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The Way It Was: My Autobiography [Paperback]

Stanley Matthews
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

4 Jun 2001
Stanley Matthews was the most popular footballer of his era, the man who epitomised a generation of legendary players: Tom Finney, Nat Lofthouse, Billy Wright and many more. He was the first footballer ever to be knighted, the first European Footballer of the Year (at 41), and he played in the top division until he was 50 - and he will be forever remembered for his performance in the Matthews FA Cup final of 1953, when he inspired Blackpool to victory over Bolton. THE WAY IT WAS is a the fascinating memoir of a great footballer and the remarkable story of an extraordinary life, written in the last months of his life.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Headline; New Ed edition (4 Jun 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747264279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747264279
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.9 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

"I have no regrets about anything I have done in my career or my life. I would have liked my mother and father to be around now to hear all the wonderful and complimentary things people so often say about me because my father would be very proud and my mother would believe them."

It is both sad and fitting that Sir Stanley Matthew's touching biography ended on such a personal note with him thinking, as he so often did, about other people rather than himself. But for once, all attention is on him in his timely autobiography, The Way it Was. It's a classic from rags to riches tale that takes him from the streets of Hanley in Stoke on Trent to the dizzy heights of football stardom, but the road was never an easy one and never once does Sir Stanley let us, or himself forget that. What comes across so well in this engaging and beautifully written biography, completed with the help of his close friend Les Scott, is how down to earth he really was; he was very conscious that the rewards in life only come with hard work and determination. It is the close bond he shared with his parents, especially that of his father, that comes across so memorably: "Never expect. Never take anything for granted. That way you'll never be too disappointed or hurt," his father tells him. It is advice that Stanley followed the rest of his life. Sir Stanley's untimely death means the inclusion of a tribute section penned by Les and dozens of emotional tributes from friends, colleagues, fellow players and fans that speak volumes about how highly regarded he was held both in and beyond the world of football. This is a beautiful tale, absorbing and well told, that, like the great man himself, is full of good humour, charm and pure class. --Jonathan Weir --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'...both a fascinating personal story and an evocation of a sporting world that has gone forever.' W Magazine

There is a heartfelt, elegiac quality [to] THE WAY IT WAS ... It is only a pity he is not here to see it published (Chris Maume, Independent)

`A first summary of the life, on and off the pitch of England's greatest player' Express

The book is an appropriate and nearly always engrossing chronicle of an illustrious career, and good to have (Ian Hamilton, Sunday Telegraph)

'his engrossing autobiography' Times

'impossible to imagine any of today's football stars ever producing a memoir half so interesting' Mail on Sunday

Especially rewarding, though, are Stan's descriptions of his technical perfectionism (Brian Glanville, Sunday Times)

A fascinating and amusing insight into the inner workings of football during its golden era (Saul David, Daily Telegraph)

THE WAY IT WAS is a ticket to a different era, when the game wasn't saturated with money and men like Sir Stanley upheld sporting ideals (Mike Pattenden, Times)

Brings vividly to life some of the greatest games of the time and features his perceptive analysis of the characters who illuminated the age (Independent)

The story of one of the greatest footballers of all time ... is told in great detail and with an unexpected sense of humour. It is his vivid memory that makes THE WAY IT WAS such a good read (FourFourTwo)

A gracefully crafted autobiography filled with entertaining anecdotes reflecting an age when the game was uncorrupted by greed and hooliganism (Birmingham Post)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I am in my mid forties and I have read a lot of football biographies, and this is without a doubt the best I have read. I mention my age because I missed the golden age of football and I never saw any of the great players mentioned in this book, but what the book does do is bring to life some of the names and times that I missed, a great glimpse of football as it was.
Stan himself comes over as a humble football visionary, taking diet and fitness seriously about 40 years before anyone else and a true talent. There are some episodes of his personal life he skips over like his divorce and re-marriage but this is a real insight to the golden age of football and a true footballing great.
I was at Wembley watching an International (England/Brazil?) when they announced Sir Stan had died, a poignant place to be but it did feel the right place to mourn the passing of one of our greatest footballers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FITTING RECORD OF A TRUE GREAT 21 Dec 2002
By A Customer
This is the story of one of the greatest footballers the world has ever seen. Everybody has heard of Sir Stanley Matthews but relatively few can remember seeing him play. Here's the chance to experience his life and career through his own eyes, and turns out to be one of the best sporting tales ever told. Despite his brilliance and fame, Sir Stanley won relatively few honours during his career...thesedays he'd be a fifteen million pound player holding down a first team spot at Arsenal or Manchester United with a houseful of medals and trophies. There's no sense of bitterness here though...You get the impression that he cherished virtually every minute of his long career. His story is fascinating enough in itself but what shines through is the honesty and humility of this man whose talent was so great but whose feet stayed firmly on the ground. His memory is rightly revered in his home city and indeed throughout the footballing world and reading this book will allow you to understand just why. There's no prima donna behaviour, no arrogance and no airs and graces. Just a normal guy who just happened to be a genius. Highly instruction in how football became the peoples game and a reflection on why it has lost that title in a wash of greed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
These days it`s hard to believe that football was once played by people with an absolute love of the game at heart.In an era when the maximum wage was in force players were often one or two club servants throughout their careers`.That was exactly the case with Stanley Matthews ,who unbelievebly played on until his fiftieth year.This book is a portrait of those more innocent times,a time when England was a major force in world football (younger readers may find this hard to envisage!). Matthews offers many insights into his long career and takes the reader on a journey through footballs` heady and exciting days.This book is a must for anyone with an interest in the beautifull game and how it was played before the money men got their greedy hands on it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Football magician with so much modesty. 5 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a story and put in such a humble way, what a character! Now I know how he managed to play first class football for so long, fitness, well he would blow all of today's footballers off the pitch with his unbelievable stamina and football skills. They do not make the like of him anymore unfortunately, a true British gent and a credit to his trade and country.
If we still practised the skills of dribbling the ball that he had in abundance we would be a more effective and feared world football power still.
I liked the bit about him being completely outplayed by the German leftback in his first game against them and then his working out how to better himself next time, for which he did in some style, England winning in Nazi Germany 6-3! His father was the driving force behind him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio Cassette
Stanley Matthews memoir is filled with meticulous details of a bygone era. I'm under the impression that Matthews in British sport must hold a place similar to the way we see such figures as Lou Gehrig or Stan Musial and the like. The breadth of detail is in fact a bit cumbersome, I really think the book should be read alongside Matthews' contemporary Tom Finney's My Autobiography which has a nice easygoing flow to it and is highly readable compared to this one. Still, it easily merits a top rating. The print in this book seems to even be smaller but historically it is an excellent account.

Matthews accounts are of the utmost intimate matters, as an example: playing a friendly against Nazi Germany in May, 1938 before a crowd of over 100,000 people in Berlin. The English players actually gave a Nazi salute before the game and there is a famous photograph of this. In this book, you will find out what was going on behind the scenes.

You will find out in those early days of International soccer fixtures, friendlies were regarded as just as important as the World Cup or Olympic games, whereas some tournaments were boycotted back then or not even attended at all with the ominous signs of war growing in Europe and around the world.

The summer of 1939 saw a similar incident, as the English team went into Milan to play the Italian team, the streets were filled with thousands of well-wishers. In the hotel lobby was a Maltese fans expressing their support for the 3 Lions buoyed it seems by a feeling of vulnerability to the Axis powers, Germany and Italy. In this famous game at the San Siro stadium, just like in the 1934 World Cup where referees were suspended for aiding Italy in its wins, this game again, saw farcical refereeing by a German to aid the host team.
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