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The Footballer Who Could Fly [Kindle Edition]

Duncan Hamilton
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

'Without football, we were strangers under a shared roof. With it, we were father and son.’

Inspired by his father’s devotion to Newcastle United and the heroes of yesteryear, Duncan Hamilton brings to life a bygone age telling the story of British football from the hardscrabble 1940s and the ‘never-had-it-so-good’ ’50s right through to the dowdy First Division of the ’70s and ’80s, and today’s slick Premiership. Hamilton recalls some of football’s most sublime players, managers and characters, from Bill Shankly and Jackie Milburn to George Best and Lionel Messi.

But at the heart of The Footballer Who could Fly is Hamilton’s relationship with his own father. Here he tells how football became the only real connection between two people who, apart from their love of the beautiful game, were wholly different from one another.

Product Description


"Heart-crackingly nostalgic" (The Times)

"Spellbindingly evocative ... an unforgettable homage not only to his father but to his flat-capped generation of ye grand olde days of thud and mud and Saturday's teatime urban gloaming." (Observer)

"Pitch perfect … This marvellous and affecting book, which is about love and fatherhood and history and manners as much as it is about football … Hamilton is a first-rate pen-portraitist." (Spectator)

"Hamilton wrote two of the best sports books of recent years, on Brian Clough and the cricketer Harold Larwood ... a fine collection of vignettes ... make this another winner." (Sunday Times)

"Hamilton takes us on a hugely enjoyable nostalgia trip...a moving depiction of how football can bind together a family." (Sunday Express)

Book Description


The story of one man's life told through the prism of his father and grandfather's love of football.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1342 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (30 Aug. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008AX16VQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #219,247 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic romp 8 Sept. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Duncan Hamilton is incapable of writing a dull sentence and I had eagerly awaited his discourse on the development of football over the past 60 years and how the game enabled him to form a bond with both his grandfather and father.

Fortunately I was not left disappointed as the author has produced yet another book that deserves to be savoured.

Those who have read his warts and all yet loving portrait of Brian Clough will not be surprised to learn that icons such as Jackie Milburn, Jim Baxter, Bobby Charlton, Duncan Edwards and Bill Shankly come under similar scrutiny and the descriptions of them, others and great matches from the past are illuminating and powerful.

Hamilton roves through history and brings us up to date with a wonderful analysis of Barcelona and Messi and what shines through is his passion for the sport and how it enabled him to communicate with his father, a former miner and a man of his times who found it hard, if not impossible to show his emotions.

Football gave them a common bond and a way of finding each other.

Anyone who read the homages to both Stewart Imlach and John White by their respective sons will identify with this jewel of a book which could well put Mr Hamilton in the running for his third Sports Book of the Year Award.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully evocative 20 Oct. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This marvelous book would be of interest to anyone who grew up enjoying football in the days before satellite TV changed everything. It is at once a deeply moving account of the author's relationship with his father, and of his father's fascination with, and devotion to, professional football, as it used to be.

In essence it comprises a series of portraits of players and managers, all of which combined to give the relationship between father and son an intimacy and depth that could not have been achieved in any other way. Some of the characters are well known, such as Bobby Charlton and Bill Shankly, others less so, like Ray Kennedy and Wyn Davies, but we gain new insights throughout the book, as we see football through the philosophical eyes of the author's father.

This is the third book by Duncan Hamilton that I have read, the others being Provided You Don't Kiss Me and Harold Larwood. Each has been even better than the last. It would not be a surprise if this one was to follow in their footsteps and pick up the William Hill prize.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winning choice 23 Sept. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Don't be surprised to see this book winning the next William Hill sports book of the year award. Like his previous books this is well researched and beautifully written in a style that DH has made his own weaving nostalgia with interesting fact with a fair sprinkling of simile and metaphor. On one level this is a sports book about football icons of the past but has a much deeper and interesting theme about a son's journey in discovering his father. One to read and savour.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Father, Son and Football. 25 Sept. 2012
By ACB(swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Duncan Hamilton (DH) has already won Sports Writer's awards for his books on Harold Larwood and Brian Clough. His latest offering is written with the same stylish and researched fluency. He was born in Newcastle. His father was a miner moving from Stirling to Newcastle for work then taking the family to Nottingham. DH was raised on stories told by his father of the days of 'real football'. Newcastle United was his passion. Legendary players were his heroes. Working-class men like Jackie Milburn 'the greatest of the very great', Stanley Matthews, Tommy Lawton, Duncan Edwards, Bobby Charlton and more. Bed-time stories for him were football tales.

