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

A Scottish Football Safari
by Gary Sutherland
Birlinn, £7.99
Reviewed by Archie MacGregor
From WSC 262 December 2008 

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With bookshelves groaning under the weight of companion guides on every subject from Slovakian folk music to Carry On... movies these days, why not a travelogue about Scottish football grounds? It appears to have several of the essential ingredients – a hint of the exotic (how many of us have ever contemplated a day trip to Peterhead?), a touch of the reassuringly familiar (match-day catering nightmares) and a couple of dastardly panto villains to provide a common point of reference (the Old Firm).

The Best Of The Guardian’s Footballing Obituaries
by Brian Glanville
Guardian Books, £12.99
Reviewed by Taylor Parkes
From WSC 264 February 2009 

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The first real heavyweight of British sports journalism, and the only one to have contributed sketches to That Was The Week That Was, Brian Glanville remains something of a national treasure. His eloquent, sharply cynical style, drenched in arcane phraseology, literary allusions and brutally condescending wit, highlights the enduring lack of personality in football writing (at least, the kind of personality you’d want to sit next to at dinner). Any writer who believes that football and intelligence need not be mutually exclusive – at least not all the time – owes him a large debt of gratitude. This collection of obituaries from the pages of the Guardian is not the best platform for Glanville the stylist, but a fine showcase for his strengths as a journalist: that astonishing, exhaustive knowledge of football history, an eye for detail, and the ability to pack each paragraph with information while keeping the prose clean, clear and eminently readable.

Football v Apartheid
by Chuck Korr & Marvin Close
Collins, £17.99
Reviewed by Mike Ticher
From WSC 264 February 2009 

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In 1986 Charles Korr, an American academic, wrote a serious and unusual history of West Ham. Since then, just one book, on baseball. One reason for that sparse output becomes clear when he explains that More Than Just A Game (originally a film) began as long ago as 1993.

From Blackpool To Barcelona; Football’s Greatest Rivalries
by Andy Mitten
HarperSport, £15.99
Reviewed by Mark O'Brien
From WSC 264 February 2009 

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One of the oldest questions asked in football is: “Which is the biggest derby game?” Like trying to argue who is the biggest club or who has the best supporters, it’s actually something of a pointless exercise, but nevertheless these fierce local rivalries retain a unique fascination, and even if sides have been slugging it out forever – and at least four times a season for the Old Firm – the sense of anticipation before each encounter rarely dissipates.

An Anthology Of Modern Football Writing
edited by Christopher Davies
Know the Score, £19.99
Reviewed by Terry Staunton
From WSC 265 March 2009 

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That title’s not the best pun you’ve ever read, is it? Not nearly as clever, witty or inspired as sports headlines can be, but it’s the first word that’s the main problem: what does it say about a book when the authors are seemingly apologising on the cover? Perhaps it’s unfair to be too petty when it comes to charity projects, and a cause such as Great Ormond Street Hospital (which benefits from sales of this book) is the epitome of worthy, but the Football Writers Association’s idea of inviting nearly 70 journalists to pen a fresh piece on any aspect of the game they choose was bound to be somewhat hit-and-miss.

Titan Books, £12.99
Reviewed by Harry Pearson
From WSC 266 April 2009 

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As a boy I always resented those bits of the comic annual that were given over not to the strips but to solid blocks of text, what my mother would term “proper stories”. It struck me that, like the bizarre habit of putting hard centres in boxes of chocolates, this was just another adult way of limiting a child’s enjoyment of life.

The Story of the Footballers' Battalion in the Great War
by Andrew Riddoch & John Kemp
Haynes, £19.99
Reviewed by Harry Pearson
From WSC 267 May 2009 

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Football folk are fond of commenting that some event – a natural disaster, terrorist outrage, loss of a relative to disease – has “put things in perspective”. And you can almost guarantee that five minutes later they’ll once again be arguing about a penalty decision as if their life depended on it.

Saturday Afternoons in Front of the Telly
by Jeff Stelling
Harper Sport, £15.99
Reviewed by Roger Titford
From WSC 270 August 2009 

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Not long ago I bought a remaindered copy of Barry Davies’ autobiography, Interesting, Very Interesting. “Toe-curling, very toe-curling” would have been more appropriate. Likewise, Jeff Stelling has drawn from the well of his own commentary for a title. In his case he confesses the pun on the Mansfield defender’s name was many months premeditated and this tells you all you need to know about his (or hopefully his ghost’s) style. But the truth is both Barry and Jeff are among my very favourite football broadcasters. Stelling has created in Soccer Saturday the only programme where I prefer the Sky offering to the BBC and he has used it as a platform to half-escape the backwater of satellite TV for Channel 4’s Countdown.

by Adam Riches
Mainstream, £19.99
Reviewed by Frank Plowright
From WSC 271 September 2009 

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We all know Roy of the Rovers, and more recently Striker, but memories of further football heroes from comics are murky. The many hours spent by Adam Riches poring through the comics in the National Publication Archives make him the man to fill us in.

The Biography
by Joel Miller
John Blake, £17.99
Reviewed by Paul Doyle
From WSC 247 September 2007 

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Good things about this book include: the high standard of spelling; functionally correct grammar; and the fact that if you dropped it from a great height on to the head of the person who recommended it to you, it would do serious damage. Beyond that, the highest praise you could give it is that it reads like an extended Wikipedia entry, a broadly efficient collation of information already in the public domain. If you think that makes it worth almost 18 of your English pounds, then you presumably pay for WSC with wheelbarrows of gold. Well done.

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