on 23 March 2011
The book was the best autobiography I have read since Stuart Imlachs. Both written by sons of the subject. I first saw John play at Hillsborough when he made his Spurs debut.I was also fortunate enough to get his autograph(as I recall he arrived on his own and not on the coach).
The book arrived on the Monday and I'd read it by Wednesday.
It's easy to sense the frustration of the author (Rob)gaining all the second hand information about his father but not being able to have anything of his father first hand.
Definitly one I would recommend It has been worth the wait.
on 23 April 2011
This book is quite simply a superb read, a real page-turner. Rob White has done an excellent job and I found reading it was almost like watching a video of the Double Team and the seasons either side of it. In fact as well as being a splendid tribute to the late great John White, it represents as good a review of the Double Team as I have ever read(and there are lots out there).
You could forget just how good John White was and I was fortunate enough to see him play. The term "the Ghost of White Hart Lane" fitted him as well as his famous Number 8 shirt. The origins of the term "Ghost" are still unclear. Was it the press who first used it; one of his team mates; or Nobby Stiles who couldn't mark him as Spurs won effortlessly 2-0 at Old Trafford (Spurs fans, just soak that in for a moment!)?
For me, one of the brilliant aspects of this book is not just how it is an insight into John White, footballer, but John White the man, and how he was so central to the Double Team; his relationships with Cliff Jones and Dave Mackay, and how the whole team were one unit. Rob White brings back to life just what a different era 1960-61 was, in the days before squads and sunbstitutes. Spurs won the Double with the same 11 players in most games, no-one else played more than 6 games all season.
Another excellent aspect of the book is how the author concentrates individual chapters on other players; the ones on Tommy Harmer (Harmer the Charmer) and the wonderful Dave Mackay are superb. You realise that Mackay was not only a great player (for me, the Best Ever to wear the Lilywhite shirt), but also a great man who did all he could to support John's family after the disaster at Crews Hill Golf Course in the Summer of 1964.
Spurs fans who were alive at the time will remember where they were when they heard of John's death, aged just 27, from a lightning strike. The name Crews Hill for a Tottenham fan has the same chill feel as "Munich" . That one act dealt the death of the Double side.
The insight into the Spurs legend Bill Nicholson is also dealt with very well. Why did Bill not buy players from 1959 (when he signed John) until 1963 when the likes of Lorrie Brown (oh dear!) arrived at the club? What did Bill see in John White that all those Rangers scouts didn't spot when he was at Falkirk? It's amazing to read of John's meteoric rise to fame , in just 3 years, from Bonnyrigg Rose to Tottenham Hotspur via Alloa and Falkirk.
This book really is one of the VERY best written on one of the VERY best players ever to wear the Tottenham Hotspur shirt. Buy it and enjoy it.
on 12 March 2011
This is a great biography of a supremely talented football player in an era when the passion and commitment of the players puts current, pampered, football players to shame. This biography has also filled a huge gap in the Tottenham Hotspur genre, and a lot of people will be very glad to see it on the shelf. The way Julie Welch and Rob White have written about his life and death, leaves no stone unturned, and deals with it all in a very sensitive way, filling out the picture with enrtrancing details.
Rob also tells his story, which will leave nobody unmoved, and is a moving insight into the relationship between father and son.
Enjoy reading it!
on 20 January 2013
This was a very good read. It was different because it was written on different levels. In the first instance it was a biography of a footballer who not only died young, but in macabre circumstances,he was struck by lightening whilst playing golf. On another level it is about a football team-Tottenham Hotspur, and their run of success in the late 50's and 60's, and the effect that John White had on that success. On another level it is about a son finding out about his father warts and all. It is strange to find out about your father you remember nothing of,the son Rob was only six months when he died, but thousand of people knew a great deal about-football fans of both Tottenham and Scotland.
