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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: The Rise and Fall of Pontypool RFC [Paperback]

Nicholas Bishop , Alun Carter
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 7.74 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

28 Aug 2014

What made Pontypool such a great seam of talent for the Welsh national team? Why were they hated and feared in equal measure by other clubs in Wales and across the Severn? What made Ray Prosser a coach ahead of his time?

In this engrossing book, Alun Carter and Nick Bishop recount the dramatic story of the rise and fall of one of the great enigmas of Welsh club rugby: Pontypool RFC. They chart the glories and violence of the amateur era in the 1970s and '80s before the club entered a period of steady decline in the age of professionalism, reaching the point of bankruptcy after a crippling legal battle with the Welsh RU. It is a symbolic tale of the disintegration of the social fabric that held a once-great club together, both on and off the playing field - often irresistibly funny, eventually tragic, but always larger than life.

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing (28 Aug 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1780576722
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780576725
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 13 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"What makes the book so compelling and readable is the window it opens on to the rugby and the imperatives, still relevant today, behind great teams and institutions...Fascinating and affecting" (Paul Ackroyd Times)

Book Description

The eventful journey of Pontypool Rugby FC, by the award-winning authors of Seeing Red

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must read" for all Welsh rugby supporters 7 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Pontypool RFC was once one of the strongest clubs in Wales, and famous all over the rugby world. Yet the club that could once boast an all-international pack has nearly folded several times and the glory days are just a memory. What happened?

This book explores, as its title suggests, the good, the bad and the ugly from a Pontypool perspective. Here you will read about the glory days, the fall from prominence during the unsustainable cash-waving of the early professional era, and the betrayal of not only Pontypool but of Welsh club rugby in general by the WRU as they badly botched the introduction of "regional" teams.

The authors pull no punches; they simply tell it as they see it.
Quite simply, if you're a Welsh rugby fan, even if you have never supported Pontypool, you should read this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First half of the book charts the story of the Pooler with Ray Prosser's uncompromising fitness and need for southern hemisphere intimidation on field. I was surprised by the revelations about the "extras" handed out by my childhood heroes - it does explain why so many teams cancelled fixtures. I remember so well opposition supporters calling us animals - always thought it was down to our superior fitness, strength and uncompromising pack - but the book reveals that we set out to deliberately hurt the opposition, by fair means or foul. Having just watched the Autumn internationals, so much rings true - the first dilemma faced by WRU (and the Northern unions), to beat the SH, we've got to be willing to embrace the extras.

The second half jumps swiftly, and I think appropriately past the management issues on and off the field at Pooler - just a few facts covered in enough detail to not leave gaps, now we're onto professionalism in Welsh Rugby. From the outset, it seems like the WRU focused on the Welsh team, then the big clubs, then the players when implementing professional rugby. No mention of supporters. Just a basic analysis to say 30 elite players = 2 or 3 regions. A few parochial arguments later and we end up with 4 regions with the same supporter base that they always had. As long as the national team does well, then all is rosy in Welsh Rugby. This book explains the physics and economics of why this is unsustainable and a doomed plan. We can see it today with elite players following the money to the big English/French clubs.
All in all an easy read with contributions from great players and minds in valleys rugby - its great to know that the glaringly obvious solution to professional rugby in Wales is simple and known to everyone in Wales except the WRU.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent well written book 26 Nov 2013
By Roger
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An excellent well written book. Very informative behind the scenes stories about Pontypool R.F.C. Such information not known to the general Poola supporter. I now know of some reasons for "The rise and fall of PONTYPOOL R.F.C." Also personally it was pleasing and surprising to read a couple of pages relative to my experiences with the co author Alun Carter during our employment in the Police Service. Thankyou Nick and Alun for a very good rugby book. You both did your homework
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Insigbt 22 Nov 2013
The book was bought as a present for an avid Pontypool Rugby fan. Suffice to say, he was t disappointed with it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Present 22 Nov 2013
Bought this book as a present for my dad as he"s a lifelong Pontypool supporter. By the look that he didn't put it down for 2days that he enjoyed reading the book. Thanks
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welsh Rugby is nothing without a Poola 20 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I am a Blaenavon boy who has followed this iconic Gwent team all my life. The book is superb reading warts and all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pooler - Pooler - Pooler! 18 April 2014
As a West Mon boy I grew up watching Pooler on the Bank in the halcyon days of the late 70's and 80's. I found the book very poignant and quite touching as it brought back happy childhood memories of people that I knew, both players and school masters, and some of the great matches I watched at the Park. However, over and above the misty-eyed feeling it gave me, the real triumph of the book is its erudite and compelling analysis of the profound state of chaos that professionalism and regionalisation has had in Wales, particularly the eastern valleys. I am naturally opposed to the Black and Ambers, and that has been part of the tribalism that has riven the area and blighted regional development for years. If there's one lesson in the book it is that Welsh rugby will not prosper until the regional model is redeveloped so that it is not dominated by the M4 corridor and embraced by all fans. If that doesn't happen it will be a cemetery west of Offa's Dyke, never mind the Valleys.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pontypool i love you 9 Dec 2013
By val
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
outstanding book all the star rugby players if like me you have been a pooler fan four years its a must on the christmas list
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