- 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)
The Road to Lisbon Paperback – 25 May 2012
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More About the Author
'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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have watched and read so much about Lisbon 67 that I actually feel like I was at that match. Read more
It's not what I thought it would be. I'm a bit disapointed by the story. I remember this time so well and wanted to relive the thrill of the run-up to the final and the game... Read morePublished 14 months ago by John Mac
A real page turner for the best fans in the world bar none. Hail Hail would strongly recommend this bookPublished 15 months ago by Paisley bhoy