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on 30 April 2009
I purchased this book after reading extracts in The Times. The extracts looked promising but somehow the book just doesn't live up to them.

Mr Shindler is clearly trying to emulate David Peace's "faction" style, and he could hardly have chosen a better story to tell, especially for Manchester City supporters (like me) of a similar vintage to the author. For Cloughie's 44 days at Leeds read Mercer and Allison's seven years at City. Unfortunately, Mr Shindler's writing style does not seem suited to this type of book. So many of the supposed conversations just don't ring true, especially when the author feels the need to include profanities to make the dialogue more "realistic". Much of this seems forced and contrived, and some of the supposed conversations border on the cringeworthy. You just could never imagine them taking place. It's as if the author is trying to simulate how working class people speak, without ever having experienced it himself.

Also, he feels the need to include minute and irrelevant details into the text and this, together with an over-wordy writing style, really slows the pace of the book down and at times, sacrilege for a story about two such great characters, the book actually becomes a bit boring.

I wouldn't call it a bad book, but its merits lie solely in the fact that the basic story of Joe and Malcolm is such a great one, rather than the way in which the author has related the tale. Mr Shindler is certainly no David Peace. Indeed, Steve Mingle's excellent Allison Wonderland, which tells the story of the same era but mainly from Malcolm Allison's perspective, is far more entertaining and believable than this rather disappointing effort.
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on 7 April 2009
The best football book I've read for some time; much more moving than
David Peace's Cloughie book. It's written in the narrative style of a novel and yet, knowing the Mercer-Allison story as all 60's/70's football fans do, it never once strikes a false note. It reads as a kind of football tragedy with both main characters able to touch upon genius while possessing flaws that always threaten the very qualities that, as a team, made them great. In this sense the limited Mercer is the genial uncle figure; Allison desperately needs to reign in an ego that, otherwise, would spiral out of control. Allison of course being the forward-thinkning tactical genius English football should have embraced at a time when clogging was seen as the norm. The story itself has been documented many times but never with as much feeling of tragedy and loss as Shindler does here. Towards the end the third person narrator merges with what clearly is his own voice of despair and resignation: a climax with some feeling!
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on 16 July 2009
Is Schindler sponsored by Finglands Coaches? If not, why does he insist on using "the City team boarded the Finglands Coach" for every single away game he recounts? Also, what is a silent murmer as in "There was a silent murmur of assent, and the board meeting broke up shortly afterwards"?
This was City's most exciting period in it's history and yet there's no sense at all of what this meant to the fans. A strange omission considering the author made his name with Manchester United Ruined My Life a book entirely about being a City fan. Whilst well researched he also insists on using the results of his research regardless of whether it adds anything to the book or not. Do we really need to know that Stan Cullis, who appears only once, was the only manager at the time who didn't swear?
Other than for City completists it's best avoided.
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on 16 May 2016
Really good read, if you love this period of football, regardless of who you support its a brilliant read! Allison ahead of his time as regards tactics, away from the game maybe his antics were his downfall. But what a character!!
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on 19 November 2010
No issues with this purchase. Condition of item was as described on website. Item was received on schedule. Kept updated on order status from placing to receiving. Item was well packaged to travel thro post.
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on 13 April 2011
A rip-off the superior Clough/Taylor story, The Damned United. I agree that it is clunky and badly written.
At least he didn't use the name of Manchester United to sell this one though....
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on 24 September 2015
Very interesting book on a great club and one of football's great partnerships
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VINE VOICEon 2 December 2009
A fictionalised version of the relationship between Mercer and Allison, their rise to the top and their falling out. I wouldn't take it as gospel and suspect that there are elements of the Clough - Taylor story incorporated, but if you yearn for the days when football was football, and pitches were quagmires come February then you will find this book transports you like a time machine to a simpler era.

In my view, the weaknesses of the book were the 2 dimensional nature of the Mercer character, you don't succeed in sport by being a dithering doormat, and the failure to explore why it all went wrong for Allison when Mercer left.

Nevertheless, a great read for football nostalgistas, like most books of this ilk it shows the Premier League for what it is, a self important shadow of what football is really about.
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on 9 May 2009
An interesting and informative book, well written and well researched. A must for all Man City fans, particulary those like myself, of a "certain age".
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on 13 November 2009
read this book on the beach and it kept my eyes glued to the pages all the way thru, it must have been a really turbulent time in football with some real characters involved in it and this book captures the crazy years at manchester city quite factually without being boring a worthy addition to any book shelf. have it.
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