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The Outsider: A History of the Goalkeeper Hardcover – 6 Dec 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (6 Dec 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409123197
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409123194
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 3.3 x 22.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jonathan Wilson is the Football Correspondent of the Financial Times and author of the critically acclaimed 'Behind the Curtain: Football in Eastern Europe' and 'Inverting the Pyramid'. Coming in time for the 2010 World Cup is 'The Anatomy of England', an in-depth look at ten crucial games that shaped England.

Product Description

Review

absorbing... Wilson's book offers a Christmas pudding of a narrative, richly packed with diverting nuggets of goalie lore (Paul Connolly METRO)

Wilson's thoughtful look into one of football's most under-discussed positions took him across several continents in search of some of the most eccentric, intellectual and downright bizarre individuals to have starred in the game... engrossing... The seamless and fascinating story of this curious outsider is a resounding success, and Wilson has once again come up trumps (DAILY MIRROR)

a splendid history of football's complicated scapegoats (Jim White THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)

fascinating... From the obese, to the heroic and the corrupt, goalkeepers provide endless anecdotal material. Wilson weaves it together skilfully, from Victorian times to the present, from Charterhouse to Cameroon. The case for the position provoking a kind of existential unease is elegantly made (LITERARY REVIEW)

Wilson's 'part technical, part tactical, part cultural reassessment' is as fascinating a study as FFT has ever seen on the psyche and evolution of the keeper. From tales of tragedy to examining the recent rise of American stoppers, you'll never view No.1 in the same way again (FOUR FOUR TWO)

Jonathan Wilson usually gives you more than you bargain for and The Outsider is no different... So plentiful were the extroverts and introverts in the goalkeeping fraternity, one wonders how it has taken this long for such a detailed all-encompassing account to emerge (IRISH TIMES)

In The Outsider, Jonathan Wilson offers an ebullient history of the goalkeeper and tries to work out what it is that attracts the spiritual, the quizzical, the odd and the reflective to the position... Wilson offers a picture of the goalkeeper as an outsider, but also more of an everyman than you might think. (David Goldblatt THE INDEPENDENT)

Few other positions in football are worth writing a book about... It is the goalkeeper who is the true object of fascination. As Jonathan Wilson points out in his excellently researched and written The Outsider, the reason for this is probably that the whole purpose of goalkeeping is to thwart everyone else (Peter Chapman FINANCIAL TIMES)

the ever-readable Wilson explores the psychological pressures of being cast in the role of the scapegoat...Thought-provoking and full of interesting detail... this book scores on every level (Simon Redfern THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

The Outsider is a terrific history of its subject. It wears its knowledgeable perspective lightly and deftly works its vast research into the text without battering you over the head with it. Wilson can always be relied upon to come up with something a little bit different and a little bit special, and this has plenty of both (WHEN SATURDAY COMES)

The Outsider is a terrific history of its subject. It wears its knowledgeable perspective lightly, and deftly works its vast research into the text without battering you over the head with it. Wilson can always be relied upon to come up with something a little bit different and a little bit special and this has plenty of both (SUNDAY BUSINESS POST)

Book Description

First ever cultural history of the goalkeeper, the 'loner' between the posts.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By G. Waterman on 10 Dec 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jonathan Wilson books follow a pattern, containing a deep forensic examination of his chosen subject demonstrating his powers of analysis, depth and breadth of research, passion, enquiring mind and sheer writing ability.

His study of the history, esoterica and meaning of goalkeeping is no different containing an in-depth historical, philosophical and practical study of how the role of the goalkeeper originated and has developed since the game of football was invented.

He examines, profiles, critiques or interviews the colossuses of the sport from all continents of the world and his descriptions of greats such as Yashin, Zoff, Shilton, Seaman and Buffon never fail to entertain or educate.

Being Wilson he takes detours into tributaries and backwaters of the game with an acute and forensic examination of the battle for the number one position between the two fantastic Cameroon keepers N'kono and Bell and the political sensitivity of their rivalry.

