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The Rivals Game: Inside the British Football Derby [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Douglas Beattie
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 April 2011
Why do football fans decide to support one club over another in cities where intense, deep-seated rivalries exist? What makes them choose: family ties, geography, politics, religion or perhaps race? Rivals Game author Douglas Beattie spent two years discovering what lies at the heart of Britain's greatest derbies. Beattie takes the reader to the matches that have long been seen as passionate, divisive and vitally important to the entire cities in which they are played. These are the games that have a history of violence, feuding, social unrest and bigotry. But what is the truth about their origins and how does the enmity, so often displayed by supporters and gleefully reported by the media, manifest itself in an era which sees top clubs funded by billionaire chairmen and awash with TV revenue? With tensions rooted in Britain's industrial strength, and discord stretching back as far as the English Civil War, Douglas visited Sheffield, Birmingham, north London, Manchester, Liverpool, the North East, Edinburgh and Glasgow to uncover the answers to questions such as: why do the citizens of Sheffield call each other 'Pigs', who was Wallace Mercer - the man who divided Edinburgh, what is it like to meet Birmingham City's Zulus, why does the shadow of the Hillsborough disaster loom large in the history of the Merseyside derby and what caused Celtic and Rangers to go from best friends to sworn enemies?

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd; 2nd edition (1 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908051035
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908051035
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 21.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 547,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"There is a big piece of brain behind the brawn in this book my friends... It is a cracking yarn... If you want to read a little bit more about football culture and a little bit about the way it really ticks and I think what probably really drives people to derby madness and derby day mayhem, get hold of Douglas Beattie's book." --Steve Bunce, BBC London Sports Show

"Beattie gets a flavour for each rivalry, often accurately pinpointing the mentality of the two groups of fans." --Jon Crampin, FourFourTwo

"I loved this book... Football fans will love it, it gets right to the heart of why people choose their clubs and what these cities are like to live in... I doubt a finer football book has been written about the game in Britain... Cover to cover a cracking read."

"Beattie combines excellent reportage with a great deal of deftly rendered (and appropriately acknowledged) history to reveal that some of the most prolonged rifts have their roots in the actions of historical individuals." --Andrew Baker, The Telegraph

"The Rivals Game offers a great deal for both partisan and impartial lovers of the not-always-beautiful game." --Simon Redfern, The Independent

"What Beattie has produced is an intelligent and well-written insight into the eight biggest derbies in British football - it does afford Beattie the opportunity to pack the book with information to entertain and interest the reader - there is also plenty of humour." --When Saturday Comes

"It's a real fans' book, that's exactly what it is. Reading about the reasons why you support one team or another, or you are passionate about one team or another, it brought it all home to me and it made sense." --Dotun Adebayo, Radio 5Live

About the Author

Douglas Beattie is a BBC journalist and producer. He regularly works for Radio 4 and has previously been with Five Live, the UK Press Association and Scottish Television's political unit, and has written about football for several major newspapers, magazines and websites. He has been a passionate football fan since childhood, despite the fact that his earliest memory is of Scotland's disastrous 1978 World Cup campaign in Argentina. Asked why he wanted to write this book, Douglas said, "I have always been interested in derby matches: the way they divide communities and families. I wanted to find out what made the fixtures special, examine the clubs and the differing ways the supporters view their own neighbourhoods and the world beyond."

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Derbies 20 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent read covering the most passionate of games.
Covers my derby too.
Read on the way to your next Derby fixture to get you in the mood.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a five star read 23 Aug 2013
this book is excellent. my main interest in it being a city fan was the manchester section, the author describes it very well from a city fan's point of view regarding all things we and other clubs fans see has the other lot wanting world domination!. all the other teams are equally well researched. the history regarding each rival club was fascinating. all in all a brilliant & informative book. one slight niggle, there is a few spelling mistakes, but that doesnt take away from it being a great read. the author has thoughts of doing another book for more rival teams. go do it douglas!
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought.I knew quite a a lot.About the game the beautiful game of football, but I learn some thing new every time. Some fascinating facts. In the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Rivals 25 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Douglas Beattie has a good crack in giving the reasons why we tie our allegiance to one football club or another. These are some the rivalries between the big city clubs. Great read.
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