DH became an avid soccer fan like his father. He takes us on a nostalgic, historical journey from these early days of the £12 per week stars to the millionaire trappings of the Premier League. Bill Shankly could have bought the whole of his 1963 Liverpool Championship side for the price of a superstar's wristwatch. The in depth analysis of especially gifted players, Best, Messi,Bobby Moore, for example and managers, Clough, Shankly, Jock Stein, Busby, show his admiration in affectionate terms of their skills and achievements without being overly sentimental of the bygone days.

This is an honest book not intended to be humorous but contains many wisecracks and witty remarks, especially from Clough and Shankly. Duncan's father showed no overt affection for his son nor praise for his journalistic achievements with the Nottingham Evening post. Their common bond was the ardent love of football. DH writes, 'Without football we were strangers under a shared roof' and 'Without football we'd have had nothing to say to each other. The game alone pushed us into one another's orbit'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More than the football 7 Aug. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a moving book because the author successfully weaves the story of his relationship with his father together with descriptions of some of the major footballing characters of the last six decades, drawn from their shared, often personal experience of these same characters. I am sure my enjoyment was enhanced by the fact that I am the same age as the author and therefore many of the people and experiences he describes are familiar. Nevertheless, the book is not a simple, one-dimensional history, but rather it uses football as a back-drop to deeper reflections on ordinary human life; in this sense it will be widely appreciated.

To practiced readers of football history narratives, some of the material will feel slightly tired and familiar, such as the sections on Duncan Edwards and Bobby Charlton, where so much has been said already. But any such limitations are the exception and far outweighed by the fresh insights on less frequently featured individuals, drawn from direct encounters by either Hamilton senior or junior. These meetings provide memorable glimpses of players like Jackie Milburn, Danny Blanchflower, Wyn Davies, Ray Kennedy, Jim Baxter and many others. It is when the author is “up close and personal” that the writing has real poignancy.

The book also avoids the risk of being a very personal affair. Clearly as Duncan Hamilton recounts, the loss of his father hit him in delayed and devastating fashion. However, he manages to celebrate his father and their mutual love of football without losing the general relevance for the reader and in so doing provides something more than a nostalgic football read. It is this combination which works so well and makes the book stand out for more than the football.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
Husband really enjoyed reading this. Good gift idea for any football fan.
Published 13 days ago by Mr J.
5.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can recommend it to any football
Absolutely superb book.I am not a follower of Newcastle United which the story is centred about but, nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can recommend it to any... Read more
Published 3 months ago by anglesey lad
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! - a book that explains the son-father relationship ...
Brilliant! - a book that explains the son-father relationship in football mad households, this one in Newcastle but this could be anywhere in the country. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Dr Lee Renforth
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read!
I picked this up last week and have not put it down since.

The way Duncan writes so passionately about all topics in this book is impressive and keeps my attention... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Marc
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Purchased as a present. It was well received.
Published 5 months ago by Lindylou
5.0 out of 5 stars The book that made me cry
I have read many football books over the years but this book is by far the best. Not only does it tell of old Newcastle players and other famous footballers it also tells the the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by john surgenor
4.0 out of 5 stars Even my scots friend liked it even though he was not brought up in ...
Evokes memories of this reader's childhood with skill and detail. Even my scots friend liked it even though he was not brought up in similar working class milieu described in the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by R. Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great story of a son's love for his Dad and Newcastle United
Published 10 months ago by Geordiedoonsooth
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely superb
For any football fan, particularly a Newcastle Utd fan this is a must, even more so if you and your father share the same passion for the beautiful game. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Stephen young
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as I expected
Superb book about footie in the North East where players were once idolised. Written in such a strange manner as to make it really enjoyable from a Granddads viewpoint.
Published 13 months ago by Mr. Robert I. Welsh
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