This is a serious and scholarly study of the development of Association football in the Greater Manchester area. It is not a hagliography, It details the darker side as well as the triumphs. Also, the author doesn't waste too much time on the well documented events such as The Munich air disaster or the 1999 treble season.
This history isn't exclusively about the two major Manchester clubs. It covers, fairly comprehensively the lesser lights, Rochdale, Oldham, Bury, Stockport as well as the non-league clubs like Stalybridge and Hyde. The story is one of organic growth whereby the the history and fates of the larger clubs are somehow part of the same fabric that binds them to the district's smaller clubs.
Collecting the information for this book must have been very difficult as the author is explicit in separating the primary sources from the secondary and he is not afraid to debunk some of the myths that have arisen from some of those secondary (such as oral accounts) sources.
Every major city should commission a similar account of their local football clubs. It is an indispensable record of social development.