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

by John Wark
Know The Score, £18.99
Reviewed by Gavin Barber
From WSC 269 July 2009 

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Sometimes it’s the little details that point towards the most interesting aspects of a book. One does not expect the acknowledgements page of John Wark’s autobiography to thank Warner Chappell for permission to reproduce the lyrics to Shirley Bassey’s I Am What I Am. But sure enough, all three verses of Warky’s favourite song are there in the final chapter: we learn that he frequently gives it a spin on the stereo when he gets back from the pub. The image of the legendary hardnut cutting a tipsy rug to this well-known gay anthem is an unexpected one.

Northern and Proud
The Bob Stokoe Story
by Paul Harrison
Know The Score, £17.99
Reviewed by Joe Boyle
From WSC 269 July 2009 

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Left Back In Time
by Len Ashurst
Know The Score, £17.99
Reviewed by Joe Boyle
From WSC 269 August 2009 

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As Sunderland head for next season with another new manager, where are the templates for managerial success on Wearside? Bob Stokoe is the obvious choice but, on the evidence of two recent books, a more nuanced understanding of the club and the game comes from Len Ashurst, another former Sunderland boss.

Premier League to Prison
by Mark Ward
Football World, £17.99
Reviewed by Mark O'Brien
From WSC 271 September 2009 

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Mark Ward enjoyed a playing career that took in Northwich Victoria, Oldham Athletic, West Ham United, Manchester City, Everton and Birmingham City. He scored a goal in the Merseyside derby and was a key member of the Hammers side that finished third in the 1985-86 season, but what he will always be known for, and probably the only reason his autobiography was commissioned, is the fact that in 2005 he was arrested on drug charges and subsequently received an eight-year jail sentence.

by Steve Claridge with Ian Ridley
Orion, £18.99
Reviewed by Pete Green
From WSC 271 September 2009 

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One book was never going to be enough for Steve Claridge. While his well-received earlier volume Tales From the Boot Camps told an enjoyable if fairly standard tale of a mostly lower-division pro enjoying glimpses of the big time, this follow-up finds the archetypal journeyman scurrying around the leagues in his late 30s to extend an already epic CV. With some brief but eventful stints in management and a burgeoning media career, there is masses of raw material, and with his co-author and friend Ian Ridley, Claridge has crafted it into another decent read.

The Autobiography
by Sir Bobby Charlton
Headline, £7.99
Reviewed by David Stubbs
From WSC 271 September 2009 

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Following up the first volume of his memoirs My Manchester United Years, this covers the span of Charlton’s international career from 1958 to that anticlimactic moment in 1970, when in his last game for his country he was substituted in the World Cup quarter-final, only to see West Germany overturn a 2-0 lead, taking advantage of Peter Bonetti’s unfeline goalkeeping display.

Football Fans, Terrace Songs and a Search for the Soul of Soccer
by Colin Irwin
Andre Deutsch, £12.99
Reviewed by Ed Upright
From WSC 243 May 2007 

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Sing When You’re Winning has a very broad brief. It is an attempt at an amusing travel journal, a brief history of several football clubs and the story of terrace songs. It supports the folk singer Martin Carthy’s view that football crowds “represent the one true surviving embodiment of an organic living folk tradition”. Above all, according to the subtitle, it is a “search for the soul of soccer”. With so many boxes to tick, this was always going to be difficult task and unfortunately it doesn’t quite succeed.

The Life and Times of a Football Obsessive
by Rob Grillo
The History Press, £9.99
Reviewed by Pete Green
From WSC 254 April 2008 

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Mainstream culture has reached a peculiar position with regard to knowing things. On BBC1’s The One Show recently, an expert guest prefixed one interesting contribution with the phrase “Sorry to be a nerd, but...” Think about that for a moment: he was invited on to the show specifically to share his knowledge about a particular subject, yet deemed it necessary to apologise for doing so.

The True Story of Supporting the Worst Football Team in Britain
by Dave Roberts
Portico, £12.99
Reviewed by John Carter
From WSC 259 September 2008 

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Male adolescence is – among other things too toe-curling to be discussed in public – about making grown-up choices. It’s the first time we make our mark, take a stand, pledge an allegiance. The Bromley Boys is about one such choice.

A Journey To The Heart Of Football
by William Barr
Morrow & Co, £8.99
Reviewed by Neil Rose
From WSC 265 March 2009 

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Just where is the heart of football? That is the question posed by William Barr in this slightly curious book whose title sums up the whole venture.

Modern Russia and the People's Game
by Marc Bennetts
Virgin, £11.99

Reviewed by Csaba Abrahall
From WSC 259 September 2008 

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Russia’s impressive showing at Euro 2008, following recent UEFA Cup victories for CSKA Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg, was the latest indication that Russian football, after a long period of post-Soviet underachievement, is emerging into an era of success. Marc Bennetts’ affectionate analysis of football in modern Russia is therefore a timely one.

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