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The Football Books Thread

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I'm currently reading Calcio by John Foot and I can confirm it is excellent. I'm going to do Morbo after this one so I'm glad to see it's highly recommended as well.

 

Highly deserved rep given for starting this thread.

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I have about 50 pages left till I finish it, it's an amazing read.

I found it hard to read actually, probably because of the manc connections. I also thought it was a bit "poor me"!

 

Just finished reading: It's Much More Important Than That : Bill Shankly, The biography

Very good read I thought, I'm really looking forward to the book that's been mentioned on the front page: Far Foreign Land.

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I'm currently reading Calcio by John Foot and I can confirm it is excellent. I'm going to do Morbo after this one so I'm glad to see it's highly recommended as well.

 

Highly deserved rep given for starting this thread.

 

I have both of these as they're excellent. Another well worth a read is The Miracle Of Castel di Sangro by Joe McGinniss. Full of intrigue, ridiculous moments and tragedy.

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43 Years with the Same Bird.

 

I'm half way through this, stayed up too late last night as I couldn't put it down, one word FANTASTIC!

 

Brian Reade has a superb writing style, humour and just captures the essence of why we all love this fantastic club, and how it takes over your life.

I don't agree with all of his ultra socialist ideals, but hey what the heck!

 

I couldn't recommend this book more highly.

I've got 'Here we go gathering cups in may' ready to read next, which I believe from friends is superb, but it would be hard pressed to match Brian's efforts to date!

 

I wanted this book too and this thread just reminded me,went on amazon and they had it but one was 43 years with the same bird and one was 44 years with the same bird ..is the 44 year one a paperback with extra content ?

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I wanted this book too and this thread just reminded me,went on amazon and they had it but one was 43 years with the same bird and one was 44 years with the same bird ..is the 44 year one a paperback with extra content ?

 

Yeah, there's an extra chapter.

 

Great, great book.

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I saw that Geoff Twentyman book in Waterstone's today. Has anyone read it? It looks superb and I'll stick it on my Christmas list if anyone can recommend it.

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Football and Gangsters - Graham Johnson

 

Football and Gangsters: How Organised Crime Controls the Beautiful Game: Amazon.co.uk: Graham Johnson: Books

 

I picked this up from the library and finished it quite quickly. It was a lot of he said this, he said that nonsense and reveals little in reality.

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Science and Football V: The Proceedings of the Fifth World Congress on Science and Football.

 

Got this from a friend who had a paper published in it "Using Situational Probabilities to Train Perceptual and Cognitive Skill in Novice Soccer Players"

 

It's great full of stats and anovas, multivariate analyses and tests on the reliability of heart rate monitoring equipment etc etc.

 

The "interesting" thing is that it seems a lot of the academic work being done on football seems to be coming out of the John Moores University in Liverpool. So the next Charles Hughes will hail from Liverpool then?

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I saw that Geoff Twentyman book in Waterstone's today. Has anyone read it? It looks superb and I'll stick it on my Christmas list if anyone can recommend it.

 

Half way through it at the moment, Paul. There's more about his playing career at Carlisle than is probably of interest to 90% of the buyers, a few good Shankly stories though and a bunch of scouting reports/interviews with the ones that he signed and the ones that got away - Martin O Neill, Franny Lee etc.

 

Interesting, but not as super-gripping as I had expected if I'm honest.

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Half way through it at the moment, Paul. There's more about his playing career at Carlisle than is probably of interest to 90% of the buyers, a few good Shankly stories though and a bunch of scouting reports/interviews with the ones that he signed and the ones that got away - Martin O Neill, Franny Lee etc.

 

Interesting, but not as super-gripping as I had expected if I'm honest.

 

Ta.

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Someone (can't remember who) was recommending a book showing the correlation between budget and success in sport.

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Someone (can't remember who) was recommending a book showing the correlation between budget and success in sport.

 

Hmmm, might give it a go after I've finished this paper on a "Comparison of Precision in the Toe and Instep Kick in Soccer at High Kicking Velocities"

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Here We Go Gathering Cups in May

 

Here We Go Gathering Cups in May: Amazon.co.uk: Nicholas Allt: Books

 

A decent read, didn't take too long to get through it and was quite entertaining. Although I am not a fan of his poetry, I thought Dave Kirby's bit was good, even though I have heard him tell that story on LFC:TV before. Peter Hooton's bit was also good as it gave more of a social commentary than others.

