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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New edition edition (5 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571224334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571224333
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.4 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Peace - named in 2003 as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists - was born and brought up in Yorkshire. He is the author of the Red Riding Quartet (Nineteen Seventy Four, Nineteen Seventy Seven, Nineteen Eighty and Nineteen Eighty Three) which was adapted into an acclaimed three part Channel 4 series, GB84, which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Award, and The Damned Utd, the film version of which (adapted by Peter Morgan and starring Michael Sheen) was released in Spring 2009. Tokyo Year Zero and Occupied City are the first two books in his Tokyo Trilogy.

Product Description


'The most extraordinary novel about football yet to appear.' --Tim Martin, Independent on Sunday

'The Damned Utd is an overwrought, overblown, sliding tackle of a book. I loved it.' --Tony Saint, Daily Telegraph

'If Euripides had ever tried ghosting football memoirs he could not have done it better.' --Alfred Hickling, The Guardian

Book Description

The Damned Utd, by David Peace, is the hugely acclaimed novel of 1970s football, and the turmoil of Brian Clough, the game's most charismatic and controversial manager.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By haunted on 17 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
At first glance Peace's choice of the
world of 1970's football to set a novel in seems strange. In fact the story of Brian
Clough's 44 days at Leeds United has everything required for a good story- corporate
intrigue, bitterness between work colleagues and an alcoholic anti-hero with
a rags to riches backstory.

The narrative has two alternating strands - Clough's description of his 44
days at Leeds and the story of his time in football management from his
the premature end of his playing career to taking the Leeds manager's job.
At first I didn't find this appealing but as the book progresses this style makes it clear
that his seemingly bizarre actions as Leeds manager had their roots in the attitudes
he had developed and events that had happened in his life and career
to that point, such as his dismissal as manager of Derby. It was the same attitudes that made his premature departure from Leeds inevitable.

The constant repetition of certain phrases of Clough's internal monologue along with his bizarre behaviour (e.g. burning the desk in his predecessors office) hint at a man close to the edge of sanity and knee deep in paranoia. The shadow of the hated previous Leeds manager (Don Revie) fills Clough's thoughts as he aims to completely change the style of play that had made Leeds so successful and so unpopular.
The senior Leeds players engineer his dismissal for this very reason. Clough was unwilling to give Revie or the players any credit, convinced that any success had been achieved through cheating and foul play. He appears only occasionally at training, then usually to abuse the players. At the same time he tries half heartedly to be friends with senior players such as Billy Bremner.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Somnambulist on 26 Nov. 2007
Format: Paperback
It's worth remembering that this is a work of fiction - because you'll more than likely become so embroiled in the club politics, so in awe at Clough's undoubted inspirational skills, and so full of pity for an obviously tortured soul, that you'll have to keep re-reminding yourself!

Swept away on a tide of 70s nostalgia, this is the footballing equivalent of Life on Mars - when players smoked, drank and partied `til the end of their careers, and then opened a pub.

Clough is portrayed as the egotistical maniac that he evidently was, but an attempt to delve into his complex psyche leads you to empathise with the flaws in his character, but sympathise for the love of the game that he had. It shows the contempt for everyone who he saw as standing in the way of playing his style of football, and the results that his way of playing produced.

I was struck by the similarities of Leeds when Revie left, to Liverpool when Dalglish left - i.e. top players and champions, but a team who was living on borrowed time, and who paid the price for self-congratulation for years to come.

Clough doesn't come out of it as a saint, but he does a damn site better than Leeds in that he evokes sympathy, whilst they manifest resistance and short-sightedness. This is finished off no better than the final reckoning when it is pointed out that in 1979 Clough took Forest to win the European Cup.

It will make you want to find out more about this great man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Kenyon on 9 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I moved to Leeds as a youngster just as the Revie era began and I followed the team until Wednesday 31st July 1974. The day Brian Clough was appointed manager of Leeds United I ripped off the badge from my jacket and have barely watched football since.

This book lays to rest some of the ghosts that haunt Leeds United during the late Revie era and beyond. The team was aging yet could not be broke up. It was Revie's family. The England job provided The Don a graceful exit.

Pradoxically Clough was chosen because he instilled in the Derby County players what Revie enjoyed at Leeds - total commitment. He was never given a chance at Leeds and on reflection he only has himself to blame. You can hear the chickens running home to roost page after page. Clough's obsessive hatred of Revie's Leeds was never hidden, and his abrasive manner with players who were at the top of their careers and his lack of pre-match preparation was diametrically opposite what had gone before at Elland Road.

The book has two stories running side by side. The first starts on Wednesday 31st July 1974, the second ends on that date. They come together beautifully in a collision of the inevitable. This, in the days before football clubs were seen as a conveniant way of refinancing other business interests, the inevitable being that football wasn't run for the fans or for the players, but for the director's prestige and vanity. If Clough thought he was bigger than Leeds United then he was only mirroring the pompous lead shown by football club chairmen throughtout the land. Clough lost his repuatation only to bounce back at Forest. Cussins lost his reputation and a great deal of money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Harrison TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 13 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had mixed feelings about Peace's GB84. It was technically impressive, and hugely atmospheric. But the fractured narratives stopped the plot from ever gaining momentum. So I approached The Damned Utd with caution. Once again Peace intercuts his narratives - between a present of Clough's short tenure at Leeds, and a past of Clough's earlier career. But this time each builds on the other to give extraordinary depth. He creates a rich, compelling, mesmerising portrait of Clough without - I think - ever writing a word of straightforward description. He builds that portrait through action and pained introspection. You'll never find a book like this on the Booker shortlist. Its subject is football after all. And yet this is considerably more impressive writing than I have encountered in any Booker shortlist book I have read for some time. And also unlike most Booker books, this one is hard to put down.

Certainly you will get more from this if you are of a certain age, so that you can fully appreciate the brilliant evocation of 70s England. You'll also enjoy it all the more if you remember the great football names from this period. But to praise it simply as the best novel about sport (though it probably is) is to demean it. It is a tour de force of character creation. By the time you have finished you feel you are a member of Clough's family - with all the painful mix of pride and dismay that must involve.
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