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

Northern Ireland in Sweden
by Ronnie Hanna
Sportsbooks, £7.99
Reviewed by Robbie Meredith
From WSC 263 January 2009 

Buy this book


The team that made it to the quarter-finals of the 1958 World Cup have served as a sustaining cliche in Northern Irish football. We’re perennial underdogs, so the story goes, and “our wee country”, although comparatively short of players and facilities, can occasionally roll our sleeves up and battle to victory over superior teams who just can’t match our collective warrior spirit, just like the boys of ’58.

 A Refugee Team, An American Town
by Warren St John
Fourth Estate, £14.99
Reviewed by David Wangerin
From WSC 270 August 2009 

Buy this book


In Atlanta to promote his first book, Warren St John came across someone who worked in a nearby refugee settlement and suggested the author “check out the soccer team” there. He did – and discovered that the town of Clarkston, a few miles north-east of the city, had developed into a sort of international refugee centre, teeming with dislocated families from Iraq, Kosovo, Liberia and other trouble spots.

My Story
Hodder & Stoughton, £18.99
Reviewed by Tim Springett
From WSC 250 December 2007

Buy this book 


Did he think of that title himself or pay someone else to come up with it? Whichever, it’s apt, of course – the subject is so tall that he doesn’t even fit in the frame for the book’s front-cover photo. Peter Crouch is a player who – as he reminds us frequently – has had to work harder than many to prove himself. I wondered whether he would show similar dedication to his autobiography, which he has had published at the tender age of 26. Well, actually, he hasn’t done too badly.

Ferguson and Shankly
by Oliver Holt
Pan, £8.99
Reviewed by David Stubbs
From WSC 250 December 2007

Buy this book 


Sir Alex Ferguson and Bill Shankly have some things in common, opines Oliver Holt, not least in their sharing of the sentiments expressed in the title to this double biography. For Ferguson, the need to prevail – to compensate, perhaps, for the setbacks and disappointments of his early working life – was deep-dyed. He was even known, when a game of cards with his players wasn’t going well, to chuck the entire pack across the coach in fearsome, capillary-bursting pique. As for Shanks, he outlined the attitudes that made him practically a hermit to football in an uncharacteristically revealing letter to a journalist in 1955. “I used to think that it would be better to die than to lose,” he wrote. “To enable me to reach the top, I went to all extremes, no woman, no smoking, early to bed – this went for years, but it was worthwhile.”

The Autobiography of Ian Holloway
Green Umbrella, £16.99
Reviewed by Matt Nation
From WSC 250 December 2007

Buy this book 


Although Ian Holloway himself admits to being “not a particularly nice kid”, it doesn’t appear to have stopped his eye for a wrong ’un extending into adult life. After Ollie is dropped as a low-paid teenager at Bristol Rovers, Mike Channon attempts to console him by first by offering him £1,000 and then snatching it away at the last second. Three lines later, however, Channon is described as a “fantastic bloke”. Both Bobby Gould’s and Dave Bassett’s man-management skills are (once again) shown to be about as sensitive as a nipple wrench in the bogs, yet Ollie “likes” and “respects” his former gaffers. Only with Wally Downes does Ollie eschew praise with faint damnation in favour of a full-on, and fully deserved, kicking after the former Wimbledon man cracked wise about the new boy’s wife’s chemotherapy.

Sign up to the WSC Weekly Howl - a small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday