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3.9 out of 5 stars15
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 14 June 2006
As a Liverpool fan ive always wondered what goes on behind the scenes at Anfield and this book takes you through the whole of Rafa's first season at Anfield with great detail and also has the added bonus of telling you the truth behind the two big stories of his first season:

1. The Gerrard saga(s)

2. What did he do at half time

And on top of those theres a great insight into the semi-final between Lfc and Chelsea with a very interesting bit about Mourinhos preditction. The only reason ive given this 4 stars and not 5 is because Guillem has a blatent dislike for Houllier and a love for Rafa as he blames all of Liverpools problems on the French man but that shouldnt stop you buying this fantastic story. YNWA
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on 4 February 2006
A superb insight into an incredible season. Takes you behind the scenes and shows what Benitez and his team were doing/thinking/saying at each step along the way. There's some particularly good info on Gerrards two aborted departures to Chavski. This book, along with Fowlers autobiography (welcome back God!), also put Houlliers time in charge in a new light.
In short, for any Liverpool fan, this is a must read. For anyone else, I would say that this is not only the best book about football I have ever read, but the best book about sport I have ever read.
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on 18 November 2005
I awaited with baited breath for this book's publication. However, I was shocked and pleasantly surprised about its breadth of coverage and input from those closest to the action in Istanbul. It also includes input from Liverpool's players, management and fans, and interestingly comments from a couple of the AC Milan players and even the referee too! It covers more than Istanbul, and in Balague's own inimitable style, makes for a great read overall. Balague does not try to bias the book, but rather, provides an insight into the thoughts, emotions and aspirations surrounding Benitez's arrival at LFC and what was achieved, and not acheived, in his first season. A must read!
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on 15 September 2005
Guillem Balague is one of Spains top football pundits with unique knoledge of both the clubs and players. He also works with sky sports as there spanish pundit and is always ready with the low down on a player when a transfer coup is pulled off. The book promises to be an intresting insite into the club from an unusual perspective. Here are his comments on the up and coming book:
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I must admit to having a vested interest in the fortunes of Liverpool. For the past twelve months I have followed them closely for a book I have been writing.

It's called 'A Season On The Brink' and it's about Rafael Benitez's first year at Anfield - what he's changed at the club, his relationship with the players and how they accepted him, how he managed to reach the Champions League Final in Istanbul and what happened along the way.

Basically, it's the inside story of what was the most exciting club of last season.
I'm a big admirer of Rafa. I've known him for a number of years now and the relationship I have with him works well. It's very professional and full of respect.

When I reflect on the amazing success he has achieved I must say I am not surprised. I said as soon as he arrived that he was going to be very special, that he had the ambition, knowledge and confidence to take this club forward.

I also felt, and it's actually in print, that initially it would be easier for him to make an impact on the Champions League rather than the Premiership because he knows the European game very well and had already won the UEFA Cup with Valencia.

At the same time he's got the football intelligence to realise what is still missing at Liverpool and he's applied this in the signings he has made during the summer. I feel they are stronger now and I don't think we will see them losing as many matches away from home this season.

Whether they can win the Champions League I do not know. That is going to be a tall order. Not many teams in recent history have achieved this - AC Milan being the last to do so in 1990 - and I don't think many people are expecting this.

Saying that there weren't many people who expected Liverpool to go so far in the competition last season. Even less thought they could come back from three goals down against AC Milan in the final, so with Liverpool you can never say never and only a fool would write them off.
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on 1 January 2006
I read what the Echo wrote about this book ("one of the most insightful, accurate and entertaining Liverpool publications in living memory") and decided to buy it. Lots of my mates had it for christmas too and they were very happy about it. I cant praised it highly enough. I read it in a couple of days and it feels lots of work has gone into it, but its written in a way that forces you to read it in one go. Fascinating stuff about half time, about Benitez methods and his way of thinking, great quotes from so many guys who were part of the Istanbul night. I will recommend it to everybody, its one of the great sports books of the last few years. I wonder if some of the reviewers here are other upset authors who could not get to the same heights...
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on 6 January 2006
This must be the most interesting book i have ever read, it comes with a completley different point of veiw , its not about anything but the truth, how it obviously happened and how it must have felt, wish i had been there, although now ive read the book, i believe i have!
Well done senor balague, its a must for anyone, not just a football fan.
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on 1 April 2013
As a Liverpool fan reading this book in 2013 is both pleasurable and painful. Pleasurable because it recalls that remarkable Champions League Final of 2005 (the morning after the night before my boss told me I should stop supporting Liverpool because it could never get that good again - so far, it hasn't), painful to think of what has happened since.
The book is written by Guillem Balague, a Spanish journalist who is a Liverpool fan and an admirer of Rafa Benitez. His subject is 2004/05, Rafa's first season in charge culminating in a highly improbable victory. His style is to alternate chapters covering the final in detail with "flashback" chapters covering the highs and lows of the season from Rafa's appointment onward.
It will not be controversial to say that Ballague is pro-Benitez and highly critical of his predecessor, Gerard Houlier. His style is easy to read and liberally supplemented with numerous quotes from insiders.
The revised version contains two supplementary chapters covering the 05/06 season culminating in the "Gerrard Final" in the FA cup.
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VINE VOICEon 14 November 2007
In 2004 rafa benitez took over the reigns of the greatest club of all time,he was expected to stabilise a team filled with inner doubt and move the unit forward,what he did was win us the biggest prize in club football that season,the champions league,our fifth time and first in 21 years,heads turned,we were all shocked,what a season,our dream had come true.
This book written by Guillem Balague,a spanish pundit who also works for revista la liga on sky sports.follows that season with interviews from the men involved and other people who followed what would be a season none of us could forget.
the author gets good insight,is clearly a liverpool fan and certainly a rafa fan as well,it may make for biased reading but this is the greatest club of all time,we make no excuses for our love of the pinnacle of perfection,this is a magic book from a magic time in my life,glorious.
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on 28 April 2012
This is a great read for any lovers of team sports, particularly Liverpool Football Club. It gives an interesting account of Benitez's time in charge at the club and peoples perception of him. I strongly recommend this book.
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on 15 November 2005
Having previously read the far superior Golden Past, Red Future by Paul Tomkins I was looking forward to reading this offering from the respected Spanish Journalist.
However, I was left a little disappointed. This book lacks the "can't put it down" quality of Tomkins book and is really just an overview of the European journey 2004/2005.
Sure, it offers a few insights, such as what happended in the dressing room after the game and a information on the psychology of Benetiz.
However, you might as well just watch the DVD of the final, because ultimately this is wht is this book is.
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