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Family: Life, Death and Football: A Year on the Frontline with a Proper Club Paperback – 5 Jan 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Corinthian (5 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906850267
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906850265
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 121,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hello.

I could go all corporate on you, and describe myself as an award-winning sportswriter who developed a significant secondary career in performance management, strategic communications and socially-responsive sports programming.

But, truth be told, I'm a hack, down to my scuffed trainers. I've been lucky, working in more than 80 countries, watching the great, and not-so great, events of world sport.

It helps that I'm a sucker for a project.

That's propelled me the wrong way around the planet, as a crew member on a global yacht race against prevailing winds and tides. It has pitched me into politically incorrect car rallies, around the Amazon basin and Arctic circle.

I sank the only powerboat I was allowed to drive, but felt out of my depth only once. That was at a surfing contest in Vietnam, where the Buddhist priests, in their saffron robes, did a roaring trade in "exotic" cigarettes.

Like all experienced reporters, I made my excuses and left......

Most of these outrages were committed during a twelve year spell as chief sports writer on the Daily Telegraph. I've held similar positions at The Times and Mail on Sunday, and am currently chief sports writer on the Independent on Sunday.

My Mum will tell you I've twice been named Sports Reporter of the Year, and have collected the Sportswriter and Sports Journalist of the Year award. I've featured at the British Press awards on seven occasions, and been honoured for my coverage of sport for the disabled.

My peers in the Press box thought I was mad when I took a five year sabbatical from journalism to help set up and run the English Institute of Sport, which provides scientific, medical and strategic support to 35 Olympic sports.

They were probably right.

My first book, Family: Life, Death and Football, was nominated as football book of the year in 2011. My latest book, The Nowhere Men, has been hailed by the Bookseller as " a strong candidate " for this year's William Hill Sports Book of the Year prize.

It is a study of football scouts, which has had fantastic reviews. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it.

Thanks

Mike

Product Description

Review

'Vivid and poignant. It paints portraits of players as people living in the real world, not the 7-Star hotels of Dubai. Men existing in their communities as central figures, not protected in gated communities from the hoodies.' --Daily Express

'An absolute gem - inspirational' --Sunday People

'As up close and personal as it is possible to be' --football-league.co.uk

'No punches are pulled by either author or club, ensuring a frank and brutally honest - and at times very funny - account of life at the sharp end of football.' --When Saturday Comes

'Brilliantly honest' --Daily Mirror

'An absolute gem - inspirational' --Daily Mirror

'Vivid and poignant. It paints portraits of players as people living in the real world, not the 7-Star hotels of Dubai. Men existing in their communities as central figures, not protected in gated communities from the hoodies.' --Daily Express

'Brilliantly honest' --Sunday People

'As up close and personal as it is possible to be' --football-league.co.uk

`The latest and most extraordinary fly-on-the-wall account of a football club from its grassroots up.'
--Rob Bagchi, Guardian

`The latest and most extraordinary fly-on-the-wall account of a football club from its grassroots up.'
--Rob Bagchi, Guardian

Vivid and poignant. It paints portraits of players as people living in the real world, not the 7-Star hotels of Dubai. Men existing in their communities as central figures, not protected in gated communities from the hoodies. --Daily Express

An absolute gem - inspirational --Sunday People

Brilliantly honest --Daily Mirror

As up close and personal as it is possible to be --football-league.co.uk

No punches are pulled by either author or club, ensuring a frank and brutally honest - and at times very funny - account of life at the sharp
end of football. --When Saturday Comes

About the Author

Michael Calvin is currently chief sports writer with the Sunday Mirror, and has worked at the Daily Telegraph, The Times and the Mail on Sunday. He has twice been named Sports Reporter of the Year.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ant Meads on 6 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
When I first read Eamon Dunphey's insight into my beloved Millwall Football Club it was my first forray into football literature. I wrongly assumed this was how all football books were written and that set me up for some serious disappointment as I read other footballers autobiographies over the next few years! Not until Steve Claridge wrote 'Tales from the Boot Camps' did something come close to offering a proper window into how football works. 'Family' offers something dififerent to both of these works by virtue of it's modern day setting. Football has changed beyond all recognition from the game I started watching in the late 80's but Millwall are extremely fortunate that the bond between fans and players is still relatively close. As a kid Millwall was part of my extended family and now my younger brothers are experiencing the same feeling 20 years on. This book captures that with its tales of Neil Harris visiting fans in hospital and injured players joining the fans in the crowd and leading them in song.

