Top positive review
16 people found this helpful
Deserves to be thought of alongside 'Only a Game' as a classic of the genre
on 6 November 2010
When I first read Eamon Dunphey's insight into my beloved Millwall Football Club it was my first forray into football literature. I wrongly assumed this was how all football books were written and that set me up for some serious disappointment as I read other footballers autobiographies over the next few years! Not until Steve Claridge wrote 'Tales from the Boot Camps' did something come close to offering a proper window into how football works. 'Family' offers something dififerent to both of these works by virtue of it's modern day setting. Football has changed beyond all recognition from the game I started watching in the late 80's but Millwall are extremely fortunate that the bond between fans and players is still relatively close. As a kid Millwall was part of my extended family and now my younger brothers are experiencing the same feeling 20 years on. This book captures that with its tales of Neil Harris visiting fans in hospital and injured players joining the fans in the crowd and leading them in song.
The book itself has a Hollywood ending with promotion at Wembley in the playoffs (sorry, a spoiler there that is equivalent to revealing the iceberg bit in Titanic!) but the ending doesn't really matter. It's the journey rather than the destination and had Millwall fallen at the final hurdle it wouldn't have detracted from the insight into the club under the current regime.
'Family' affords you an opportunity to see how a modern lower league football club (with it's fair share of problems) works. It's a world where kids dreams are dashed in a heartbeat, where a years rehabilition can be set back with one bad tackle, where WAGS are worried about moving the kids schools and meeting the mortgage payments rather than which designer handbag to buy.
As a Millwall fan I always knew how special this club was but Michael Calvin has put it onto paper for a larger audience to see. I really hope this book is read by other clubs supporters because however much you hate us I swear you will have just a little bit more respect for us afterwards. If nothing else you will be writing to ask if Michael can follow your side for a year!