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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I've never felt moved to write a review before but..., 6 April 2011
This review is from: ""BROWN OUT"": The Biography of West Ham Chairmen, Terence Brown (Hardcover)
I've just finished the book and I have to say how underwhelmed and cheated I feel..

The entire book is a Terry Brown puff piece without question. You'll struggle to find a single criticism of the man- who's track record UNDOUBTEDLY leads ample room for critic. For a book called 'Brown Out' to be so 'pro' the subject to which it seeks to objectively analyse smacks of farce.

The prose is both inconsistent, oxymoronic and blatantly biased; the text is strewn with examples of this.

Belton will criticize the Bond scheme but somehow liberate Brown of any blame- then close the chapter in question by saying its invention was the act of a `classy... and slick entrepreneur'. He criticizes its invention but marvels at Brown's capitalist ideologies. Here's a criticism- Arsenal's board invested in their own bond scheme, Terry Brown didn't. Mug off in that regard.

Belton is overly and brutally critical of Redknapp, Pardew and to a lesser extent Bonds, yet somehow concludes with more a less a list of all their accomplishments under the proviso of `all Brown achieved in his time as Chairman' at the conclusion. I just don't understand how Belton could have done this- I found this conclusion to the `Brown homage book' even more of a slap in the face as a reader. If Redknapp was so useless why did Brown keep him for as long as he did. If Pardew was ill-prepared for management why did Brown appoint him and refuse to sack him? If Redknapp was such a spendthrift why did Brown continue to sign the cheques? (Redknapp is even accused of selling Lampard in one bile-filled chapter, this as everyone knows, he did not).

I lost count of the platitudes dished out to Brown throughout the book- it seeks to defend him and his honour throughout to the point where Belton runs out of platitudes and repeats them in the conclusion. As if there was any doubt before the book even starts there is a disclaimer to say Terry always acted in the best interests of West Ham to the authors knowledge and an acknowledgement of thanks to Terry and his wife!

Belton's obvious disdain for supporters action groups, from HISA to WHISTLE, is as transparent as it is pro-Brown. The protesters are painted as adolescent naïve troublemakers while Brown emerges a West Ham saint on a divine mission to save the club in the face of adversity.

Furthermore, in Belton's desperation to leave the reader without doubt as to the kind of `saviour' Brown is we're told damn right lies.

"The profit he made from his sale of shares after many years would probably have been bettered if he had invested his time, effort and money he sank into West Ham elsewhere"- Pg 261.

As Terry will tell you himself, and as Paul Aldridge told me, Terry and his board never, EVER, invested any of their own money into the club. And a return of 30 odd million, without even counting his wages and bonus throughout his tenure, you think he could have done better than that?! Get out of town.

If the book makes a statement and error like this any reader can be in no doubt about what else lies in store. From the reference to `BAG Windows' being a team sponsor in the early 90's to the fact that the book includes pictures of the `Tabor protests' yet never mentions Michael Tabor or his offer once, this book is poorly researched, biased and lacking anything new or interesting about the entire era. Indeed all relating to Terry's early years seems to be taken word for word from an interview Terry did for The Times a few years ago.

The prose is additionally convoluted and strewn with superfluous, but nonetheless impressive big words, and I dare any reader to find the quotations at the start of each chapter anything less than pretentious.

If anyone is in any doubt about what I have to say here then go to the bookshop a read a page or two of the conclusion. I feel cheated and remain convinced Terry Brown wrote this farcical book himself.
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