The book itself has a Hollywood ending with promotion at Wembley in the playoffs (sorry, a spoiler there that is equivalent to revealing the iceberg bit in Titanic!) but the ending doesn't really matter. It's the journey rather than the destination and had Millwall fallen at the final hurdle it wouldn't have detracted from the insight into the club under the current regime.

'Family' affords you an opportunity to see how a modern lower league football club (with it's fair share of problems) works. It's a world where kids dreams are dashed in a heartbeat, where a years rehabilition can be set back with one bad tackle, where WAGS are worried about moving the kids schools and meeting the mortgage payments rather than which designer handbag to buy.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Marco W. on 4 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm a QPR fan so I wasn't sure at first whether a book about Millwall would interest me; but a friend - who is a Millwall fan - urged me to read it. True the basic structure of `Family' is a game by game account of Millwall's successful promotion campaign into the Championship - capped by winning the League One Wembley play off final in May 2010 - and as such of particular appeal to Millwall fans; but nevertheless the author describes each match so vividly that you can't help but be taken along with the high and lows of the season. It's clear however from the first page and throughout each of the 300 plus pages following that the writer - Michael Calvin - is using last year's campaign as a vehicle, a way of telling the reader not about Millwall perse but about football in general. This is a book about the nuts and bolts of football - real football; not the fantasy football of the Premier League distorted by Sky TV revenue, Middle East Oil Sheiks and Russian oligarchs, but of a real world football where lack of funds is of necessity replaced by the passion and sheer compulsion of the people involved. Very skilfully the author has threaded fifty plus voices throughout the book - voices that to his credit are incredibly candid and genuine - weaving them all together into what is essentially a primary source oral history of what makes up a football club in 2010. From the shareholders, to the chairman, the chief executive, the club QC through to the playing staff - the manager, coaches, physios, scouts and players - and on to the police, members of the local community and of course the fans - each is given a voice to express their roles, opinions, hopes and reflections.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By G. Waterman on 25 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Over 35 years ago Hunter Davies broke new ground when he was given total access to Tottenham Hotspur for a season and the result was ¨The Glory Game¨, a true classic in football writing.

I have long been waiting for something as good and Michael Calvin has more than come up with the goods with this well written and insightful insider's view of Millwall's promotion season to the Championship.

So authentic that you can smell the sweat and linament, he has got inside every aspect of the club, both on and off the pitch and truly answered a good reporter's key questions - Who, What, Why, Where and When.

This book is a real gem and deserves to do well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Chadburn on 23 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all I am not a Millwall fan - I'm a football fan who just happens to love Sheffield United. I bought this book on the strength of the Nowhere Men written by the same author which I loved. I went into this book not liking Millwall and accepting all the hype surrounding the club and more particularly their fans. I ended the book with a new found respect for the club and most of the fans (let's be honest all clubs - my own included - have their fair share of idiots who drag the clubs name into the mud whilst the vast silent majority suffer the barbs of the rest of the football world in dignified silence. The difference with Millwall is that they use this notoriety and the fact that "everyone hates us" as a badge if honour and a motivation and I have a grudging respect for that.
As with The Nowhere Men this book has been meticulously researched by the author. The club had given the author unfettered access to all aspects of the club during the season they were promoted to the championship via the playoffs. The insights to what goes on behind the scenes is fascinating, illuminating and brilliantly written. The book does look at the darker side of Millwall - it isn't just sunshine and roses - but what comes through is the decency of the club, a club that has probably done more than any club in British football to counter racism, homophobia and hooliganism, but that doesn't make front page headlines does it?
At the end I realised Millwall is what football clubs used to be - rooted in their local communities, run for their fans rather than the prawn sandwich brigade. It's a proper club with proper players and some proper people running it. I dont hate Millwall any more, in fact I quite like them now but I still wouldn't want to be an opposition winger at the New Den.
Michael Calvin is a great writer and I urge you to buy this book, especially if you don't like Millwall, read it and I guarantee you will change your mind!
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