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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning view of the game when it was still beautiful,
I am in my mid forties and I have read a lot of football biographies, and this is without a doubt the best I have read. I mention my age because I missed the golden age of football and I never saw any of the great players mentioned in this book, but what the book does do is bring to life some of the names and times that I missed, a great glimpse of football as it was.
Stan himself comes over as a humble football visionary, taking diet and fitness seriously about 40 years before anyone else and a true talent. There are some episodes of his personal life he skips over like his divorce and re-marriage but this is a real insight to the golden age of football and a true footballing great.
I was at Wembley watching an International (England/Brazil?) when they announced Sir Stan had died, a poignant place to be but it did feel the right place to mourn the passing of one of our greatest footballers.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FITTING RECORD OF A TRUE GREAT,
By A Customer
This is the story of one of the greatest footballers the world has ever seen. Everybody has heard of Sir Stanley Matthews but relatively few can remember seeing him play. Here's the chance to experience his life and career through his own eyes, and turns out to be one of the best sporting tales ever told. Despite his brilliance and fame, Sir Stanley won relatively few honours during his career...thesedays he'd be a fifteen million pound player holding down a first team spot at Arsenal or Manchester United with a houseful of medals and trophies. There's no sense of bitterness here though...You get the impression that he cherished virtually every minute of his long career. His story is fascinating enough in itself but what shines through is the honesty and humility of this man whose talent was so great but whose feet stayed firmly on the ground. His memory is rightly revered in his home city and indeed throughout the footballing world and reading this book will allow you to understand just why. There's no prima donna behaviour, no arrogance and no airs and graces. Just a normal guy who just happened to be a genius. Highly recommended....an instruction in how football became the peoples game and a reflection on why it has lost that title in a wash of greed.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating account of football in its golden age,
This review is from: The Way It Was - My Autobiography (Hardcover)
These days it`s hard to believe that football was once played by people with an absolute love of the game at heart.In an era when the maximum wage was in force players were often one or two club servants throughout their careers`.That was exactly the case with Stanley Matthews ,who unbelievebly played on until his fiftieth year.This book is a portrait of those more innocent times,a time when England was a major force in world football (younger readers may find this hard to envisage!). Matthews offers many insights into his long career and takes the reader on a journey through footballs` heady and exciting days.This book is a must for anyone with an interest in the beautifull game and how it was played before the money men got their greedy hands on it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine detailed account of yesteryear by a major sports figure,
This review is from: The Way it Was - The Autobiography: My Autobiography (Audio Cassette)
Stanley Matthews memoir is filled with meticulous details of a bygone era. I'm under the impression that Matthews in British sport must hold a place similar to the way we see such figures as Lou Gehrig or Stan Musial and the like. The breadth of detail is in fact a bit cumbersome, I really think the book should be read alongside Matthews' contemporary Tom Finney's My Autobiography which has a nice easygoing flow to it and is highly readable compared to this one. Still, it easily merits a top rating. The print in this book seems to even be smaller but historically it is an excellent account.
Matthews accounts are of the utmost intimate matters, as an example: playing a friendly against Nazi Germany in May, 1938 before a crowd of over 100,000 people in Berlin. The English players actually gave a Nazi salute before the game and there is a famous photograph of this. In this book, you will find out what was going on behind the scenes.
You will find out in those early days of International soccer fixtures, friendlies were regarded as just as important as the World Cup or Olympic games, whereas some tournaments were boycotted back then or not even attended at all with the ominous signs of war growing in Europe and around the world.
The summer of 1939 saw a similar incident, as the English team went into Milan to play the Italian team, the streets were filled with thousands of well-wishers. In the hotel lobby was a Maltese fans expressing their support for the 3 Lions buoyed it seems by a feeling of vulnerability to the Axis powers, Germany and Italy. In this famous game at the San Siro stadium, just like in the 1934 World Cup where referees were suspended for aiding Italy in its wins, this game again, saw farcical refereeing by a German to aid the host team. In reference, the movie Victory with Pele, Caine and Stallone is not really far from the truth in the manner it was directed. The game ended 2-2. 1948 and 1949 again, reflected the true matters at hand, with England winning at home over Italy 2-0 and then in Italy 4-0. Of course, don't tell anyone, Ireland won over England in England 2-0 less than a year before the USA's momentous victory at Belo Horizonte.
