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4.8 out of 5 stars123
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 2 August 2012
Normally I can take or leave footballers autobiographies most of them are bland recitals of existing careers sanitised by publishing houses and football clubs keen not to have anything too derogatory or controversial in print.

Then you get "Red Card Roy" the story of Roy McDonough, a player whose 20 plus year career spanned top flight spells with Birmingham and Chelsea down to the lower divisions with the likes of Southend United, Colchester and Exeter ending up in the non-league game with Heybridge Swifts. What sets Roy McDonough apart from an average footballer with a tale to tell is that his tale is worth telling, from the heartbreak of release from Birmingham as a youngster to a desperately lonely spell at Chelsea, Roy's story is heart warming and evocative of an era where all night benders, untold female conquests and practical jokes were part and parcel of every football club in the land. Some of the tales recounted include the theft of Perry Groves' pyjamas, a lass called "Fishy Mary" and drunken coach trips home from away games.

Then there is the red cards, 22 of them, 13 in the Football League both still a record in English football. You thought Cantona was the first exponent of a kung fu kick at a British Football Ground then you would be wrong, ask Tony Pulis, scythed in two by Super Roy just 7 minutes into an FA Cup tie. Why? Just for being Tony Pulis.

The great thing about this book is that Roy, like in his playing career, shies away from nothing and you get the lot, from his playing career, drink and disciplinary problems to personal and relationship break downs. Bernie Friend has done a truly outstanding job piecing together Roy's rollercoaster career into one of the best footballer autobiographies of modern times. Highly recommended, however, please avoid if you are easily shocked!
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on 2 August 2012
I remember Roy joining Southend United in the early 80's and he quickly became one of those players who the North Bank either loved or hated.I loved him for his sheer will to win and get stuck in and not be afraid to get hurt and of course dish it out too! This book is an honest account of his career of the up's and the down's and is a great read,so if you want a frank and sometimes brutal book then check it out.
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on 5 August 2012
Roy McDonough was always the thinking man with a wild child lifestyle, leading from the front in the adolescent world of boozy footballers. Driven by career frustration, poor decisions, lust, competitiveness and boundless energy, the message between the lines is that alcohol was the escape.

On and off the pitch, Roy rarely read the script, or preferred his own, and this intense volume lends some sense to the chaotic lifestyle and over-familiarity with violence.

It's years since I read Eamonn Dunphy's acclaimed masterpiece, but my impression is that McDonough's tale hits harder, is more candid, and leaves more of an impression.
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on 5 September 2012
Superbly written and honest account of a talented footballer who drifted into lower league football and ripped it up!

Roy McDonough, the honest-pro who never shirked responsibility for his team-mates but ultimately made rash decisions in his career which may have cost him playing at the highest level. If Roy had been able to have someone to guide him and help him along his path in professional football then his book would have been totally different - less birds but much better quality football!

This book was one which I couldn't put down and was full of humour, an insight into his personal life, total honesty (apart to his women) and some incredible stories based on aspects of football which many people today will not understand. No prawn sandwiches here, just beer and beer and more beer!

So many autobiographies skirt over the issues which most people want to read about but Roy's book told it to you straight. Whether you know the man or you don't, think is a fantastic read and I would recommend it to anyone.

Thanks for the insight into the life of a true footballer, who drifted into semi-oblivion through his set-back's and drinking but ultimately showed his professionalism when becoming a Manager and creating history with Colchester United.

One final thought, could Roy put a video on YouTube showing how he drinks a pint standing on his head! Or won't Liz let him now??!!
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on 6 August 2012
This isn't a, 'I respected XYZ for throwing the boot at my head' type of bland, agent driven, rose filled world of football, style of autobiography....this is a truly revealing insight in to the world of football during an age when footballing hardmen needed to be as tough as nails....during an age when if a player went down and stayed down, they were really hurt. In an age before divers and wimps, Roy McDonough stood out as footballing hardman.

This should be Sports Book of the Year - its the best sports book I have read this year and finally a football related autobiography where the author has told the real story....warts and all.

If you only buy one sports book this year, buy this one. Brilliant!
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on 5 August 2012
I'm about halfway through Roy's book and having been a supporter of Colchester since 1976 am all to familiar with the tales Roy has to tell - the 4-3 defeat to Newcastle in the League Cup, the long trips to N kahzis (Roy's words not mine - but I agree with him) and the all to familiar fan abuse (still goes on now and yes, Cantona was right to steam in). Also, hailing from Colchester originally I know all the haunts he discusses. That said, even if you are not Colchester fan or from Colchester this book lays bare the sordid details of life as a lower league professional footballer of the 80's/90's - top notch read. Many thanks Roy/Bernie.
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on 27 August 2012
I really enjoyed this book, I am a Col U fan and was looking forward to the Colchester related chapters, however I enjoyed all of it. It is easy to read and it appears Roy is honest about what drives him to be the way he is, a real insight.
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on 28 August 2012
Roy's book is a must read for any football fan. His tales from his boy hood football in Solihull and onto a career which saw tread the hallowed turf at Wembley is brilliant brilliant story. I could not put this book down!
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on 16 January 2013
This was a wonderful present from my daughter Kate
We all followed Big Roy from the day he graced the pitch at Layer Road
The book is a great read if you are a lover of all things football, indeed it is a warts and all tale as Roy opens up on his colourful very entertaining life in football.
Its near the knuckle and some individuals must have read it with anxiety fast tracking through their veins to the brain.
Details of old scores illuminate the pages.
The last dozen pages of reflection and memories were moving and show a maturity to the big man
I Thoroughly recommend this, buy it now
The whisper is Liam Neeson is going to play old Roy in the Film bi-opic
You heard it here first
Tom Weston
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on 17 November 2012
Ive read plenty of former footballers autobiographys recently (cant read current players books they seem pointless to me), but i couldnt put this one down and finished it off in 3 days. This book vividly paints a picture of what life was like playing in the lower leagues during the 80s and 90s, hard men and hard living and none harder than Roy McDonough.
I admire his honesty especially when refering to his own problems, but also the fact that he doesnt pull punches when talking about former teammates or current players instead of the usual brown nosing that goes on in other books.
Top top book i would recommend this to everyone who likes autobiographys sport related or not.
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