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All Played Out: Full Story of Italia '90 Hardcover – 29 Oct 1990

4.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd; First Edition edition (29 Oct. 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434179086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434179084
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

Classic of footballing literature re-issued in b-format. 'This could well be the best book ever written about football. ' Time Out. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
I first read this book not long after it was first published and have re-read it several times. On each occasion I have been amazed by the quality of Pete Davies' writing. The excellent narrative and analysis is maintained throughout, offering an 'insiders' guide to what really happened with England at the 1990 World Cup. Davies starts by recounting the deciding qualifier in Poland and the warm-up matches, which highlight the pressure felt by Bobby Robson and the constant media scrutiny of the England team and entourage. The book then takes up the story of what it was like to follow England round Italy for a month. Davies interviews all the key figures and mingles with fans of various nationalities to discuss their experiences.
The essential strength of the book is the honesty and trust Davies received from the England manager and players. They were aware that Davies was not seeking to grab sensationalist headlines for the 'brat-pack' gutter-press back home and also that the book would not be appearing until well after the end of the tournament. This gave the major protoganists in England's tournament the chance to speak openly with the author and the results are fascinating, particularly the interview with John Barnes.
Overall, the book is a terrific reminder of England's most successful overseas World Cup. A more literary and authoritative type of football book than something like Fever Pitch, this is a must for any football lovers bookshelf.
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Format: Paperback
Used as I was to the drivel that passed for football journalism circa 1990, with the obvious honourable exceptions, this book came as a bolt from the heavens when I read it on publication. It seems a world away: no tiresome WAGS, players who actually said what they thought, a manager who most certainly couldn't be mistaken for Ron Manager (occasionally Ron Knee, perhaps) and an English player, the touchingly football-mad Gascoigne, who actually WAS a (flawed) genius, well what a story. From the outside it might look as if England proceeded quite easily to the semi-final, but as many will remember and as Davies reminds us, in struggles with Belgium and a fearsome Cameroon it was not so easy: a turbulent, fractious trip to Sardinia had the players revolting and the formation was arrived at by Robson listening to a strong group of characters: Lineker, B. Robson, Wright. The narrative is compelling and well told; Davies clearly loves but is not blind to the players' faults and the results is a brilliant book about the last really decent England side. More important, they all trust him so the results are startlingly candid throughout; this at a time when the tabloids were all too often on the manager's back, some keen to dump him (I know, hard to believe now). This is football Before Sky, a not altogether unmitigated triumph, and it is refreshing to revisit a less bombastic, self-important World of/Planet Football. Looking back it is obvious what a fine team this was, but they didn't have it easy and you can thrill to an often bumpy ride as Davies is a shrewd, perceptive analyst whose long book reads so easily I was sorry when it was finished; it reads like a good novel.
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Format: Paperback
Reading this book almost ten years after the event took place, there's an added poignancy to the story of Paul Gascoigne. Throughout the book, I found myself comparing the then-youthful, cheeky, heart-warming and incredibly talented lad to the headline-hunted, alcohol-ravaged, manic depressive the football world has to come to pity and fear. In retrospect, his destiny was not inevitable. Scenes such as his running off from an interview to play football with children only add to the sense of early promise mishandled and misspent. Many stories remain to be written about Gazza, but this one truly captures the one unmistakable truth: no one seems to have loved the game more than Gazza.
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By A Customer on 29 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
Davies is funny, perceptive and poignant as he describes the extraordinary adventure that was the 1990 World Cup in Italy. It might well be the best book on football ever written.
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Format: Paperback
Everybody knows that Nick Hornby invented football literature in 1992. Because before then the likes of Eamon Dunphy, Hunter Davies and, most importantly, Pete Davies had obviously been trotting out nursery rhymes for a living.

The sporting literature revolution of the 1990s in the UK owes a hell of a lot of Italia 90; Gazza's tears, Nessun Dorma, Gary Lineker's deranged smile after David Platt's goal against Belgium and all. But that revolution also owes a hell of a lot to Pete Davies, whose All Played Out is rivalled only by Duncan Hamilton's Provided You Don't Kiss Me and Gary Imlach's My Father... when it comes to football writing. Good football writing had been thin on the ground until Davies somehow managed to wangle unlimited access to Bobby Robson's World Cup squad. Since then, among the glut of cash-in autobiographies there have been many nuggets of gold.

The book is part travel article, part interview, part match report and part news bulletin. That's not to say it's disjointed, however. Nothing could be further from the truth. Bit by bit then:

The travel stuff sets the scene perfectly. Italy is a beautiful country, and in 1990 it was blessed with the most aesthetically pleasing stadia in the world. Davies documents his travels around one of the most frenzied, stunning countries in the world in a manner that would do Bill Bryson justice.

The interviews are candid, insightful, funny and, in the case of Paul Gascoigne, incredibly sad. The way the players open up to Davies when they were doing their best to shut out the rest of the press is testament to Davies' journalistic skills. Knowing now how these players' futures have been shaped makes their predictions for their lives after football fascinating reading.
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