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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately, it's a matter of fact..., 4 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Bill Nicholson: Football's Perfectionist (Hardcover)
As a supporter who was 'there' when Bill Nicholson's `Super Spurs' were carrying all before them in the early 1960s, I am obviously very interested in that era and have many of the books written to mark the achievements of, arguably, Britain's greatest club side.
As it is now nearly 50 years since the double was won I am aware that this provides a great publishing opportunity and I was particularly keen to obtain a copy of this book by Brian Scovell.
Although it centres on painting a portrait of Bill Nicholson - the man as well as the manager - and to a certain extent succeeds, it is let down by a litany of factual errors and sloppy proof reading.
I give a few examples. In the second picture section the caption refers to Terry Dixon rather than Dyson and a picture captioned: `The Spurs dressing room at half time in the 1967 Cup Final' features Danny Blanchflower talking to Cliff Jones. Anyone who know anything about Spurs knows that Blanchflower had hung up his boots three years earlier.
In the text talking about the second leg of Spurs first European cup tie against Gornik at White Hart Lane it says: `Pohl... soon made the aggregate 5-2'. This is nonsense. Spurs were 4-2 down from the first leg but within 20 minutes had levelled the scores at 4-4 and although Pohl did score possibly the best goal of the match, Spurs were than heading towards an 8-1 victory.
Another glaring error is the assertion that in the 3rd round of the FA Cup in the double season Spurs `scraped through 3-2 against Charlton at The Valley. The match was actually at White Hart Lane.
I could go on but suffice to say that a potentially excellent book is spoiled by lack of proper research. And it is a great pity.
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Showing 1-10 of 166 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Aug 2010 14:10:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 Aug 2010 14:11:45 BDT
Vic Templar says:
Have almost finished reading the book and have to agree with Mr Margetts. I'm not a Spurs fan (although my dad was) and wasn't there, but still found it an interesting portrait of a principled and dignified football man - one of the true greats.
However, I can add to the bloopers. I am utterly baffled as to how these ever made their way past editors and proof readers.
a) Derby County have never won the European Cup, neither with nor without Dave Mackay in the side.
b) On p.168 "The referee came running towards the Tottenham skipper (Mackay) with an arm outstretched as though he was about to pull out a red card." Not in 1967 he didn't. Red and yellow cards first appeared in the 1970 world cup and didn't feature in the football league until the early 1980s.
c) The best is yet to come, however, with the assertion that the broadcast of 'Grandstand' on the morning of the 1961 Cup Final "was interrupted by breaking news of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon." This is May 1961, a month after Gagarin made the first manned space flight and eight years before the July '69 moon landing!
I wouldn't say these have spoiled the book, in fact, the moon landing made me laugh out loud, but it makes me wonder how many more there are.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Sep 2010 21:29:46 BDT
I think your wrong. Actually Scovell has done a pretty decent job in Football Perfectionist. Yes, there are a few dates which are mixed up, but so what? All that matters is that this book remembers a terrific gentlemen, in Nicholson, and Scovell has done that sublimely well, so, for me, I can't criticise Scovell for writing a decent book about a great legend.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Sep 2010 22:23:55 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 Sep 2010 11:00:42 BDT
I don't understand how you can say anyone has done "a pretty decent job" when so much factual information -- not just a few dates -- is so hopelessly wrong. Of course Bill Nicholson was a legend both as a manager and a man and as such deserves much better than Brian Scovell and his publishing team have come up with. As a 'perfectionist' Bill Nicholson would be turning in his grave...

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2010 09:26:14 BDT
As a sales rep for a non-fiction children's publisher accuracy in a publication is paramount.
I was lucky enough to to witness the 'double' triumph and would be highly irritated by these inaccuracies had I bought the book -perhaps it will appear on a bargain shelf sooner than later - perhaps then it would be a worthwhile purchase !!
What credentials does Mr Scovell have?

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Oct 2010 19:44:22 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Oct 2010 19:57:18 BDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Oct 2010 23:00:00 BDT
Firstly, it's a pity Mr Watterson has to resort to rudeness to try to justify his somewhat dubious stance. Let's get one thing straight. No book containing as many inaccuracies as this one can be labelled 'great'.
Secondly, I, too, read Richard Littlejohn's piece in today's Daily Mail and can only assume he skimmed his way through it, does not know his Spurs history -- which I doubt -- or that as a colleague on the same paper where Mr Scovell worked, he was hardly likely to be particularly critical.
I have read most of the books published about Bill Nicholson and this one is certainly among the most memorable -- but unfortunately for the wrong reasons.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Oct 2010 10:03:32 BDT
Firstly, Michael 'I can only assume he skimmed his way through the book'. Of course, he did Michael. I'm sure he did as that's his job, just to skim through books and review them, what an outlandish and stupid comment, yet again Michael - your on form today-as your actually insulting Richard Littlejohn and Scovell; from the looks of things i doubt you read the book or Littlejohn's piece, as clearly he knows Spurs' history, if you bothered to read the piece or, probably, were rather to sceptical to have an opened mind, Michael. Whatever you think, Scovell's book is the best one i've read about Nicholson and lots of other people, in the sports industry, obviously agree with me, so Mike you must be the only one who didn't like the book, so how about I suggest you go read the book again or for all our sakes, just stop complaining about every little thing wrong about the book as I've read Scovell's pieces and books for years and have nothing but high praise for them, I would like to see you try - actually on second thoughts - I wouldn't. Your posts are just laughable as they have no substance to them, so come back with a decent argument, please, Michael J.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Oct 2010 11:21:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Oct 2010 11:24:06 BDT
Mr Watterson's latest semi-literate rant merely serves to underline his feeble argument. He obviously places little or no value on accuracy and finds it impossible to differentiate between a well researched, error-free book and one that has just been thrown together to capture a particular market at a particular time. Could it be that he is related to Mr Scovell in some way?

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Oct 2010 12:10:00 BDT
Could it just be Michael is just a boring old man who has nothing better to do than slag of books, which have a few errors in? Because if it is, Mike. I feel sorry for you. And look at that - Mike comes out with yet another outlandish and prudish comment about me being related - which I'm not to Scovell - I'm not related to every author which writes books. Michael your comments are just becoming a tad tedious, so I'll empathise my point again, come back with a decent and sustainable argument, or just stop wasting your time with pointless comments about the book being 'thrown together', of course it is Mike, that's how every book is done. For crying out loud, MIKE, get a grip on things.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Oct 2010 19:52:18 BDT
Mr Watterson becomes more and more ridiculous with each posting. As I keep saying my sustainable argument is very simple. It is this: a potentially excellent book is spoiled by poor research, shoddy proof reading and lack of attention to detail. There is nothing else to say...
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