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Author Topic: Football Books
edie
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I can find some amusement in most football books, even the supposedly terrible ones like the England team's. The only one I haven't managed to finish is Alex Ferguson's Managing My Life, where I can't get past the first chapter. I assume it livens up later on.

For cheapskates most of this book is online.

The Italian Job

Some of its observations seem more suited to English football in the 50's rather than now - especially the fans attitude to players - but maybe from an Italian perspective...

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Nil a fhios agam
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I've read Kuper's "Football Against The Enemy" in the last couple of days. It entertained me but I'm not sure what you can gleam from a whistle stop tour and talking to officials and randomers as you go. Some of what was written reminded me of a Sky Sports News Bulletin when they corner some fan outside a stadium and ask for their views.

The most striking thing about the book was how often he mentioned John Major as being a good leader. His belittling of Romania, one of the most entertaining sides in the world at that stage, was strange also.

I've also read Phil Ball's "White Storm" this week. It was an interesting history of Real Madrid. He obviously leaned towards their viewpoint but he wasn't a rabid fan of the club. Not exactly an essential read though.

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Belhaven
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Where did you get hold of White Noise(?) Nil a fhois agam? I can't find it for sale anywhere.

As a matter of interest, does he go into detail about Real madrid during the civil war? I think I read somewhere, probably in Morbo or one of the Barca books that Real Madrid had a communist board for a while and that Santiago Bernabeu was kicked out of the club, albeit temporarily, for being a fascist.

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Hieronymus Bosch
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His belittling of Romania, one of the most entertaining sides in the world at that stage, was strange also.

That's why I can't take the guy seriously. It's all off the top of his head. He's a bluffer.

You can think of easily 40 or 50 contributors to this board who could have taken the same premise and written a better book.

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Belhaven
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That's true Michael, but he got the idea, which must count for soemthing.
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pawlu
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I recall reading an interview with him where he admitted that when he used to write for World Soccer, he used to pick stuff of the Dutch media and translate it word for work

That said, I like Simon Kuper's work not only his books but any articles that I come across.

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E10Rifle
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Yeah, Football Against The Enemy's a good read - and a very good idea for a book - but it's more a random travelogue than a particularly authoritative guide to any of the places or teams he's encountered. I wouldn't necessarily slag Kuper off for it (though he's written some odd stuff elsewhere down the years), but it should be born in mind. The chapter on the Old Firm (the only part of the book that covered an area I was even vaguely personally familiar with) was very hit and miss.
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Nil a fhios agam
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Belhaven, I got the Real Madrid book by Phil Ball from the library in Dublin. I'm working my way through the two football shelves in it at the moment.

He does talk about the politics that Real Madrid had during the Civil War briefly and Bernabeu was ousted from the club for that period. I'm not sure if they were communist but they weren't Fascist at the beginning stages of the war. Once Franco succeeded Bernabeu was welcomed back and slowly become the club of the regime.

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Jamzinho
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I think Morbo, and Tor would be my personal favourites. I tend to prefer these kind of potted histories over autobiographies - especially the current trend for writing a book as soon as you've made one appearance for England!

Just finished Behind The Curtain by Jonathon Wilson which was pretty good.

Also the only Football book in my school library was a big one called 'The Soccer Tribe' which was written (I think) by Desmond Morris who I believe is an anthropologist. It was done in the 70's but its still great. I has all kinds of weird chapters from the art and body language of goal celebrations to the morse code of a football game.

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jon/juan
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Yes Belhaven, there's some really interesting stuff in the Phil Ball book about Real Madrid and the Spanish Civil War, stuff that I've never seen in Castellano versions of the history of the club. (There's a term for this in Spanish - el pacto de olvido, the pact of forgetting. A kind of revisionism but basically brushing events during the period of the Spanish Civil War under the carpet).

Bernabeu wasn't kicked out but he went into hiding in the French Embassy. He could see the way things were going, Madrid was a staunchly Republican city throughout the whole of the Civil War and the members of the club board were mostly Republicans and, yes, some were communists too. One of the communists actually grassed up Bernabeu to the authorities. He fled and fought for the fascists under Franco. After the war, Bernabeu returned to the club and to a very different political situation than what there had been pre-1936.

I enjoyed it. It's a standard club history and, as Nils has said, it's favourable towards the club but fair too. There is a very good chapter near the beginning trying to explain the essence of Madridismo.

I got mine from Waterstones about 3 years ago and have just checked their website and you're in luck Belhaven.

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pawlu
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Going back to Arthur Wharton, I recall reading a couple of chapters from a book about the history of black footballers in England. Anyone have any idea the title to that book?

I've just come across Prophet or Traitor: the Jimmy Hogan story who is thought to have laid the foundations for the great Austrian and Hungarian sides of the first half of last century.

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Belhaven
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Cheers, Nil a fhios gam and jon/juan.
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Nathan HelenaHandcart
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Pawlu - maybe this one?
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Furtho
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I'd like to get a Manchester City book of some description for a friend in the US who has developed a distant fondness for the Mighty Sky Blues. Are any of the available titles less than screechingly awful, does anyone know?
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Gangster Octopus
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TC recommended one on the first page.
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