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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable romp down memory lane from someone who was there, 27 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Ta Ra Fergie: Full Time from the Man who Held up the Banner (Paperback)
I was attracted to this book as, like the author, I am a Manchester United fan and my time supporting the club pretty much began around the time Sir Alex Ferguson (or just plain Alex back then) became United's manager in 1986. I have some recollection of the author's infamous banner and although I was not on the terraces in the dark days of 1989, I do recall the media were building up the pressure on Ferguson around that time and reporting that United supporters were vocal in putting across their displeasure about United's performances at that time. Ferguson would turn things around by winning his first trophy with Manchester United, the FA Cup, at the end of that season and the rest is history, with a further 37 trophies following before Ferguson's retirement earlier this year. This book is the author's homage to fifty years of supporting Manchester United and one which he started writing ten years ago, but which he continually delayed completion of because Ferguson showed no signs of retiring, until earlier this year.

For the most part, the author adopts a chronological approach to the structure of the book, although the opening chapter is used to set the scene and to give some explanation for why the author came to make the banner with which he has become synonymous. Therefore, the first chapter is largely set in the 1989/1990 season. In chapter 2, the author goes back to the day he first became a Manchester United supporter in 1963, on the day that United contested the FA Cup final and thereafter, events of the past fifty years are recollected in chronological order by the author, right up to United's twentieth league title success in 2013.

The author's knowledge of his favourite team is demonstrated throughout the book as his facts and recall of matches and of players is exemplary. This is not always the case when reading books on this subject and so the author is to be commended for his knowledge and recall. But more than this, what really shines through is the author's passion for his club as he describes the lengths he has gone to in order to attend key matches that his team have played over the past fifty years and some of the sacrifices he has made in order to attend, such as missing wedding ceremonies of family members in order to go to a match. You do not need to share the author's allegiance to Manchester United to identify with his commitment to his football team, some of his anecdotes will strike a chord with supporters of other football clubs.

Throughout the book, the author is refreshingly honest and insightful, both about himself and also in his appraisal of his football club under the stewardship of each manager over the past fifty years. There are some tender moments that go beyond the football, such as the sometimes difficult relationship he had with his father, who disapproved of his son's skewed priorities where Manchester United were concerned, as well as the sad tale of the car accident that occurred when the author and a group of friends had travelled back from an away match in adverse weather conditions in the 1970s. But for the most part, this is an enjoyable nostalgia romp that explains how Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson overcame adversity to dominate the English football landscape over the past two decades, told from an eye of a supporter who was there to witness it all from start to finish.

I found this book to be really easy to read and once I started reading, I did not want to put it down. I ended up reading the book in its entirety in three days. I really enjoyed the author's gentle, easy going and at times, humorous narration and found this conducive to extending my reading sessions. As a fellow supporter of Manchester United, I particularly enjoyed revisiting the 1989/90 campaign as the FA Cup campaign that ultimately saved Ferguson's job and which was pivotal in changing the author's opinion of him was one of my early memories of following the team as a child. United supporters will enjoy recalling the journey, while supporters of other teams will appreciate the author's sentiments about how football has changed for a supporter since the advent of the Premier League and Sky Television in 1992.

This book comes highly recommended from me and another small point of detail which adds to the reading enjoyment are the names of the chapters, which are lyrics from songs which in some way describe the period being discussed in the chapter, ranging from Mancunian bands such as The Stone Roses, James and Oasis, right through to Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Waterboys, Coldplay and Eminem. This also hints at the author also having a varied, eclectic and very good taste in music. A really enjoyable read for football supporters everywhere, not just those that support Manchester United.
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