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Intriguing but ultimately disappointing.
on 28 July 1999
Shindler writes with a passion for his subject and a long, painful knowledge of Man City but this is spoilt by a clumsy and leaden style. This is surprising for someone who repeatedly reminds us that he is a Cambridge history graduate who has spent his whole working life in TV and the arts. His most irritating trait in this book is to tantalise us with hints of interesting tales but without delivering the goods. Thus we learn that in the late 1960s, the sublime Colin Bell had all the ingredients of a happy life - E-type Jag, great talent, successful career, big house - but was miserable. Why ? Colin Shindler is so astonished he forgets to ask. Twenty years later he catches up with Bell again - and still we learn nothing about the great man ! Similarly, we never learn why the great rapport that Shindler shared with his sports-mad uncle turned to disaffection. What went wrong ? This book has some funny anecdotes (though the Bobby Kennedy story on page one is the best) and some moving passages such as the loss of his mother when still a young boy, but ultimately it fails to deliver on its early promise. A lot like Man City really... Not a bad book but not even nearly in the same division as Nick Hornby's 'Fever Pitch' and as a fellow Blues supporter who really wanted to like this book, it is hard to have to say that.