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5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read, 17 Sep 2012
This review is from: Life's a Pitch (Paperback)
"No cheering in the press box" is an imperative and directive that is passed onto every budding young sports journalist as soon as they start cutting their teeth. But who DO they really support? Well some of the answers are provided in this excellent anthology in which many of the UK's top football writers are at last given the freedom to come clean and declare their allegiances.

The results are enjoyable, surprising, passionate, heartfelt and sometimes, as in the case of former Arsenal winger turned journalist Adrian Clarke, downright emotional.

What is never in question is the quality of the writing which is top notch all the way through.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Life's A Pitch, 4 April 2013
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This review is from: Life's a Pitch (Kindle Edition)
Michael Calvin was onto a complete winner producing this anthology of football writings as it is made up by some of football's most popular, and successful, writers. For those who love our great national game, its well worth adding to your library.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A football book from football's finest, 31 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Life's a Pitch (Paperback)
As someone who has struggled to really get into football books in the past - although I find them interesting in the main, they never quite offer enough to keep me enthralled - this is very much an exception.

The book is an anthology of work by some of football's most popular, and most successful, writers. Featuring the likes of Martin Lipton, John Cross, Iain Macintosh, Rory Smith and Jonathan Wilson (and many, many more), some of the very best football scribes are involved, and the quality of the writing in the anthology is rarely anything other than exceptional.
Football writers don't often get the chance to write about their own team. Or, if they do, we don't get to see their passion coming through. It is the (relative) curse of the football journalist that he must be fair and impartial at all times. This book gives the writers the opportunity to step out of their enforced comfort zone and talk about their own team with the passion of a fan, and that's what makes this book such a success.

As a fan of a lower-league football team, I could identify with Iain Macintosh's description of supporting Southend United, and the thrill that came from watching Stan Collymore in his prime (for me, read Barnsley and Craig Hignett). Rory Smith's look at Liverpool is fascinating, while living in France, I can perfectly remember the events that Laure James describes as Montpellier became the surprise champions of Ligue 1. Adrian Clarke's chapter on being frozen out at Arsenal is also both extremely well written, and thoroughly fascinating. It's not often that we get the chance to experience football `from the inside', and `Clarkey' brings it to life very well, stirring up more than a few emotions along the way.

Although I can't mention every story in here now, I can say that, as an anthology of short stories, the book is very accesible and easy to read, and none of the chapters outstay their welcome. This is just football writing at its very best. It's written by those who have perfected their art, talking about something that they love. And that's clear.

With Christmas money burning holes in a few pockets, I can't recommend this enough to anyone with even a passing interest in football. For big fans, or those who enjoy reading about the beautiful game, it's a must have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb from start to finish, 25 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Life's a Pitch (Paperback)
I've read Mike's previous book Family: Life, Death & Football & absolutely loved it so bought this without a moments hesitation &, again, I wasn't disappointed.

It was fantastic to see the 'other side' of some top footballing journalists & nice to know that, actually, they're just as passionate as normal fans. The cult hero chapters on Ted McMinn & Rodney McAree were my favourites & Adrian Clarke's story about his last season at Arsenal nearly reduced me to tears!

Superb.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great footie read, 25 Oct 2012
This review is from: Life's a Pitch (Paperback)
This is the best football book I've read in ages. I'm still recovering from the last monumentally dull autobiography I read by a player yet to turn 25 and this has helped massively. Adrian Clarke's chapter on Arsenal was a real insight into a footballing culture on the cusp of a revolution. And Luke Moore has Fratton Park spot on.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A cut above your average football writing, 24 Oct 2012
This review is from: Life's a Pitch (Paperback)
If, like me, you despair of current football writing and it's stories of 'snubbing', 'slamming' and 'come-and-get-me pleas', this book should be a pleasant surprise. Some great writers trade in a bit of their objectivity for a healthy dollop of passion and the results are uniformly good and in a number of places, great. Adrian Clarke, Rob Smyth and Rory Smith all contribute standout pieces.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, informative and at times more than a little emotional, 19 Oct 2012
This review is from: Life's a Pitch (Paperback)
These are some of Fleet Street's finest who've stepped away from their objectivity (despite accusations that they are biased against x,y or z club) to bring you a glimpse into their passion. Presumably the reason the got into football writing in the first place.
It's clear to see that these men and women simply love football and indeed, their own clubs. From Dom Fifield's hilarious tales of a Crystal Palace tour to Martin Lipton and John Cross showing why Spurs and Arsenal fans have quite a lot in common really. Dave Kidd's chapter on a tale from Craven Cottage showing why Fulham are the club that everyone goes "oh aren't they a lovely club".
And Adrian Clarke's raw and emotional recall of his final few months with Arsenal. And yes I'll admit I cried at this one.

Then there's the ever brilliant Iain Macintosh letting us into the heady world of Southend United.

From some of the best writers in the business, this book has it all in a form you don't very often get to see. Very personal, heartfelt and passionate writing.

Go and buy it for yourself or for a loved one for Christmas - I am pretty sure you won't regret it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The only pity was that it ended!, 19 Oct 2012
This review is from: Life's a Pitch (Paperback)
Really loved "Life's A Pitch". Rory Smith's dissection of the Liverpool tradition and how that tradition could be holding back the club in "The Liverpool Way" is worthy of a book in itself. The only real criticism I would have of this book is that it ended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 19 Oct 2012
This review is from: Life's a Pitch (Paperback)
The Life's a Pitch book is a cut above most football books, partly because of the range of topics it covers and partly because the writing is top-notch. Each chapter is written by a different journalist about a subject they are passionate about, and that passion really shines through. I particularly enjoyed Adrian Clarke's chapter about his time as a young pro at Arsenal in the early days of Arsene Wenger - it was a rare and revealing insight into a the life of a young footballer struggling to make his way in the game. Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pitch, please!, 19 Oct 2012
This review is from: Life's a Pitch (Paperback)
This is a great book, although that's not surprising with the likes of Iain Macintosh and Dom Fifield among the authors. Bitesized stories about club specific stories, I was particularly interested in the Crystal Palace chapter, being a lifelong Eagle. It was a excellent insight into a bizarre time at the club, nicely put together by Fifield with the sort of self deprecating wit that affords itself to all Palace fans. The rest of the book is just as good and well recommended for all fans, regardless of allegiances.
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Life's a Pitch
Life's a Pitch by Michael Calvin
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