 

Tony Barrett's chapter was well written but I wouldn't have expected anything less from him. I thought he was brave to come out and have a go at the fans we gained after 2005. The other lad's chapters were decent but not on par with the one's mentioned.

 

It was a good read, and is easy to dip in and out of, didn't require a great deal of concentration. Perfect for on the train, or on holiday if that makes sense. It was quite sad in some parts because I get the impression that going the match nowadays is a lot safer, but not as fun. Also I knew UEFA was a joke, but they have been fucking the fans over for years is a joke.

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A Season on the Brink

 

A Season on the Brink: Rafael Benitez, Liverpool and the Path to European Glory: Amazon.co.uk: Guillem Balague: Books

 

It was a nice easy read, and again it was one you could dip in and out of quite easily, the insight into the team was good, and it explains how Benitez likes to work. That is all, obviously people have their own opinion on Benitez, and furthermore a book written by Balague will further divide opinion. Some of the bias really stood out, Parry was given an easy ride throughout for example.

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A Season on the Brink

 

A Season on the Brink: Rafael Benitez, Liverpool and the Path to European Glory: Amazon.co.uk: Guillem Balague: Books

 

It was a nice easy read, and again it was one you could dip in and out of quite easily, the insight into the team was good, and it explains how Benitez likes to work. That is all, obviously people have their own opinion on Benitez, and furthermore a book written by Balague will further divide opinion. Some of the bias really stood out, Parry was given an easy ride throughout for example.

 

Is that the first time you read it?

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I confess I read footbalers autobiographies and usually enjoy them - does that make me some kind of literally imbecile - well I'm not bothered really!! On my shelf are countless LFC ones such as (off the top of my head without looking) Kenny, Keegan, Carra, Robbie, Stevie G, Rush, Digger, Emlyn, Shanks, Stevie Heighway, Macca, Tommy Smith (haven't read that one yet actually but I will do) and then I read biogs of others involved with footy such as refs (as I ref a bit myself) - Ellery, Poll, Winter, Collina and others miscellaneous ones such as Tony Adams, Bob Wilson, Stan Ternant, Bobby Robson, Southgate, Pele, Mick McCarthy and several more. I suppose I just enjoy reading about the game and I get something from most books.

 

Regarding quality reads tho for LFC fans I'd say my personal favs are Hillsborough the truth by Phil Scraton and 43 years by Brian Reade. Both are superb - for different reasons obviously. I've also read the Football Agaunst the enemy Kuper book and one about corruption in FIFA called How the stole the game both of which were interesting. And of course theres Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch which is a bit of a classic - OK but reading about someone enjoying Liv 0 Arse 2 in 1989 is hard to take!! I also have a copy of the Imlach book but I have not got round to reading it yet but after the good reviews it has had on this thread I must read it soon - thats the trouble really - there are so many books to read (not just abiout football either) and not enough time to read them. And with the advent of the internet I spend a lot (too much?) time on here 'chatting' to others and so read less.

 

Another area which I have read a lot about is Ferguson who is the man I most despise in all football. Itis not just an irrational hatred tho just cos he is the Man U boss, I have researched my subject a lot by reading 2 thick books about him called The Boss and another one called something like 'Second is Nothing' (which compares him to Shanks - in most respects unfavourably). It is interesting as it gives background on how badly he has treated certain people over the years who have crossed him - people (admin people and coaches) in his Scottish jobs, journos, refs, the BBC after Panorama, Jim Leighton, Strachan, JJ McManus and his mate (or whatever the racehorse people were called) and many more. In fact I may reread The Boss in the near future as I feel the need to have some facts to back up my regular rants against him which are given to anyone who will listen as cos it is 3 years or so since I read it I have forgotten some of the key details.

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The Italian Job - Vialli and Marcotti.

