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4.0 out of 5 stars What you get is what you see, 15 April 2012
This review is from: Scholes: My Story (Hardcover)
A Paul Scholes autobiography is of course a contradiction in terms. Here is a player who is famously a man of few words. He lets his actions speak for him.

So it is perhaps appropriate that this book is dominated by pictures of Scholes. If you would value a collection of great action shots of the man at work, this is an ideal momento. But if, improbably, you are hoping for an insight into the mind of a footballing genius, from the genius himself, you will inevitably be disappointed.

When it comes to real insights volunteered by by the man himself, they come down to around four. First, Scholes doesn't have a bad word for anyone except Dennis Wise, who he loathes. Second, Alex Ferguson is such a master of the press-conference-as-theatre, that he has been known to say to Scholes before stepping in front of the journalists: `watch this'. Third, the quick side to side assessment of play Scholes makes before receiving a pass is knows as the `windscreen wiper'. Fourth, his youngest child is autistic, and all the proceeds from his testimonial went to autism. That's pretty much it.

However, surprisingly, there is more value in the text than you might expect. For two reasons. The first is that, since this isn't the usual, often turgid, sporting autobiography, but rather a series of long captions to go with the pictures, Scholes does offer a personalised way of reliving some of the famous moments of United's recent history - good and bad. He is very honest - whether it is admitting a shot was actually a mishit, or that Barcelona were hopelessly superior to United in two Champions League finals - and shares his passion: goals against City, it transpires, matter more than others! The second reason is all the testimony offered by others. In a pleasing device, whenever Scholes refers to someone in text, they are then asked to comment themselves. These are often fascinating, coming as they do from many of the greats of football; and they reveal Scholes' true greatness in a way this modest man never would himself.

Oh, and there is the delicious irony of reading a book which recounts the retirement of a player who has since returned to be the most influential contributor to the 2011-12 title race - and that's not opinion: the statistics are very clear about it. Has anyone else ever come out of retirement to such remarkable effect? Sadly it only confirms that United will indeed never be the same without him.
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Location: London, UK

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