Fans of literature too will have a field day with goalkeeper themed novels from writers as diverse as Camus, Nabokov and Glanville coming under scrutiny.

This is an eclectic masterpiece and anyone who has either been thrilled or stunned at the exploits of a goalkeeper or taken their place between the posts will understand what it means to be a true Outsider and be both entertained, educated and fascinated by this wonderful book.

One tiny quibble - I was a great fan of the Flying Pig, Tommy Lawrence, one of the first sweeper keepers but surely he didn't merit two mentions of Joe Mercer's eulogising quotation about him, sharper sub-editing would have caught that one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ian Thumwood on 16 May 2014
Format: Paperback
Jonathan Wilson has the ability to convince you that football is an art form and the breadth of his knowledge about the game is so comprehensive that it sometimes feels like a totally different sport from that which fills the back pages of the tabloids. I found that he previous book "Inverting the pyramid" really made me think differently about the game and perhaps elevated it to a level that was almost scientific. In this recent book he changes tact and charts the iconic nature of goalkeepers and how they have emerged from being mavericks who were alienated from their team mates and considered differently by the fans to commensurate professionals who applied science to their trade as they became more integral in the team as the game modernised.

Personally, I suppose my interest in early football made the accounts of the Victorian goal keepers the most appealing section of the book, especially as a Southampton goalkeeper was identified as a significant figure in the evolution of this position. However, the book then changes direction and considers the role of goalkeepers throughout the world - a chapter on the two Cameroonian 'keepers being particularly interesting. The book is choc-a-bloc with detail as the author discusses the heroes of European football past and present as well as trying to evaluate whether Brazilian and Scottish goalkeepers are quite as poor as their historic reputation would suggest. As the book edges towards more familiar names of the 70's and 80's it is good to compare your own recollection of players with Wilson's assessment especially with regard to Peter Shilton who also wore the No. 1 jersey for Southampton.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Owens on 21 Jan 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having received the book for Christmas, I quickly turned to the index and scanned the pages for the surname of my goalkeeping hero: Neville Southall. Alas, his name wasn't there, and I immediately started to question the quality and validity of a book about goalkeepers without reference to the best of the lot. I was wrong to do so. Wilson has done a fantastic job, his research taking him all over the world to talk goalkeeping and goalkeepers with good, bad and indifferent custodians. I really enjoyed the chapter on the Cameroon goalkeeping rivalry (Nkono was my favourite keeper in Italia 90), and the chapter on Europe's finest is both brilliantly written and wonderfully informative. Goes one step further than Bob Wilson's excellent 'You've got to be crazy'.
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By Cecilia Walker on 8 Jun 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
for my goalkeeper son and he has thoroughly enjoyed all the various articles. Nice mix of past and present so a win-win
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By JB on 18 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wilson's previous works have already marked him out as arguably the most impressive football writer of his generation. This is another stellar contribution, an enthralling history of the goalkeeper which covers so many great names from the past. From the likes of Ricardo Zamora to Lev Yashin, many notable characters are detailed in enjoyable fashion. Recommended and I look forward to Wilson's next contribution on Argentina.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a goalkeeper in my youth, and still a major sympathiser with those last lines of defence, I'm always interested to read anything about them, particularly an analysis so comprehensive about this. The author has clearly done A LOT of research and interviewing in compiling the book, and there are some great stories and pieces of analysis and fascinating theory. The only slight downsides are that occasionally some of the theory can get a bit repetitive - the reasons for coming out and narrowing angles for instance are repeated a number of times it seems - and also there is a tendency in some chapters for a bit of stream of consciousness to take over, with the author going off into other tenuously related stories that would have been better placed elsewhere.

Those points aren't a major annoyance though, and anybody who considers themselves a student of the art of goalkeeping will enjoy this thoroughly.
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