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A Great Reference Book,
This review is from: The Book of Football Obituaries (Hardcover)
Ivan Ponting is a great writer. Of that there is little doubt, and this book proves it. Many great footballers are here described - some of whom, I'm ashamed to say, I had no great detailed knowledge of. Other players who adorned my childhood from the pages of comics and cards like Derek Tapscott of Arsenal and Wales died in 2008 and Johnnie Atyeo of Bristol City in 1993, without me noticing. Jimmy Scoular, a hero of my beloved Newcastle, was always bawling at team mates and referees. Yes, I knew that!
There are a few surprising omissions, at least to my Scottish eyes - Jimmy Johnstone, Bobby Murdoch, Jim Baxter are not mentioned.Pity! And there is one major fault in the lay-out in that the players are presented chronologically ie from the dates of their death. It would surely have been a lot better, at least for potential researchers and enquirers, to do it alphabetically. For no great obvious reason George Best comes first and is done out of chronological order. Yet George's travails are detailed with such pathos and gratitude that one cannot help appreciate the effect that the wayward Irishman had on Manchester United fans like Mr Ponting.
There are so many good things about the book. Walter Winterbottom was a wing commander in the RAF; Johnny Haynes had a dry-cleaning business in Edinburgh (Mr Ponting might also have mentioned that he became a keen Hearts' supporter); Jack Kelsey made dolls' houses as a hobby in later life. I did not know these things. This book will certainly be an asset to my bookshelf, but it is a book that I will dip into, (possibly about once a day!) rather than read from end to end.