The book is well written,and gives a good general idea of how Tottenham achieved the double. There were many interesting comparisons between then and now-the vast crowds that attended football matches-60,000 was common,so of the big scores that occured 7-2 seemed common,the fragility of footballers life once they finished they needed to find another occupation to pay the bills for the rest of their lifes,the state of the pitches and the ball especially in the middeof a cold wet winter,and the overalll fitness that was needed to combat those circumstances.
Overall you do not need to be a football fanatic to enjoy this book-though it helps-as there is a great deal more to enjoy and savour.Good read
on 4 May 2011
The Ghost of White Hart Lane is far more than a sporting memoir. Authors Rob White and Julie Welch have taken us on a journey back to the days when Tottenham Hotspur was a household name in world football, both to savour the atmosphere of those times 50 years ago, and also to seek out the essence of a father, John White, that one of the authors never knew. But it is handled with such a light touch, that what could be mawkish is truly moving, almost, dare I say it, religious in its subtlety. At the same time, the recreation of those years, 1959-1964, when John White was at Tottenham say so much about the human qualities of players on 20 quid a week that shame the many pampered, tantrum-throwing adolescents in football socks of today. Sure the temptation is there for the authors to descend into bathos and didacticism about where Spurs subsequently lost the plot, but, apart from a fleeting comment that "Spurs did not evolve", they rightly leave those questions to other forums. A fine read, that brought tears to these Australian, Spurs-loving eyes of mine. Even Arsenal fans might be grudgingly moved.
on 1 June 2011
A beautiful written book, the moan about Falkirk and Raith in another review is petty in the extreme. This is the story of a boy "searching" for his father, a father he never knew, but I did and so did millionds of other football fans. Read and enjoy.
on 14 June 2011
I really enjoyed reading this book, which is similar in many ways to the Stuart Imlach biography of his father.
It conjures up a vivid picture of the late 50s and early 60s, and the totally different lifestyle of the top players in those days - no flash cars, WAGs and exclusive night clubs for them. They were little different from the supporters, and didn't earn much more either!
I never saw John White, although I started watching Spurs in 1964, but every Spurs supporter knows his name, not just because of the tragic circumstances surrounding his death, but because he was a truly outstanding player.
The book brings the man, his team, and the time in which he lived, alive very eloquently, and was a most enjoyable, if ultimately rather sad read.
However, John White will forever be a Legend of White hart Lane!
on 25 April 2011
Excellently written, this book really eloquently recalls the halcyon days when Tottenham Hotspur were head & shoulders above the rest, not just in trophy terms but in style.
A must for all Spurs fans, both those, like me of a certain age and also for those too young to have seen John White but who have inherited the passion for this great club.
on 24 March 2011
A brilliantly told story of the Spurs legend John White. It works as a biography, story of how Sir Bill formed the 61 double team and a social commentary of life in the 50s and 60s.
The book is a must read for all football fans. I most enjoyed Rob's journey of discovery in trying to find the dad he didn't know but had heard so much about from other people. You also get a feel for the honesty and values that the players held and how they enjoyed simpler times.
You don't need to be a spurs fan to read this book. It's a real family story told in a touching way.
on 6 July 2012
I have now brought 4 copies of this book for myself and friends, it is quiet simply one of the most evocative and moving books I have ever read.This book is in essence a journey by the author Rob White in discovering about his father,John White a Spurs and Scotland footballer in the early 60's who was tragically killed by lightning whilst at the height of his career, his son Rob was 6 months old. This book conjures up brilliantly his search for the man his father was, not just as a footballer but as a person. John White played in the great Spurs Double team of 1960/61 and this book gives an insight into the life of a footballer during this period and their interaction with fans, the media, the club.
I shed a few tears whilst reading Rob's journey in discovering his father and a 89 year old friend of mine, Jim who saw John White play admitted the same whilst also adding that the modern day equivalent of John White would be Lionel Messi.
This is a book not just for Spurs fans but for anyone interested in social and football history in the 60's and for a warm and moving homage to a father.