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5.0 out of 5 stars WE DARED TO DREAM AND THE DREAM CAME TRUE, 17 Feb 2010
This review is from: Stokoe, Sunderland and 73: The Story Of the Greatest FA Cup Final Shock of All Time (Hardcover)
ONE long Good Friday almost 50 years ago Don Revie was accused of trying to BRIBE rival boss Bob Stokoe.

As a result he sensationally ignited a bitter hatred which turned into the last great football fairytale as Stokoe's Sunderland shocked Revie's Leeds to win the FA Cup in the biggest upset of all time.

The dramatic story - which also involves Brian Clough - is told for the first time by BBC sports journalist Lance Hardy in his unmissable new book 'Stokoe, Sunderland and '73'.

Revie's struggling Leeds faced dropping out of the old Second Division for the first time in 1962 when he took them to Stokoe's Bury.

According to Stokoe, Revie said to him minutes before kick-off: "I've got £500 in my pocket for you if you take it easy today."

The outraged Shakers' player-manager retorted: "Not bloody likely."

The confrontation made the two soccer legends implacable enemies and set the scene for the most incredible FA Cup showdown in Wembley history.

And this gold nugget which speaks volumes about both Revie and Stokoe is just one of a set of sparkling gems which light up this fascinating, explosive, action-packed tale.

Hardy was just five when his dad sat him down in front of the telly in Worksop, Notts, and told him to support the Wearsiders as rank outsiders against Revie's all-conquering but hated Leeds on May 5, 1973.

Enthralled by Stokoe's red and white lionhearts, mesmerised Lance cheered as Ian Porterfield shot the Second Division side ahead against the Mean Machine from Yorkshire.

The dazzled little lad almost fell off the sofa as Jimmy Montgomery pulled off the best save ever seen at Wembley from a stunned Peter Lorimer to deny one of the most formidable teams the game's ever seen.

Lance became a Sunderland diehard and has written the most absorbing sports books I've ever read.

As a Black Cats-mad lad of 14, I was there when Dave Watson and Ron Guthrie fired us through against Luton in the quarter-finals and Vic Halom and Billy Hughes incredibly gunned down mighty Arsenal in the semis at Hillsborough.

It broke my heart because I couldn't get a ticket for the final for love nor money.
Hardy captures the romance, free spirits, laughs, excitement and heart-stopping drama of a golden bygone age of the FA Cup almost 40 years ago as all our dreams came true.

As well as shedding dazzling new light on the intrigue, politics and brutal backstabbing in '60s and '70s football which make the Commons look like a kindergarten.

Enter stage left Brian Clough.

The football titan disliked Stokoe just as much as Revie did.

And their mutual loathing again went back to that fateful and totemic year 1962, Hardy's meticulous three-year labour of love tells us.

Ironically playing at Roker for Bury, Stokoe told the ref Sunderland striker Clough was only kidding as he lay in agony after snapping his cruciate ligament on a treacherously icy pitch on Boxing Day.

But Stokoe was left looking foolish as the horrific injury ended the goal-happy hitman's fantastic career.

And as Hardy writes: "Clough would never forgive Stokoe for that."

The wheel turned full circle because as well as Revie, Cloughy was also at Wembley for the epic final shoot-out as a BBC pundit bringing the three adversaries together in an unholy trinity linked by a twist of fate.

The Damned United, looking at Old Big 'Ead's ill-starred 44 days as Leeds gaffer and starring Michael Sheen, was a huge big screen hit last year.

Stokoe's feat at winning the most famous club competition in the world with no internationals is surely a rags-to-riches rollercoaster which would also pack out cinemas from Carlisle to Cornwall.

A scathing outburst by Leeds skipper Billy Bremner sums up a piece of spine-tingling folklore that none of us Mackems will forget if we live to be 100.

The midfield hardman left a huge hole in his fellow Scot Ian Porterfield's sock and a raking gash on his left leg in a lunging foul as, knocked out of their killer stride, Leeds reverted to type and turned nasty.

Dripping blood, Porterfield jumped up and defiantly grinned at startled Bremner who spat out: "You're as mad as your bloody manager!"

Published by Orion Books at £18.99, the fantastically entertaining and eye-opening Stokoe, Sunderland and '73 by Lance Hardy perfectly mirrors the magnificent match itself - it's a true classic.

Beautifully illustrated to boot, if you've got ONE football bone in your body go out and buy it tomorrow.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Jul 2012 13:58:04 BDT
S Wright says:
This is clearly a publishers' press release (or at any rate it reads exactly like one), and as such is inappropriate here.
Not to detract from what sounds like a fine book - but there is no place for press releases among impartial reviews on Amazon.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Aug 2012 15:26:38 BDT
Agreed with S Wright, this is no reader's review but is much more like a saleman's pitch. The final sentence says it all, really.
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