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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Football magician with so much modesty., 5 Aug 2009
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This review is from: The Way It Was: My Autobiography (Paperback)
What a story and put in such a humble way, what a character! Now I know how he managed to play first class football for so long, fitness, well he would blow all of today's footballers off the pitch with his unbelievable stamina and football skills. They do not make the like of him anymore unfortunately, a true British gent and a credit to his trade and country.
If we still practised the skills of dribbling the ball that he had in abundance we would be a more effective and feared world football power still.
I liked the bit about him being completely outplayed by the German leftback in his first game against them and then his working out how to better himself next time, for which he did in some style, England winning in Nazi Germany 6-3! His father was the driving force behind him.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Jan 2010 03:27:02 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Jan 2010 03:49:58 GMT
Tom Plum says:
Plett, funny thing, we read the same book! And Sir Stan's book takes quite a bit of time to labor through at almost 700 pages.

I wonder what his diet was, wikipedia says he was a vegetarian, he may imply it in the book but I don't know if it is absolutely spelt out though honestly, it's a long book and by the last 100-200 pages, I may have faded on it some.

Related to Sir S. Matthews is the game vs. the USA in 1950, Stan on that 3 Lions team, did not play in that game: (and I have also read Tom Finney's book because I was interested in these sports legends of long ago).

You want something to get your dander up, under my reviews, I review this movie called "Miracle Match" or "The game of their lives" (based on a book called that) about the USA vs. England game. Anyway, my review at is even more on the mark of this movie. See the problem is, I think the movie is deceptive. We always hear "movies are a lot different than the true story" but in this case, it seems an irresponsible portrayal, too much creative license.

You probably don't have time to read blah blah blah but my review was probably more on the mark, anyway, I spend too much time here, and don't mean to be argumentative with you per the JFK assassination. Nothing wrong with debate.

So, maybe this movie is only some brand b movie and not important but I had high hopes for it but I always believe in being fair, especially in sports.

For the movie I wrote:

"USA win in 1950 was a great accomplishment in itself; it did not need to be embellished upon., December 13, 2009

I read the book The Game of Their Lives: The Untold Story of the World Cup's Biggest Upset and was very excited when I heard it was going to be a movie, I looked for it in theaters and I heard that is was played in some schools. The book is a classic in discussing that team and that game and I think much better than the movie which seems highly revisionist. No such revisions are needed.

Action wise, this is one of the best soccer movies yet for the filming of plays on the field much in the way, that 'Hoosiers' is a triumph in basketball. You do get a good feel for a real soccer game from this movie. The soccer footage I find enjoyable as in the 'Goal' movies, 'Victory' and a "Shot at glory.'

Factually, I believe it has been embellished too much and in fact, fabricated, forget about the arguments as to how good England were, Ireland Republic defeated England within a year prior to this match 2-0 in what I believe was the first time a foreign team won on English soil (fellow United Kingdom teams Wales and Scotland, the latter doing so with regularity, had managed to defeat England in England a number of times) so England were not invincible and forget about our losses to Chile and Spain in that World Cup in regards to this single game, I believe the story line is still true and that this is one of the greatest upsets of all time since the US was such a backwater soccer/football nation. When Cameroon defeated reigning World Cup champion Argentina in 1990, Cameroon was still a nation where soccer is a primary sport. The same can be said about the handful of other examples that can be used for similar upsets, Algeria vs. West Germany, North Korea vs. Italy, Senegal vs. France, etc.. The US team that defeated England in 1950 had results like these in the immediate years prior: Mexico 5 USA 0, Cuba 5 USA 2, Norway 11 USA 0 ( ref: elo ratings web pages) and finally, in September of 1949, we defeated Cuba 5-2: so we were far from being formidable competition on the world stage. This is what made the victory so staggering, it was so unexpected, so out of the blue. A modern day comparison might be say, if we saw Canada, no offense meant, defeat someone like Holland in the World Cup, it would be shocking though in fairness, I do believe the Canadians often hold their own alright in playing our National team.

Yet, I believe the producers and writers of the screenplay play a bit too fast and loose with the original story. The book seems even-handed in telling about all of the players, this movie is largely about the St. Louis based players, 4 in total of the team and certainly does merit mention and probably being central to the story but possibly not at the total expense of other team members of which some, there is close to nil. Additionally, I would agree with some reviewers who would say the English team are made to be somewhat villains in this movie, perhaps upper class snootish snobbish types, heck, they almost seem cut out of the same cloth as that Russian Rocky Balboa boxed in that one movie, Ivan Drago. The truth is back in those days, an English footballer received relatively low wages compared to today, some pay packets only a bit higher than those earned by factory workers. I don't want to give away any of the plot element and after all, we know of the final outcome here, but from my reading, some facts don't mesh with the movies version. The famed soccer star Sir Stanley Matthews doesn't play against the USA because in the movie he's taking a "holiday" in Rio, by the way, the first chapter of the book states Sir Stan was sitting out the USA game because he was "limping briefly" in the preceding game vs. Chile. The truth of the matter is, is Sir Stan at 35 years old wasn't picked to play in this game from his own voluminous autobiographyThe Way It Was: My Autobiography. I'd also scrutinize the portrayal of Haitian Joe Gaetjens. Finding other inconsistencies, I can't help but feel much of the narrative here does not reflect the reality of the original game. These guys seem to spend a good amount of time in the bar as well, okay, I guess I can take some creative license there.

Stanley Mortensen who was half-Norweigan by the way, one player on the English National team is portrayed making an arrogant speech at a joint dinner banquet with the English and American teams attending, the speech is a somewhat anti-American speech and incendiary, "Gloves" walks out of the speech. I searched the book but this is not in there. What is the source of this speech?? Stanley Mortensen in fact served on a RAF fighter plane that went down during World War II, he was the only one to survive. Injuries he sustained in that crash were thought to be so serious as to end his soccer career altogether but he came back. Is this the one who made that speech at that banquet?? Also, it would seem highly unlikely to see Mortensen's talking about cricket and also, disparage baseball when in fact, baseball is much like the sport "rounders" played in the United Kingdom (for better or worst, the author of Soccer in a Football World: The Story of America's Forgotten Game (Sporting) goes so far as to say it originated over there). Revising the story does not truly honor this original team whose great accomplishment speaks for itself. The whole scenario I believe is fundamentally changed.

If one is fictionalizing the story, what is to keep one from say, supposing the Italian referee sided with the American team which had some Italian-heritage players like Pariani and Borghi? I doubt if a screen writer named Angelo Pizzo would see it in that manner but why not at least, seek the truth? Tom Finney who played for England that day writes that two obvious penalties for England were waved off, furthermore, in the two previous years, England had marked up 2-0 and 4-0 victories against Italy. So, certainly, there is a need to be honest.

To use a comparison, a recently well made sports movie in my opinion is 'The Express, the Ernie Davis story' reading "inspired by real events" on the dvd case and even carrying a disclaimer at the end concerning the events portrayed in a game purported to take place in West Virginia which it says are fictitious. While the verdict is out, 'Express' seems to still be a fair historical appraisal of that era. 'The miracle match' also called 'The game of their lives' is a two or three star movie because while the acting and filming is very good, not a bad story-line except it seemingly, has little to do with historical accuracy and, though you might say "everyone does it", it could even be construed as malicious and possibly defamatory. "

Okay, hope I did not say anything meaning to agitate you and Blyth, reviews on Charlton and this one which I've read I enjoy.
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