Matthews playing in the service during World War II, Matthews receiving a bit more than a pick me up from a doctor during his career and in fact, even Matthews playing until he was seventy years old and yes, retiring due to injury are all covered in this book along with apparently Matthews being a bit of a health nut way back in the day, maintaining a healthy diet and not drinking. One will also read of other major sports figures of the day and of course, of Matthews professional career mainly with Stoke City and Blackpool
The editorial reviews above reads: "'A gracefully crafted autobiography filled with entertaining anecdotes reflecting an age when the game was uncorrupted by greed and hooliganism' -- Birmingham Post
Okay, basically right but it was not uncorrupted as before a players' union was set up in England, the owners were the benefactors of much of the revenue. Likewise, I don't know about hooliganism, but this book does contain an extraordinary memoir of the Burnden (fire) stadium tragedy which demonstrates that events like Hillborough was not the first time events like this had marred the sports scene though it seems to largely be the last time an event of that magnitude happened.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Football magician with so much modesty.,
What a story and put in such a humble way, what a character! Now I know how he managed to play first class football for so long, fitness, well he would blow all of today's footballers off the pitch with his unbelievable stamina and football skills. They do not make the like of him anymore unfortunately, a true British gent and a credit to his trade and country.
If we still practised the skills of dribbling the ball that he had in abundance we would be a more effective and feared world football power still.
I liked the bit about him being completely outplayed by the German leftback in his first game against them and then his working out how to better himself next time, for which he did in some style, England winning in Nazi Germany 6-3! His father was the driving force behind him.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, not only for footbal fans,
I have read quite a lot during the years, and this book attracted me in an Icelandic bookshop in 2001, because of the photo. I didn't know the player then, being Dutch and 40, but after reading I know now not only the name Stanley Matthews, but also the man behind the book-cover, who, as the introduction put it somewhat, had sprinkled so much of that gold-dust on the harsh working day lives of the English people, as Johan Cruiff did for my country.
I have read books from Plato to Nobel Laureates to biographies of Einstein or Rockefeller, and I am, apart from the World Cup, no fan at all of football. What a luck I picked this up, since according to other reviews it happened to be the best there is. Straight away one of the best books I have read so far, since, being moved as I was by his story, I can still recall so much of it. What comes to mind is the same as Ernest Hemingway wrote in the introduction to West With The Night of amateur author Beryl Markham (also recommended by the way):
"But [she] can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves writers. I wish you would get it and read it because it is really a bloody wonderful book."
I feel the same way about this one. This book is on a par with just about any classic you will ever read. It is very well crafted, full of humor, and so convincing because you will certainly like the hero of the story himself as I, and his fans in the old days did. Stanley was, like 'our' Johan Cruiff, a real working class hero, and gentleman on the field. He has never been booked in his very long career!
For football fans there is a lot to learn by reading this. These days players can claim greatness merely by scoring a few good goals, and getting famous overnight on TV. In the golden era it took a lifetime dedication to build up a name. What a contrast with the football as it is now: big transfers, a faster but dirtier game.
It was humbling to learn his own views on these matters, as well as his own secret of his success: practice, practice, practice. Apart from the football, the book is full of details about daily live, as it was then. But even as a non football aficionado, it was magic to read about his experience with a little haven of English fans in the enormous German crowd during an international game in the upcoming Nazi-era, the fairy tale of the win in Wembley, etc. All those stories really make it no longer history, but something alive, that transcends football or just a life of a player. It really lives up to its title 'The Way It Was', and my wish is that any person, football fan or not, would one day pick it up.
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding,
Not only is it the best football book ever written, it is one of the best books ever written. Should be required reading for today's Premiership footballers. Should also be required reading in schools. Learn from the sage's humility, grace, work ethic, and passion.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Football Autobiography ever,
An absolute pleasure to read. Very well written and in an articulate style.
This book really makes you feel you are inside the mind of Stanley Matthews.
The best football autobiography I've ever read
5.0 out of 5 stars Stanley matthews,
Bought this for my grandad for christmas he thought i was very interesting very excellent delivery and he loved the book
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The Way It Was - My Autobiography by Stanley Matthews (Hardcover - 4 Mar. 2000)
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