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All Played Out: The Full Story of Italia '90 [Paperback]

Pete Davies
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Nov 1998
Once you could ignore football, avoid the back pages, turn the telly off, leave the pub. Now that's not possible because on 4th July in Turin's Stadio degli Alpi, Gazza cried, England lost and football changed forever. Pete Davies witnessed all of this at first hand. The players, the hooligans, the agents, the journalists, the fans - the full cast of football's rowdy circus. For nine months he had access to the England squad and their manager, Bobby Robson, talking to them freely about their hopes, their fears, their methods and their lives. So this is the real story, the unedited version. All Played Out - the first and last book to give the inside story of the greatest show on earth.

Product details

  • Paperback: 476 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd; New edition edition (5 Nov 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224059548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224059541
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 444,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars QUITE SIMPLY THE BEST FOOTBALL BOOK EVER! 23 May 2000
By A Customer
I first read this book not long after it was first published and have re-read it several times. On each occasion I have been amazed by the quality of Pete Davies' writing. The excellent narrative and analysis is maintained throughout, offering an 'insiders' guide to what really happened with England at the 1990 World Cup. Davies starts by recounting the deciding qualifier in Poland and the warm-up matches, which highlight the pressure felt by Bobby Robson and the constant media scrutiny of the England team and entourage. The book then takes up the story of what it was like to follow England round Italy for a month. Davies interviews all the key figures and mingles with fans of various nationalities to discuss their experiences.
The essential strength of the book is the honesty and trust Davies received from the England manager and players. They were aware that Davies was not seeking to grab sensationalist headlines for the 'brat-pack' gutter-press back home and also that the book would not be appearing until well after the end of the tournament. This gave the major protoganists in England's tournament the chance to speak openly with the author and the results are fascinating, particularly the interview with John Barnes.
Overall, the book is a terrific reminder of England's most successful overseas World Cup. A more literary and authoritative type of football book than something like Fever Pitch, this is a must for any football lovers bookshelf.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Reading this book almost ten years after the event took place, there's an added poignancy to the story of Paul Gascoigne. Throughout the book, I found myself comparing the then-youthful, cheeky, heart-warming and incredibly talented lad to the headline-hunted, alcohol-ravaged, manic depressive the football world has to come to pity and fear. In retrospect, his destiny was not inevitable. Scenes such as his running off from an interview to play football with children only add to the sense of early promise mishandled and misspent. Many stories remain to be written about Gazza, but this one truly captures the one unmistakable truth: no one seems to have loved the game more than Gazza.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real godfather of football literature 12 Sep 2008
Everybody knows that Nick Hornby invented football literature in 1992. Because before then the likes of Eamon Dunphy, Hunter Davies and, most importantly, Pete Davies had obviously been trotting out nursery rhymes for a living.

The sporting literature revolution of the 1990s in the UK owes a hell of a lot of Italia 90; Gazza's tears, Nessun Dorma, Gary Lineker's deranged smile after David Platt's goal against Belgium and all. But that revolution also owes a hell of a lot to Pete Davies, whose All Played Out is rivalled only by Duncan Hamilton's Provided You Don't Kiss Me and Gary Imlach's My Father... when it comes to football writing. Good football writing had been thin on the ground until Davies somehow managed to wangle unlimited access to Bobby Robson's World Cup squad. Since then, among the glut of cash-in autobiographies there have been many nuggets of gold.

The book is part travel article, part interview, part match report and part news bulletin. That's not to say it's disjointed, however. Nothing could be further from the truth. Bit by bit then:

The travel stuff sets the scene perfectly. Italy is a beautiful country, and in 1990 it was blessed with the most aesthetically pleasing stadia in the world. Davies documents his travels around one of the most frenzied, stunning countries in the world in a manner that would do Bill Bryson justice.

The interviews are candid, insightful, funny and, in the case of Paul Gascoigne, incredibly sad. The way the players open up to Davies when they were doing their best to shut out the rest of the press is testament to Davies' journalistic skills. Knowing now how these players' futures have been shaped makes their predictions for their lives after football fascinating reading.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful 29 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Davies is funny, perceptive and poignant as he describes the extraordinary adventure that was the 1990 World Cup in Italy. It might well be the best book on football ever written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The best, the best..." 16 Aug 2006
In terms of subject matter, All Played Out was written long ago and is about England's World Cup journey in 1990. England didn't win it and so you might ask: why have this one at number one?

Well, in terms of the quality of writing, the wit, the insights, the interviews and its pure style, this is the best football / soccer book I have read.

Gazza grows up and cries. And the author sleepless, mal-nourished and "all played out" after a month criss-crossing Italy, cries too--at the beauty and bravery of England's semi-final defeat to Germany.

Even if you are not an England fan, buy this book for yourself and you will not regret it. In fact you will end up buying it for friends as I have.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A classic in football writing 5 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is such a heartwarming and detailed story of a classic football tournament which captured a nations imagination well written and a good book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Football Book.... 25 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I first read this book 2 years ago and have read it again twice. An incredibly engrossing read about the last truly iconic world cup. The author Pete Davis tells the story so well and in such detail you feel you are back in that summer of 1990 willing Gazza, Gary Lineker and the rest of the boys on. We all know the ending but in any case it's a truly wonderful book about a memorable time in football history. Get your Pavarotti album on and settle down to some great football nostalgia....
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