taken following the former’s resignation from the League in 1962 due to financial difficulties. There was no club, no team and no ground by 1963, but Phil Whalley’s book tells the remarkable story of the resurrection of Stanley and their long and often fraught climb back to the top.

A Football History
by Gary James
James Ward, £21.95

Reviewed by Joyce Woolridge
From WSC 258 August 2008 

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Gary James’s ambitious aim is to tell the history of football in the Manchester area and thereby establish its importance to the city and its environs. The game was banned there 400 years ago because the inhabitants had been “greatly wronged... by a company of lewd and disordered persons... breaking many men’s glass windows at their pleasures and other great enormities”. As James points out, the authorities have not always been sensible of the myriad benefits of what became the region’s favourite pastime. You can hear James’s exasperation as he writes: “It says much about how the early history of football has been viewed in Manchester that the only plaque commemorating the history of [Manchester] City is actually incorrectly positioned.”

Inside the British Derby
by Douglas Beattie
Know the Score, £16.99
Reviewed by Csaba Abrahall
From WSC 257 July 2008 

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Together with the admission that it was watching Celtic and Rangers fans beating the crap out of each other that led to his interest in the subject, the photograph of typical 1980s terrace brawling that adorns the cover of Douglas Beattie’s study of derby rivalry raises the fear that it will provide the setting for some standard hooliganism porn. Happily, such a fear proves to be unfounded. Although there are tales of violence dating back to an all-in scrap featuring fans, players and police in Sheffield in 1892, what Beattie – an award-winning BBC news journalist – has produced is an intelligent and well written insight into the eight biggest derbies in British football.

A History of the Corinthian Football Club
by Rob Cavallini
Stadia, £17.99
Reviewed by Harry Pearson
From WSC 255 May 2008 

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Founded in 1882, Corinthian Football Club took their name not from the Greek city-state, but from a word meaning “a man of fashion and pleasure”. And right from the start pleasure was an integral part of the Corinthian ethos, with failure to attend any of the lavish meals presented to the team on their trips around Britain likely to result in a player’s expulsion from the club.

A Search for the Truth
by Brian Belton

Pennant Books, £16.99
Reviewed by Darron Kirkby
From WSC 254 April 2008 

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In Len Shackleton’s autobiography, a chapter entitled “What the average director knows about football” famously comprised a blank page. Brian Belton, on the other hand, manages to eke more than 270 pages out of Terence Brown’s 15-year tenure as chairman of West Ham United.

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