 

Basically a compare and contrast of Italian and British football at all levels (Players, fans, managers, press, refs). Provides quite an insight into why there is such a gulf between their respective abilities, mentalities, outlook, tactics, strategies, etc. There's a bit of pseudo-science thrown in but the real interest is in the anecdotal perspectives of people like Mourinho, Desailly, David Platt and Wenger.

 

Although we are rarely mentioned it's an interesting read because Rafa Benitez is to all intents and purposes an Italian manager. The issues that we as fans polarize around are exactly the issues that define the difference between the Italian and British perspectives.

 

If you don't understand the Rafaphobes or the Rafapoligista this book will answer at least some of your questions.

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The work of professional football by Martin Roderick

 

Is a sociological / psychological study of footballers and their orientation to their work. The book is primarily about how footballers value themselves and how the trajectory of their career/status changes over time largely as a function of pivoting around key events like promotion to the first team, major injuries, contract renewals, transfers etc. Each is explored and explained in terms of the players mind set and in terms of the change in behaviors towards and from those around them.

 

The book is based on interviews with around 50 (unnamed) professional footballers, all from the English leagues and supplemented with occasional information lifted from newspaper reports. The author himself is an ex-professional footballer. The book started out as a PhD dissertation and it's very obvious as there are more cross references and summaries of other literature than there are conclusions drawn from the author's own material.

 

There were several very interesting insights;

 

• Because of the ultra-competitive nature of the sport most players view everyone else as a threat. Consequently, there are very few real friendships in a squad, where there is they will tend to be centered on players who came through the reserves at the same time etc.

• Not one player who had been dropped or transferred to a lower level team listed their own performance as a contributory factor. All maintained that it was someone else’s fault or just luck (injuries etc).

• The state of Sports Psychology in English football as a whole is shocking. It’s almost entirely operant conditioning, designed to create a psychological dependency and to force players into the narrow confines of well established (and in a lot of cases counter-productive) archetypes.

• There is a parallel sub-theme which charts the decay of a player’s regard towards the institution of football from youthful idealism to downright bitter cynicism.

 

This book has nothing to do with Liverpool but it does offer some insights into things like why Carragher keeps talking about his age, his likely mental state and how this might affect his form.

 

The discussion of transfers also offers a far richer perspective on the kinds of things that were probably going through Xabi’s mind when he decided to leave.

 

• Contingency theory of transfers. (Now or Never) If you don’t go to Madrid now, they’ll buy someone else and won’t need anyone until are you’ve passed your peak. Barcelona don’t and won’t need anyone in your position. If you don’t go NOW, your next transfer will be a step down not up.

• Realization that you are just a commodity (Bad Rafa) and the resulting need to create a scenario that puts you in control (The “Fuck You” reaction).

• The need to feel wanted (Ice Rafa/Insecure Xabi). Not sure why the idea of Valdano whispering sweet nothings works but being told “I want You”, “I will pay more for you than any other DM in history” will wipe away a whole lot of insecurities.

• Prestige by association (Egotistical Xabi). A move to a bigger club means you are a better person!

• Change in familial status. (Transition of self from “Footballer” to an “Authentic Person”). Marriage and children change perspectives and priorities, significantly. What was right before (learning from the best coach around [a footballing perspective]) can quickly become wrong (Sod learning, I want to be central and secure [a breadwinners perspective]).

• Money. (Greedy Xabi) One measure of self-worth, one which for practical purposes becomes more important the older you get.

 

So next time someone says Bad Rafa / Greedy Xabi, do the right thing. Snigger.

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Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football: Amazon.co.uk: Tom Bower: Books

 

Reading the reviews on the site, some people believe this book didn't live up to the standards set by his previous work. I have to say that I really enjoyed this book because of the insight it gave into the politics and the power structure within the English game. What is worrying is the attitude to regulation, I believe that the recent Sky contract only postponed what we are seeing the beginning of now.

 

My only complaint about the book was that is was hard to follow at times because of the introduction of a lot of names, their backgrounds and some intricate money trails. It required a lot of concentration at times, from me at least. I would recommend it to any football fan.

 

Thanks to Catch22 for the recommendation, I owe you a rep

 

And here is a review of the book

 

Observer review: Broken Dreams by Tom Bower | Books | The Observer

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