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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's here, he's there, he's everywhere !, 31 Oct. 2003
Born in Airdre in December 1963, Brian McClair was a professional football player with Manchester United between 1987 and 1998. One of Sir Alex Ferguson's first signings for the club, he proved well worth the £850,000 paid to Celtic for his services. In his first full season at the club, he became the first United player since George Best to score 20 league goals in one season.
McClair was, and remains, hugely popular with the United supporters - some of his popularity possibly stems from the monthly diary he wrote in the 'official' club magazine. His column would've been at least good practice for this book, and quite possibly formed the basis for it.
Judging on how he writes, he certainly seems like someone whose company you could enjoy - very sharp and very witty. 'Odd Man Out' is largely a diary of the 1996/97, though it's far from a series of match reports just cobbled together. There's plenty of amusing stories centred on the training ground and away matches - stories about the European aways were the most interesting for me. He isn't afraid to drift a little further off-topic either. There's a few stories about incidents in earlier seasons and his times with other clubs. While he'll occasionally be happy enough to have a laugh at his own expense (the pie jokes and so forth), it's a little more common for him to take the mickey out of his team-mates. 1996/97 was also Choccy's testimonial year, so he takes us on a slight guided tour of the events surrounding that. Also a few family stories are included - his kids' reactions to the crowds at his testimonial match are pretty amusing for example. No doubt they'll thank him heartily during their teenage years when some of the stories are used to tease them in the schoolyard.
This is one of my favourite sports-related books, and one I have no qualms about recommending - though, as a lifelong United fan, I may be a little biased. Then again, as the majority of people who'd be interested in this book would also presumably be United supporters, that mightn't matter too much. Unlike some of the books written more recently by ex-United players, there's no criticisms of the manager, nor any scandalous stories and no dressing room confidences betrayed. While fans of rival clubs looking for ammunition might be disappointed about that, people who are actually looking for an insight into life at a club like United will enjoy it immensely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good insight to the pro's pro, 28 Aug. 2006
Mr. Terence Jones "terencej72" (Glasgow, Scotland, U.K.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Odd Man Out: A Player's Diary (Manchester United official book) (Hardcover)
This has been a very entertaining read. There are a plethora of football autobiographies and biographies out there. In the former it depends on the intelligence of the player or manager, in the latter usually how good they are at keeping their own notes or recollecting events to the writer.

As this book falls into the former category it is very much up to the player to prove that he can not only tell a good story but construct decent paragraphs.

As most of you reading this will be aware there are very few footballers (Ian Downie the Charlton manager being the exception)

as intelligent as Brian McClair, having more or less completed a degree in Maths and Statistics.

That he is a good storyteller as well adds to this. This charts the account of McClair's testimonial year (96-97) at Man Utd and his memories of his early carear (at Motherwell and Celtic) and also his recollections of playing for Scotland.

When this was written McClair was not a first team regular having slipped onto the subs bench for this and the next season making about a dozen first team appearances in 96-97. He tells of the pressure of coming off the bench to turn the games that were in danger of slipping beyond the grasp of Man Utd with mixed success. He also it seems is required as the "Senior Pro" by his mentor Sir Alex to tutor the young players

in the reserves on the correct behaviour, eating and training habits required at the club. He also acts as a pseudo agent for some of them (Scholes and Butt)in their negotiations with the chairman. He is also much in demand by everyone at Man Utd and other clubs to sort out problems with tickets and so on for wives and families.

You get the impression he is among the most respected pros in the game at this time.

McClair's gift is in the way he tells this story which is very rarely taxing.

I have read a great many Autobiographies of sports stars and i would rank this up there as no2 in my list behind the superb "Have A Nice Day" written by legendary WWE Wrestler Mick Foley (Mankind).

Still for a football fan of any team Choccy's makes a worthwhile read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now just who is Brian McClair?, 19 July 2003
I used to be a huge United fan and Brian McClair always stood out to me as a player that gave his all, with a methodical, calm and professional approach to the game. Yet here we can see just how it is to be a player at one of the world's largest clubs, just how normal the big-name players can be, and what it is like to turn out for the reserve team rather than the first team. 'Choccy' provides an insight into Manchester United's day-to-day routine during the '96-'97, the superstitions of the players, the practical jokes, and the joy and agony that football creates for the fans and for the players. It is sad to think that Brian was released at the end of the season, and although the spotlight was on the retirement of one Eric Cantona, many United fans were sad to see the well-spoken Scot leave the theatre of dreams. Yet the book is a testimony to the end of an era, not just for Brian, but also for the team itself - the rise of United's young talent is evident throughout, ans is the tutoring that they were provided by the elder statesmen such as Pallister and Cantona. Finally, it should be noted that Choccy even manages to bring out the human side of Ales Ferguson, a tremendous achievement in its own right.
Choccy, if you read this, we miss you terribly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great bit of nostalgia, 14 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: Odd Man Out: A Player's Diary (Manchester United official book) (Hardcover)
A great take of when football was about 22 men and a ball and less about who's been sleeping with who.

Choccy McClair recounts the season in his dry witty style and is a good read for any Utd fan who wants a walk down memory lane.
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Odd Man Out: A Player's Diary (Manchester United official book)
Odd Man Out: A Player's Diary (Manchester United official book) by Joyce Woolridge (Hardcover - 2 Sept. 1997)
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