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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If Liam Gallagher were a footballer
Co-written by ex-Oasis gutarist Paul McGuigan, a couple of chapters into the book you can see the why writing a book on an obscure 4th division footballer of the 1970's had an direct appeal to a man who had spent five years on the road with the Gallagher brothers.
Robin Friday played less than three seasons for the (old) 4th divison Reading RC and then...
Published on 7 Jan 2002

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading
An interesting story of an enigmatic player - easy to read, well researced and most importantly captures the essence of the man.
Published on 16 Jun 2010 by Michael Bromfield


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If Liam Gallagher were a footballer, 7 Jan 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw: The Robin Friday Story (Mainstream Sport) (Paperback)
Co-written by ex-Oasis gutarist Paul McGuigan, a couple of chapters into the book you can see the why writing a book on an obscure 4th division footballer of the 1970's had an direct appeal to a man who had spent five years on the road with the Gallagher brothers.
Robin Friday played less than three seasons for the (old) 4th divison Reading RC and then "retired" after a short spell at Cardiff City at the ripe old age of 24. Undoubtedly of remarkable natural ability ( he could have played for England we are repeatedly told by a string of credible witnesses), it is however Friday's off field antics which hold your interest and largely explain why two decades on McGuigan chose to write a book about him.
In terms of style this is not a classic biography, relying almost exclusively on a series of interviews with family and friends and contemporary newspaper reports. But all this is put together very well by McGuigan and co-author Paulo Hewitt making the book very readable. Indeed, this somewhat hotch potch approach almost perfectly reflects the life of Robin, a man who even at the peak of his career seemed to live out of carrier bags and cheap digs with a variety of wives,women, boozers and drug dealers never far behind him.
The book is funny, intriguing and tragic - Friday died in poverty aged only 38 in 1990. But the authors succeeed in presenting Robin Friday as a genuine talent and lovable rogue that for all his obvious faults you can't help liking. A good read. You wouldn't need to be a football fan to enjoy it, and in the absence of evidence from an era when TV coverage was limited to the big clubs a fitting tribute to a player I had never heard of but wish I had.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking good read, 12 Dec 2002
By 
Mr. David Warner "TommyKitKat" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw: The Robin Friday Story (Mainstream Sport) (Paperback)
As a football fan (well, barely at the moment - West Ham), and as a lover of sporting biographies, I found this book to be a cracking good read. - I was a teenage football nut in the seventies and from what it says in the book about how good Robin Friday was, it's hard to believe that I've never heard of this player. He must have occasionally featured on Big Match highlights on Sunday afternoons. I'd love to see some footage of him. Anyway, the book takes you on a journey of ambition, success, self-destruction and ultimately sadness. It's a bit slow starting and the diary format takes a few pages to get used to, but once you're into it, it's difficult to put down. At the end you're left with a feeling that maybe he truly was the greatest footballer you never saw.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You need this book!, 12 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw: The Robin Friday Story (Mainstream Sport) (Paperback)
This book takes you back to when football was a game you loved and would of played for nowt every week, just for the privelage of playing in the league.Robin Friday was a talent bar non.Better than bestie? If he gave a shite, then maybe.The book reveals a real character, a man who loved his football, loved all the things about football that thrill you as a kid, taking people on, scoring real scorchers, it was fun for him whenever and who ever he played against, he loved it! All the good things in life, things that made him happy, and that was all that counted.A short but very compact innings,with which any true 'lad' will surely relate to, a quality read about a quality bloke.(All premiership footballers should all read this and weep)
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There was and is only one Robin Friday, 20 Jan 2005
This review is from: The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw: The Robin Friday Story (Mainstream Sport) (Paperback)
First a confession. I'm an exiled Reading fan and as a 15 year old Robin Friday was my hero. I well remember standing in the South Bank at Elm Park and watching this magician beat defenders and then seemingly wait for them to catch up so he could beat them again! To me he was as good as George Best and should have been as famous. I was there against Tranmere in what was a vital promotion battle when we won 5-0 and he scored THAT goal.
This book is excellent and my only regret is that it has taken me this long to find it. For a Reading fan from the 70's it is so evocative but for any football supporter or anyone with an interest in the human condition it is a great read.
