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James Quinn (Dublin)
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Dynasty: Fifty Years of Shankly's Liverpool
Dynasty: Fifty Years of Shankly's Liverpool
by Paul Tomkins
Edition: Paperback

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading, 22 Oct. 2008
Given the volume of material available on the unique history of Liverpool Football Club, it was difficult to imagine that a book celebrating 50 years of `Shankly's Liverpool' could offer such a fresh view of the goings-on at the club throughout that period. This idea of the book is not simply to discuss the many, many events that helped shape the `Dynasty', but to focus on the main people involved, and how each of them have contributed in their own way, to compare and contrast the reigns of each of the eight men in charge, but also to compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of the rivals at each time and put the successes and failures into their historical context.

Each of the managers are analyzed in an extremely comprehensive manner in several different categories, including the strength of the team they inherited, their record in the transfer market, their record on the pitch and, ultimately, their legacy. In order to help contrast the transfer records of the managers, he uses what I found to be a superbly detailed scoring system which helps to rank the best and the worst of each manager. Also on offer here is key information relating to spending power of the club as well as that of their rivals during each reign which leaves the reader with no doubt as to the difficulties facing each manager, without ever stopping to use the greater financial power of other clubs as an excuse for relative failure.

Another key point of the book is that none of the men under discussion are ever glamorized. While the strengths are discussed, so too are the weaknesses, none of which slip under the radar in a bid to compare one manager favourably against another. Despite the large quantity of data and statistics on offer in this book, it's main strength is in the narrative. Never does the reader feel weighed down by the data coming their way, rather, the facts and figures come in a manner that is extremely easy to follow and at times utterly fascinating. The structure of the book leads to a very comfortable read that I would recommend to anyone with even a passing interest in football.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 14, 2008 12:02 PM GMT


Golden Past, Red Future: Liverpool FC - Champions of Europe 2005
Golden Past, Red Future: Liverpool FC - Champions of Europe 2005
by Paul Tomkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Years Later and it Still Reads Wonderfully, 17 May 2007
With Athens looming, I pulled this out recently to try and help relive some of the memories of Liverpool's last Champions League victory, and I had forgotton just how good it really was. Every single aspect of that remarkable and unforgettable season is captured and even two years after the events of that amazing night in Istanbul, the book has lost none of its appeal. The inevitable end of the Houllier campaign, the Michael Owen transfer saga and all the other comings and goings, the arrival of Rafa Benitez, the Carling Cup final, the early FA Cup exit, the very poor league campaign and the night of May 25th are all covered with honesty, humour, integrity and passion. Paul Tomkins is clearly a man who loves Liverpool Football Club. I have read opinions before that claim this to be a problem. Yes, there is a bias towards the club, but I don't recall reading the line where he claims to be anything other than a passionate supporter. In fact, one of the most remarkable things about this book is that despite this bias, the book is very balanced. He remains very objective and doesn't shy away from any of the problems that had to be addressed. Nor does he see the problems that were at the club at the time as been akin to an end-of-the-world scenario. He puts the shortcomings of that season into perspective and explains his faith in the manager's abilities. Since the book was written, Liverpool have won an FA Cup, had their highest ever Premiership points tally and are now less than a week away from a second European Cup Final appearance in three seasons, which to me proves that he was right to display the level of faith he had in the club's direction; the proof is there for all to see.

Obviously, fans of Liverpool Football Club will find more to enjoy in this book than most. But I would also suggest that anyone who has any interest in a story, well told, about triumph in the most unlikely of circumstances, should also have a read. I cannot recommend it highly enough.


Red Revival: Rafa Benitez's Liverpool Revolution
Red Revival: Rafa Benitez's Liverpool Revolution
by Paul Tomkins
Edition: Paperback

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Companion for Golden Past, Red Future, 17 July 2006
Following on from the brilliant `Golden Past, Red Future' was never going to be easy. With neither number 6 nor the long-awaited number 19 arriving in 2006, there was never going to be an ending to match that of Istanbul, no matter how hard the Cardiff heroics tried. But there was plenty for Liverpool fans to cheer about last season, and even more to look forward to in the near future, all of which is analyzed comprehensively in this great book, which for me is equally as good as its predecessor.

Every aspect of the season is discussed, from the will-he won't he Gerrard saga of 2005, to all the new additions to the squad including Robbie Fowler, to the best ever Premiership points tally all the way on to that memorable Saturday in Cardiff. Detailed statistical analysis of individual players lets readers realize just how important each was for the team in their own way as the reds broke the club record for consecutive clean sheets. It also suggests how Liverpool might combat Chelsea's spending, gives a good description of the new scouting system that Benitez has installed and details the youth team players who may or may not have the ability to break into the first team.

A great read for any fan of football (obviously, Liverpool fans will have more to enjoy than most) which is insightful, intelligent, at times very witty and most important of all, thoroughly enjoyable. Highly recommended


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