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The Footballer Who Could Fly [Hardcover]

Duncan Hamilton
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 10.34 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Aug 2012

'Without football,we were strangers under the same roof. With it, we were father and son.'

Longlisted for the 2012 William Hill Sports Book of the Year, Hamilton tells of how he was inspired by his father's devotion to Newcastle United and the heroes of yesteryear, such as Jackie Milburn, Bobby Charlton and Duncan Edwards, Hamilton recreates a distant, bygone age and charts the progress of post-war British football to the present day. From the hardscrabble 1940s and the 'never-had-it-so-good' 50s, right through to how the dowdy-looking First Division of the 80s transformed itself into the slick, money-driven Premiership that is so familiar to us today. Hamilton writes about the some of its most sublime players, from George Best to Lionel Messi, and some of its most respected managers, from Bill Shankly to Sir Alex Ferguson.

But at the heart of The Footballer Who Could Fly, is Hamilton's exploration of the bond between father and son through the Beautiful Game, and how football became the only live connection between two people who, apart from their love of it, were wholly different from one another.

From the two-time winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year comes a personal and affecting story that beautifully captures one of the most important three-way relationships in a man's life. Father and son and football.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Century (30 Aug 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1846059801
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846059803
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 229,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"[Duncan Hamilton's] spellbindingly evocative The Footballer Who Could 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. Hamilton dead-heats as the misty-eyed book of 2012." (The Observer)

"Another winner." (The Sunday Times)

"Pitch Perfect...marvellous and affecting...Hamilton is a first rate pen-portraitionist..." (Wynn Wheldon The Spectator)

"Hamilton brings football home...As a memoir, it is heart-crackingly nostalgic. As a record of historic moments in British football, it is eye-wateringly evocative." (Blackpool Gazette)

"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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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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 Sep 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Footballer who could Fly 22 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a lifelong Newcastle supporter I wallowed in the nostalgia of this extremely well written book. This is such good journalism, even those not interested in football would appreciate the love and respect Duncan Hamilton felt for his late father. A wonderful insight into the thoughts of iconic footballers such as Stanley Matthews, Bobby Charlton and Jackie Milburn amongst so many others. An ideal Christmas or birthday present to any football fan. Bill Hopkins
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winning choice 23 Sep 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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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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Father, Son and Football. 25 Sep 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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4.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected 24 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read the rave reviews for this book, and I enjoyed it but was expecting something more than anecdotes about the author's experiences as a football journalist and the reminiscences of his father. These all seemed quite disjointed and unrelated until the final chapter where the author analyses his relationship with his father, which in my opinion tied up the loose ends and was actually quite poignant. I would have enjoyed the book more if these reflections had been included as a thread throughout and not as an afterthought at the end. A pleasant and interesting read however.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars If only every football book was like this
Duncan Hamilton has a wonderful gift for descriptive prose and seems to have lived my life with all it's joy, selfishness, values and regrets. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Insider
5.0 out of 5 stars Duncan Hamilton
DH continues his series of superb sports based books, although they are so much more. Any man in their 50's will be moved by this.
Published 6 months ago by Stephen Hadden
5.0 out of 5 stars The magic of football
"He loved the Tyne the way Twain loved the Mississippi."

From that line, in the foreword, I was hooked. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars Football love affair
Duncan Hamilton's previous book about Brian Clough was pretty good (how could it not be with such a wonderful subject ? Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ian Thumwood
3.0 out of 5 stars Poorly edited
In general I enjoyed this book, being of the generation that grew up with football before the excesses of the Premier League. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Pozoscarbon
5.0 out of 5 stars The Footballers Who Could Fly
A masterpiece of fotball writing from Duncan Hamilton. Extremely well written insight into some of most iconic footballers ever to pull on a pair of boots. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
The book was excellent - my Husband really enjoyed it. A book from a Father to a Son - Recommended
Published 15 months ago by Julie Blemings
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT
Once again, Duncan Hamilton has produced a masterpiece , combining a touch of nostalgia and a mix of insight into close relationships.
Published 16 months ago by Philbo Baggins
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative
I guess all us football-loving 50 somethings will be nodding our heads in agreement page after page. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jonathan Belbin
3.0 out of 5 stars Shoots and misses!
I desperately wanted to like this book being a lifelong lover of football in general and Newcastle United in particular. Read more
Published 17 months ago by madhatter
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