If Robin Friday was twenty five years old today he would be earning millions and would hopefully be receiving wise counsel from whichever club was lucky enough to have his services. Instead he played in an era when lower division footballers earned half the wages of scaffolders and plasterers and were largely left to their own devices off the field. With a little bit of the pastoral help that today's players get from the bigger clubs who knows....
The diary style and first hand nature of a lot of the comments in this book help to put everything in perspective and in it's own historical context. I finished the book in one gulp and put it aside with nostalgia and emotion flowing over me and an over powering sadness at the thought of what might have been.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life on the footballing edge, 9 Aug 2007
By 
Mr. A. J. Barrington "bazza28" (Northampton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw: The Robin Friday Story (Mainstream Sport) (Paperback)
This book is written in a quite unique style which takes a little getting used to but is worth pursuing. The 'rough and tumble' of footy both on and off the pitch in this period is perfectly captured and makes us wonder just how characters such as Robin actually got away with such antics. The fact that he took unmerciful treatment from thuggish defenders with a (relatively) small amount of retaliation is very well described, but as always, the referees do not come out in a very good light, preferring as ever to either conveniently ignore the legitimate claims of the erred football genius or even make sure he is clouded as the guilty party on many occasions.
I have no connection with the clubs he played for, but as a football fan I thoroughly enjoyed the read and would recommend it to all like minded people - the more we can all learn about the game's characters the better.
A couple of minor criticisms - (1) there may be good reasons for this but the only photograph is that on the front cover. Given the huge amount of local press coverage (and library research to compile the book) surely there should be more visuals to help bring Robin Friday to life? (2) Robin had trouble from the National Front for his relationship with his first wife Maxine - this whole episode (including the birth of his daughter Nicola) is glossed over almost completely. Given this racist element of society infiltrated football at that time, it is a shame we did not learn how he coped with this both on and off the pitch - 'he was always nice to coloureds' would have certainly got him in trouble in the area of London in which he lived and from certain fans.
All in all though, a thoroughly recommended read which leaves you not wanting to put the book down because something more outrageous is likely to happen on the next page.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting tribute..., 12 Jan 2006
By 
J. Marshall (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw: The Robin Friday Story (Mainstream Sport) (Paperback)
...to my boyhood hero. It's surprising just how many people claim to have seen THAT goal against Tranmere (I'm sure the score was 5-2 or 5-3, but not 5-0 as so many people - like one of the reviewers below - claim). Anyway, I was lucky enough to see him score that goal and I still remember the ref's (Clive Thomas) reaction to it, which was almost as amazing as the goal itself. It was perhaps the zenith of Friday's antics on and off the pitch, and said just about everything about the man: skillful, cheeky, unorthodox and creative. He was the poor man's George Best, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. No doubt they're both having a drink, a chat and a good giggle in football heaven as I write.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When Saturday comes - thank God it's Friday., 5 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw: The Robin Friday Story (Mainstream Sport) (Paperback)
This book is essential reading for Reading (and Cardiff) fans who were there and saw this flawed genius. It's also a great insight in to the hedonistic lifestyle of 70s' footballers, when it seemed possible to go out, have a skinful and still perform like a god on a Saturday. The recollections seem more cogent and relevant because "I was there" at the time to see this guy play. Don't be put off by the involvement of Guigsy although it's enough of an incentive to pick up the book in the first place. It bought back a lot of memories of the finest player ever to wear the blue & white hoops.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars forget other fooball Bios..., 3 Mar 2007
By 
Mr. Rj Starkey (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw: The Robin Friday Story (Mainstream Sport) (Paperback)
Forget the boring Frank Lampard and Michael Owen books and buy this. It is a unique record of an extraordinary footballer, whom you quite literally, would never have heard of. Reading this book brings Robin Friday to life and the story is fascinating. Today Friday would be feted by millions and worth just as much, and given Sky Tv exposure would be regularly watched as he never was in the 1970's. Brilliant.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, 18 Oct 2007
By 
Mr. A. Pickering (Nisantasi, Istanbul Turkey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw: The Robin Friday Story (Mainstream Sport) (Paperback)
I have been a Reading supporter since the age of 4, when my Dad used to take me to see every home game from around 1970 through to the day Neil Webb left the club to join Portsmouth for 88,000 pounds. Often I used to think it was punishment for not doing my homework, so low was the standard of many of the games, players and (especially) referees.

