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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 22 September 2012
James Leighton's wonderful Book on Duncan Edwards is a must-read for any Manchester United fan.
"Without any past we have no present, without any present we have no future" - and so it is that any Football Club's History & Tradition in these days of Footballing multi-millionaires, WAGS, ostentatious Mansions/Cars and egomaniacal parasitic Owners now more than ever we need to be remember, seek out and remind ourselves what Football is really about. Where it all started. How it got here.
My deep love for Manchester United and the Sport of Football itself has been sorely tested by my own Club and many other Clubs in the last decade or so, and this is why reaching back into Manchester United - Football's - history is now more than ever so important if that Love for the Beautiful Game is to remain unsullied or diluted.
This fine Book maintains superbly well the tradition of Writer-Historians reaching back into what seems like another world to remind us how The Beautiful Game came to have such a moniker attached to it in the first place.
Life for people like Duncan Edwards and their class was tough back in the mid-1900's - we rarely think how good we have it by comparison - but James' book transports the reader back utterly convincingly to the period into which Duncan Edwards was born, grew up and played his way to becoming a Manchester United Player & Legend as well as an England International.
In the same way that I didn't have to be a Horse Racing fan to be captivated by Laura Hillenbrand's "Seabiscuit" so it is that you don't have to be a Manchester United Fan - or even a fan of Football (though it might help!) - to enjoy James Leighton's excellent Book.
I knew much about Duncan Edwards as I had sought out information on the almost mythological status of this particular Player who died along with many other talented Team-mates and Journalists that fateful, terrible snowy night in Munich - but even so James' book enlightened & informed me hugely - partly thru his obviously diligent & exhaustive research, but also through his very apparent talents as a Writer.
EVERY Manchester United Fan - from Manchester to Mandalay - should see it as their duty as well as a labour of love to read this Book and acquaint themselves with a Man and a truly gifted Football Player with the World quite literally at his feet and by global common consent at the time was destined to become one of the Greatest Football Players OF all-time.
Manchester United Football Club transcends Football - such is it's status inside & outside the game around the World. This is in no small part due to it's History, it's Achievements, the calibre and class of it's Players & Managers, the Munich Air Disaster, it's Footballing prowess ethos & values, it's innately Dramatic modus operandi almost - and Duncan Edwards is a key key figure in all these regards.

James Leighton's book captures & shares all of this brilliantly.

Duncan Edwards - The Greatest was recently shortlisted for 2012 William Hill Sports Book Of The Year.
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on 15 June 2012
Author James Leighton has written an in depth biography of,possibly,the finest footballer of all-time.Although much of the book consists of the things i already knew about Edwards this book links it all together and gives the reader an indepth look at what the player was all about.Giving accounts of his early life,schoolboy football through united's youth teams and his senior football.All told in well in a flowing manner.There are stories from those who knew him and details from many of the games Edwards played in.His death is told of in a sensitive and touching way.A great book and an excellent read for any football fan or Biography reader.
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Just how good was Duncan Edwards? Because of the extensive TV coverage that football receives nowadays most of us will have seen the modern day superstars in action many times. This means that in future years people will have enough evidence on film to be able to decide whether Messi and the like warrant a place in footballs "all time great" list. Unfortunately we don't have that luxury with Duncan Edwards, who tragically lost his life after sustaining massive injuries in the Munich air disaster of 1958. In those days TV cameras didn't cover football matches as a matter of course, and very little footage survives of those games that were captured on film. Instead we have to mainly rely on the testimony of those that saw him play but, as this book so ably illustrates, everybody that saw Edwards in action agree that he was not just an extraordinary player, but could perhaps have become the greatest footballer of all time.

I, for one, have only seen Duncan Edwards's play in a few minutes of grainy black & white news footage and whilst that allowed me a glimpse of his playing ability what it didn't allow me to witness were Duncan's other qualities and, as this book so tells us, it is these other qualities that sets him apart from any other player, before or after. He may have only been a boy of 16 when he made his Manchester United debut but even then he displayed the maturity of a man many years his senior. He was built like a brick wall too; as his career progressed some claimed that he was overweight but they were wrong, Edwards was solid muscle and he certainly knew how to use it although some of his challenges could be a little too robust and would earn him many a red card these days. Author James Leighton argues though that the quality that could possibly earn him the title "the greatest" was his ability to not just be able to play in defence, midfield or attack but to be outstanding in every one of them, something that could be said about no other player.

James Leighton paints a vivid portrait of a player who is still greatly mourned, even by those who weren't born when he passed away. They mourn a fine young man that Leighton tells us was completed unaffected by fame, happier playing football with the neighbourhood kids than boozing in night clubs and was completely devoted to his family and his sweetheart, Molly. They also mourn the things that we were denied when Edwards was taken away from us at such an early age. Would have become even better with age and experience? With Edwards in the England team could we have been celebrating a hat-trick of World Cup wins in 1966, with Duncan lifting the trophy as captain at Wembley?

