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The Road to Lisbon Paperback – 25 May 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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£7.99 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn Ltd (25 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780270844
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780270845
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 508,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Martin Greig is an award-winning freelance journalist and writer. His first book, The Zen of Naka, a biography of the enigmatic Japanese football legend Shunsuke Nakamura, was published in August 2008 by Mainstream publishing. A Japanese translation was published in the Far East in March 2009.

Product Description

Review

'Intense … the authors capture the passion and determination of the true football devotee,' --The Herald

'On the Road' for football fans with an expertly sketched Jock Stein in the driver's seat' --The Scotsman

'As a fellow writer The Road to Lisbon fills me with envy and admiration. Not my team, not quite my era yet I was hooked - utterly drawn in by the two narratives and it made me remember what I felt like when I first fell in love with football and it wasn't a job but a passion. Thank you to Charlie and Martin for that' Graham Hunter, Sky Sports' Spanish football expert --Graham Hunter, Sky Sports' Spanish football expert

Without doubt, 1967 was a landmark year for Celtic. In the hands of Jock Stein, they had become a mighty team, and this novel is set in the week leading up to the European Championship in Lisbon, where there were to face Inter Milan for the cup. It tells of Tim, a young man from the Gorbals who travels to Portugal with some mates for the game. Tim aspires to be an artist, and the tension between his upbringing and the bohemian world he wants to join is palpable. But his story is interspersed with the thoughts of Stein himself as he plans for the forthcoming match with military resolve and thinks back over his career up to that point, The Stein sections can be a little exposition-heavy, but they re intense, portraying the legendary manager almost as a force of nature. By focussing on both boss and fan, the authors capture the passion and determination of the true football devotee' --Alastair Mabbott, The Herald

About the Author

Martin Greig is an award-winning freelance journalist and writer. He lives and works in Glasgow. Charles McGarry is a freelance subeditor and designer for various national and local newspapers. He lives and works in Glasgow.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
It's rare to get a really good novel about football. Most end up somewhere between Roy of the Rovers and Footballers' Wives, but Greig and McGarry have done a fine job of meshing the historical narrative of Jock Stein's journey and that of the main character. They spirit of the time is admirably conveyed, and they manage to capture the wonder the journey to Lisbon holds for a group of young guys who have barely been out of the Gorbals before. What could have been a bland travellog is turned into an exciting adventure, although at no point did I feel that our heroes were ever in any real danger of not reaching their destination.

Particular praise should be given to the final chapter, as the authors effortlessly tell the tale of the cup final, smoothly switching from the view from the bench to the view from the terracing and fully encapsulting the raw energy of the occasion. The way the novel ends is well done, and you're not left asking "But what about...?"

Throughout the novel the Stein sections were, without exception, excellent. They mange to capture the character and soul of the Big Man without reading like a dry biography.

I only have two minor criticisms:

1 - in my opinion the "So what was your favourite Celtic game?" device was overused. I can see why it was done - after all, this is a story about guys whose only true bond is a love for their club - but it is used far too often, and at points I was thinking "Would that character really have been old enough to have remebered that game, especially as this is not set in an age of mass media?"

2 - the use of Glaswegian slang and dialetic is not consistent.
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Format: Paperback
This book will be hugely enjoyable even to those who don't follow Celtic and aren't especially interested in football. It is the humanity in both characters, Stein and Tim, which keeps the pages turning, and the two narratives blend superbly. Great work by both authors.
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Format: Paperback
Bought this on a whim. I'm a Celtic fan but I don't particularly want to read books about the club. But I found this to be a charming, sparky novel. The two intertwinning narratives create a great counterpoint and foil to each other. Particularly impressed by the detail and research that has gone in to authentically capturing what was a magical era. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
THIS was given to me by a friend before I went on holiday and I finished it in my first day. A really brave way of re-telling a story which will be familiar to football fans of a certain generation.
By splitting the narrative between a Celtic support and the club's manager Jock Stein, the book really puts you in the moment of 1967 and what it must have been like for all those Scots, many of whom were travelling abroad for the first time.
The only other book I'd read like this was the Damned United - the story of Brian Clough's ill-fated spell at Leeds.
That too was great. If anything I think the Road to Lisbon is even better.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book. A novel about the aspirations of two men who directly and indirectly discover that football has the power to change their lives profoundly.
Good novels with a football theme are very rare and a novel with co-authors even rarer - however, against the odds, Greig and McGarry have pulled it off.
I found the Stein character compelling, tough, uncompromising, whose gritty idealism gave him a real humanity.
The parallel narrative of the Tim character, a not so hardened Gorbals gang member, looking to his team "Celtic" to give his life meaning and discovering a life and love outside football and Glasgow, gives a social and political context to the novel as well as wit and slapstick humour.
For those too young to remember the actual event "The Road to Lisbon" is the fictionalised story of the extraordinary Celtic team who became the first British club to win the European Cup and to do it with a team and manager assembled from a thirty mile radius of Glasgow. A classic David and Goliath story with a dash of romance. There is real flesh to the familiar characters and cameo appearances from those other greats of 1960's football management, Busby and Shankly.
Thankfully the novel is not too reverent about the real people who are the characters here and Stein's personal journey through the troughs of being a full time miner and part time journeyman footballer to the peak of winning the greatest prize in world club football is told with wisdom and wit and warts.
This is a cracking tale, well told.
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Format: Paperback
The Road to Lisbon is one of those rare 'football books' that can be enjoyed by football fanatics and those not interested in the beautiful game alike. As someone who falls into the first category I loved it, but as someone who studied Scottish literature I loved it even more. The best Scottish texts tend to toy with dual narratives and this one is no exception. The split story is one of the best features of the novel, and the way in which it 'talks up' to the reader rather than 'talks down' sets it aside from other books revolving around the beautiful game.

Indeed, TRTL combines all the best features of the Road Movie with those of the football story with effortless brilliance, but you don't have to be particularly interested in either genre to enjoy it (though for me it certainly helped). I would also say that, as someone who is not a Celtic supporter, club allegiances are of little importance in terms of interest in the story, as the contrast between a slice of 60s culture in Scotland and some brilliantly constructed insight into the mind one of the greatest managers of all time is its real selling point.

Highly recommended.
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