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GB United?: British Olympic Football and the End of the Amateur Dream [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

Steve Menary
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Oct 2010
GB United? is the story of the only time that the four parts of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland managed to settle their differences and play as a team in the Olympic Games. As the book charts the history of a team that played long before the World Cup existed but vanished four decades ago, the story of the lingering death of the amateur ethos in football unfolds. Told through interviews with dozens of players, GB United? is the previously untold history of a team that will reappear again at the London Olympics in 2012 and grab the world's attention, and is the first and only book to chart the history of the British Olympic football team and alternative history of professional football; it looks at how the only attempt to field a British team and the entire amateur dream ethos both foundered and died. The book will prove an invaluable guide to the return of a GB football team, a team which most people in this country have never seen before, at the London 2012 Olympics, and includes contemporary and historic images to support the text.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd (31 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905411928
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905411924
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 16.3 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steve Menary is a freelance journalist and writes on sport and business for magazines including World Soccer and When Saturday Comes and websites, such as PlayTheGame.org

Product Description

Review

"A fine book!" --The Guardian

"Menary carefully explains how amateurism or 'shamateurism' gradually became unacceptable in this country, with everyone being declared just 'players' in 1974. He recounts not only the sad decline of Vivian Woodward, a superb centre-forward and a member of the British team in 1908 and 1912, but also the exploits of Pegasus, who galvanised the amateur game in the early 1950s. It is a valuable contribution to football literature." -- The Olympian

"Excellent!" --InBedWithMaradona.com

"A fascinating insight into the trials and tribulations into what was, for many years, a murky world of under-the-counter payments." --Bob Bevan, the Non League Paper

"Delightful chronicle... an excellent addition to Olympic lore." --Journal of Olympic History

"Menary does an outstanding job. GB United? is a historical tome telling a story that has been forgotten and overlooked elsewhere. This story is as much about a class struggle in twentieth century Britain as anything else, but in this case it was a struggle that the ruling class were always going to lose. Those that ran the game at the start of the twentieth century may well look at modern football and wonder what on earth it has become, but GB United? tells a part of the story that is seldom looked at elsewhere with a keen eye for historical detail, a dry sense of humour and a mixture of disdain and respect for those that ended up shaping many of the paths that modern football would end up taking." --Twohundredpercent

"Excellent!" --Keir Radnedge, sportsfeatures.com

"Inspiring tales of those who considered the Games to be the ultimate make this a worthy read." --FourFourTwo magazine

"Steve Menary brings to life the world of the amateur and highlights in a very real way the characters that were dominating the British Olympic team from 1900 to 1972. If you are a football fan and have any history with the amateur game, this is well worth a read." --Graham Neale, son of the 1948 GB captain Graham

"Well informed and lively... a quality work." --Soccer History

"Thorough and interesting work." --When Saturday Comes

"One will find no better account of the complicated business that has been Great Britain's involvement in Olympic football." --Groundtastic

"Exemplary research, grasp of his material and eye for a quirky fact keep up the interest." --Independent on Sunday

About the Author

Author Steve Menary is a writer and journalist. He is a regular contributor to World Soccer and has written for many other sports titles, including When Saturday Comes, FourFourTwo, Backpass, Sport & Society and All Sports magazine of India. He is also the author of Outcasts! The Lands That FIFA Forgot, which received high praise and was shortlisted for the National Sporting Club's football book of the year award in 2008.

Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By Steve
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Steve Menary has produced a thoroughly researched and beautifully written account of a largely forgotten aspect of British football. Though always maintaining a sensitive approach to its subject it nevertheless avoids any misty eyed nostalgia and is an excellent work of sporting social history and a fabulous read. Whilst so obviously topical in the run up to 2012 the book retains a fundamental relevance for a sport so often struggling to reconcile global business instincts with a historic social role as the people's game.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Read 21 Jun 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I downloaded the Kindle version of this book and was hooked from start to finish.

As a Hendon fan, many of the names in the post-war campaigns were ones that I'm quite familiar with. Not having seen any of the players in action, but my Dad could regale me with stories about Jimmy Quail, John Swannell, David Hogwood, Terry Howard, Rod Haider, Peter Deadman and co for hours and hours on end.

There was a lot I didn't know concerning 'shamateurism' and the conflicts between the FAs of the Home Nations. A thoroughly entertaining read with plenty of first hand accounts from the players themselves.

A must read for anyone who remembers the glory days of the Amateur Cup.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 2 Feb 2013
By George
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the BEST

so entertaining

Olympics thriller WoW

5Star by a mile best book in history

by George Beacheum Maclloud Balfour age 9
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must for British Olympic fans 28 Jan 2013
By Thorn
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a must-buy for followers of Britain at the Olympics. It covers a neglected part of Britain's participation in an entertaining fashion and corrects many errors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent history of forgotten teams 2 July 2012
Format:Hardcover
This is a fascinating story, analysed from every angle, and it is beautifully told, especially as it includes many personal accounts of the individuals involved in the story. There can't be too many football books around that include first-hand accounts of meeting Muhammad Ali, Emil Zatopek and Adolf Hitler!

It is a very complex history, which has had to face a number of emotive political issues every step of the way. These include the sensitivity of conceding individual national identity to a combined Team GB, the subsequent lack of enthusiasm from the Scottish, Irish and Welsh associations, the often futile attempts to compete as an amateur team against obviously professional opponents and the perceived internal bias towards the selection of southern-based amateurs, all set against the slow, but inevitable decline of the amateur game in the UK.

The book also includes all of the squad listings and team line-ups from all of the Olympic qualifiers and finals that Great Britain has previously competed in, plus a list of all of the friendly fixtures played in the lead-up to each Olympiad.

It's an ideal companion to whet the appetite for the forthcoming revival of TeamGB.
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