The likes of the Wagstaff Brothers, Bobby Hunt, Wayne Wanklyn, Roger Joslyn hardly made it worthwhile getting out of bed for. However Robin Friday was. Signed from (if I remember correctly) non-league Hayes for about 5 grand, he was so far ahead of the rest of the players in the division it wasn't funny. Tall, gangly, no shin-pads, bow legs he didn't look like a footballer but the skill he had would have taken anyone's breath away.

I was hoping someone would have some footage of the goal he got against Tranmere. It was 5-0 (to put the record straight) - I think John Murray got a hat-trick and Friday got 2 in the top of the table clash (we were third and they were fourth); I remember before the game (I was only 10 at the time), talking with my Dad and Uncle about what the score might be ("2-1, 1-0, 3-1") but nothing could prepare us for the game we were about to see.

Reading were awesome. What I remember most about the game (it was an evening match) was the way the people (us included) in the stands got behind the team. The roar of "READING, READING, READING" from EVERYONE in the ground was amazing, especially when we had got used to 4 thousand a game crowds with only the South Bank crew making any organised noise at all.

Now the goal. I remember Friday a long way out getting the ball - I remember him connecting almost with his back to goal, and I remember the ball hitting the back of the net with the goalkeeper nowhere. There was a picture in the Reading Evening Post the following day of Clive Thomas who was reffing the game, his head in his hands, not able to believe what he had just witnessed. I am sure you can still probably find a copy of the picture somewhere in the archives. Thomas said it was the best goal he had ever seen.

I went to see Friday's last game for Reading, away to Oxford. By that time he had agreed terms with Cardiff for something like 33 grand. He was rubbish in that game. I never saw him play for Cardiff so the book helps enormously in this sense as it describes the brilliance he still used to show every week.

Years later after his death I was talking to a guy that used to be in the Drugs Squad. He said he was chasing after some druggie in the Central London one day, finally managing to catch up with him in Trafalgar Square. He spun the druggie round and saw a face he recognised. "Wait a minute, it's Friday isn't it? Robin Friday?" whereupon he took the bag of heroin from Friday's hand, went to the nearest drain and dropped it down between the gaps in the grating. "On your way. That's for the goal you scored against Tranmere", and he let Friday go. Whether it's true or not I don't know but it makes for a good, albeit sad, story.

When I heard he had died alone in some squat of an overdose I was really sad. I was really disapointed to see that the Evening Post only had a small article on the back page about him the day after he died. A disgrace. There should have been a national holiday.

I am glad this book exists, but at the same time saddened that there is no real footage of the man in action. Now there is a camera at every game in the land. SO for those of you that never saw him play, still buy the book because it is really a very good read. And for those that did see him play, then this book will give you goosebumps as you cast your minds back 30 years and realise how lucky you were.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique, 26 Jun 2013
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Characters like Friday,Stan Bowles,Duncan McKenzie are what got fans through the turnstiles in the 70s.It was an era of watching my side Southport in the mid seventies and football was a working class sport not full of the prawn sandwich brigade and the foreign billionaire chairmen.
Robin Friday was a one off a very good read for all footie fans.
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