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When You Put on a Red Shirt: The Dreamers and their Dreams: Memories of Matt Busby, Jimmy Murphy and Manchester United [Hardcover]

Keith Dewhurst
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
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Book Description

2 April 2009

'If David Lloyd-George was the most charismatic person I ever laid eyes on, Matt Busby was the most charismatic I have known, when he was the manager of Manchester United and I was a reporter travelling with the team.'

Keith Dewhurst first saw United play in 1946. Ten years later he was writing about them for the Manchester Evening Chronicle. Half a lifetime later, he looks back on a passion that helped to shaped his life.

On his journey from the terraces to the press box and then on to the game's inner sanctums, Dewhurst fell in love with a club and a game. A schoolboy fan when Busby arrived at Old Trafford, he was on the terraces as great teams took shape, and there as a reporter to witness the aftermath of the club's great tragedy - the Munich air crash. He was there too on the road with Jimmy Murphy, United's assistant manager and coaching genius, as the team played on during Busby's long recovery. In Busby, he witnessed both the hero of football legend and the darker side of a master manipulator. But in Murphy, he found his hero. It was Murphy who would tutor him in football and dreams, and Busby's ambiguous nature.

The friends Dewhurst made then, the players and the coaches, the lost and the saved, are with him still - in memory, if no longer in life. When You Put on a Red Shirt is Dewhurst's homage to them and to his youth, evoking with vivid brilliance a lost era, and powerfully recapturing a world which is becoming myth.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Yellow Jersey; When You Put on Red Shirt edition (2 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224082833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224082839
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 558,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"When You Put on a Red Shirt is the story of dreamers, hard men who wanted to create perfection on the football pitch. It's a story of tactics and idealism, poetry and savagery. The great strength of this book is the absence of nostalgia. Keith Dewhurst writes fondly but it's a hard, often cruel, world he's describing. And the muck! Jesus. I'd forgotten it existed." (Roddy Doyle)

"Keith Dewhurst brings to his subject the precision of a time-served journalist of the old school, the insights of a major dramatist and the uncompromising love of a lifelong supporter. Along the way he kicks a few myths into touch - notably the idea of the beautiful game being beautiful all the way through. You can't have beauty without the beast and Keith honours both parties." (Alan Plater)

"Its evocation of a vanished age should be required reading for the Ronaldos and Rooneys of our day" (Sunday Herald)

Book Description

A brilliant footballing memoir, in the tradition of My Father and Other Working-Class Football Heroes and Provided You Don't Kiss Me

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of football writing 20 Feb 2012
This might be the best book you will ever read about Manchester United, let alone about football in general. Keith Dewhurst has produced, in that most overused of terms, a classic, which is in part a beautifully written memoir of the two chief architects of Manchester United's resurgence after the Second World War and the devastation of Munich , but also his brilliant, unashamedly red-eyed reflections on what the Busby-Murphy partnership and their footballing philosophy brought to English football and how English football wilfully chose to ignore it.
When You Put on a Red Shirt, the title inspired by one of Jimmy Murphy's favourite maxims: `When you put on a red shirt, you're the greatest player in the world, even when you know you're not', might even make you dream. After reading it one night before nodding off, truthfully, I dreamt I was in Bari in 1945 where Murphy was giving the instructional lecture on football tactics at the army recreational centre which prompted Busby, then manager of the British Army team to ask him to be his assistant when he took up the reins at Old Trafford, a testament to the power and vividness of Dewhurst's prose.
Keith Dewhurst has learnt his trade as writer over many years, as a journalist, then scriptwriter for the stage and Z Cars and it shows. He can say more in one well-turned sentence than most manage in pages of over-written, pretentious verbiage. The author also knew the men he is writing about, Busby from a distance, Murphy as a friend and reported on the team's matches, travelling on the team coach. The book is bursting throughout with fresh and original first hand stories.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MUFC 16 Oct 2013
By anita
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
bought as a gift for an avid MUFC fan.....The review was good so am sure it will be well received. the delivery, packakging and service excellent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars busby babes 10 July 2013
By alice
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
fantastic book, very good, true story, bought as second hand but was a new book, found out a lot about United that did not know before, and about the Matt Busby and the Busby Babes, and Matt Busby's treatment of Jimmy Murphy
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5.0 out of 5 stars Putting On A Red Shirt 6 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Manchester United must be the most written about club in history, with many, many offerings from their early history to present day. Keith's book rightly belongs alongside the history of the club, and will undoubtedly capture an era some supporters will remember, but great value to those fans of today. Recommended read.
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