These are questions that we will never know the answers to, but after reading this fine book you will surely believe that answers would almost certainly be yes.
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on 8 July 2012
This book is well researched, well written and interesting. I was a youngster during that period and I found it fascinating as it gave a more indepth picture of what was happening then. Would recommend it to all true football fans.
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on 24 May 2014
A good read I learnt a good bit about his childhood/schooldays. If like me you are not old enough to have seen him play. There is plenty of insights from people who knew him well. A great tradgedy any died at munich would uniteds history been even greater.
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on 14 June 2012
Couldn't wait for this book to arrive and what a fantastic read! I thought I had read all there was about Duncan, but I learned even more about this amazing footballer. The author has done justice to the memory of the greatest footballer of all. Couldn't put the book down and digested all there was to read slowly because it captured your interest from beginning to end. It has become my prized possession now that it has been signed by Duncan's cousins.
This is one book that I will never tire of reading over and over again. Well done James.
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on 11 May 2013
James Leighton's wonderful Book on Duncan Edwards is a must-read for any Manchester United fan.
"Without any past we have no present, without any present we have no future" - and so it is that any Football Club's History & Tradition in these days of Footballing multi-millionaires, WAGS, ostentatious Mansions/Cars and egomaniacal parasitic Owners now more than ever we need to be remember, seek out and remind ourselves what Football is really about. Where it all started. How it got here.
My deep love for Manchester United and the Sport of Football itself has been sorely tested by my own Club and many other Clubs in the last decade or so, and this is why reaching back into Manchester United - Football's - history is now more than ever so important if that Love for the Beautiful Game is to remain unsullied or diluted.
This fine Book maintains superbly well the tradition of Writer-Historians reaching back into what seems like another world to remind us how The Beautiful Game came to have such a moniker attached to it in the first place.
Life for people like Duncan Edwards and their class was tough back in the mid-1900's - we rarely think how good we have it by comparison - but James' book transports the reader back utterly convincingly to the period into which Duncan Edwards was born, grew up and played his way to becoming a Manchester United Player & Legend as well as an England International.
In the same way that I didn't have to be a Horse Racing fan to be captivated by Laura Hillenbrand's "Seabiscuit" so it is that you don't have to be a Manchester United Fan - or even a fan of Football (though it might help!) - to enjoy James Leighton's excellent Book.
I knew much about Duncan Edwards as I had sought out information on the almost mythological status of this particular Player who died along with many other talented Team-mates and Journalists that fateful, terrible snowy night in Munich - but even so James' book enlightened & informed me hugely - partly thru his obviously diligent & exhaustive research, but also through his very apparent talents as a Writer.
EVERY Manchester United Fan - from Manchester to Mandalay - should see it as their duty as well as a labour of love to read this Book and acquaint themselves with a Man and a truly gifted Football Player with the World quite literally at his feet and by global common consent at the time was destined to become one of the Greatest Football Players OF all-time.
Manchester United Football Club transcends Football - such is it's status inside & outside the game around the World. This is in no small part due to it's History, it's Achievements, the calibre and class of it's Players & Managers, the Munich Air Disaster, it's Footballing prowess ethos & values, it's innately Dramatic modus operandi almost - and Duncan Edwards is a key key figure in all these regards.

James Leighton's book captures & shares all of this brilliantly.

Duncan Edwards - The Greatest was shortlisted for 2012 William Hill Sports Book Of The Year.
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on 6 March 2013
As a person who can remember seeing Duncan Edwards play when I was very young I was interested to see how the subject was treated. I found the book an excellent read and felt I knew a lot more about the player and his times at the end. He was indeed a wonderful player and could genuinely claim to be one of the greatest players ever. I recommend this book to anybody who is interested in football across the spectrum and not just the money soaked players of today!
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on 10 December 2013
Like a lot of MUFC fans I really did not know a lot about Duncan Edwards.
The author has certainly researched the facts and has written a really good book on this iconic figure.
A quiet Man off the pitch but a determined player on it,
I am sure that he would have been a top top player in today's game, unfortunately we will never know!
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on 4 May 2013
It's such a difficult argument to justify. The greatest player or the greatest player you have ever seen live or on tv.

Having read this book and perhaps I'm tinged with a little bit of Black Country bias I believe "our Dunc" is probably the greatest player ever. Why?

1. Read the book!

2. Having read the book and digested the conclusions, could any other player past or present achieved what Edwards did in so many different positions, with such quality and with the praise that he did in such a short career. It's obvious he was a freak. That's a compliment.

3. Who could come close? In the modern game, for me it would be Gullit. Similar in stature, pace and if asked, could play anywhere. Rooney - if bigger would try and play any position. You have to admire him. Gullit for me is the closest.

Many clubs and countries have great players, Steve Bull, Jeff Astle, Nat Lofthouse, Stan Mathews, Pele, Eusabio, Beckenbauer, Colin Bell etc etc so many. For me having read the book, the newspaper articles, and watched the film available Duncan Edwards is the Greatest footballer ever
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