- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (5 April 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0571224334
- ISBN-13: 978-0571224333
- Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.4 x 2.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Damned Utd Paperback – 5 Apr 2007
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'The most extraordinary novel about football yet to appear.' --Tim Martin, Independent on Sunday
'The Damned Utd is an overwrought, overblown, sliding tackle of a book. I loved it.' --Tony Saint, Daily Telegraph
'If Euripides had ever tried ghosting football memoirs he could not have done it better.' --Alfred Hickling, The Guardian
The Damned Utd, by David Peace, is the hugely acclaimed novel of 1970s football, and the turmoil of Brian Clough, the game's most charismatic and controversial manager.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
world of 1970's football to set a novel in seems strange. In fact the story of Brian
Clough's 44 days at Leeds United has everything required for a good story- corporate
intrigue, bitterness between work colleagues and an alcoholic anti-hero with
a rags to riches backstory.
The narrative has two alternating strands - Clough's description of his 44
days at Leeds and the story of his time in football management from his
the premature end of his playing career to taking the Leeds manager's job.
At first I didn't find this appealing but as the book progresses this style makes it clear
that his seemingly bizarre actions as Leeds manager had their roots in the attitudes
he had developed and events that had happened in his life and career
to that point, such as his dismissal as manager of Derby. It was the same attitudes that made his premature departure from Leeds inevitable.
The constant repetition of certain phrases of Clough's internal monologue along with his bizarre behaviour (e.g. burning the desk in his predecessors office) hint at a man close to the edge of sanity and knee deep in paranoia. The shadow of the hated previous Leeds manager (Don Revie) fills Clough's thoughts as he aims to completely change the style of play that had made Leeds so successful and so unpopular.
The senior Leeds players engineer his dismissal for this very reason. Clough was unwilling to give Revie or the players any credit, convinced that any success had been achieved through cheating and foul play. He appears only occasionally at training, then usually to abuse the players. At the same time he tries half heartedly to be friends with senior players such as Billy Bremner.Read more ›
In 1974, Brian Clough, the man, the enigma, the genius, took over the helm as manager of Leeds United, a club he very publicly despised. He was to last only 44 days. 44 days during which he barely spoke to the players, took an axe to his predecessor Don Revie's desk, saw his captain sent off for fighting with Kevin Keegan in the Charity Shield at Wembley, and won only one competitive game.
This is the fictionalisation of those catastrophic days, interspersed with Cloughie's early days in management: from Hartlepools in the third division to Derby County, the First Division Championship and a European Cup Semi-Final. In these happier days there are startling achievements and the beginning of a legend: the national acclaim, the players at Derby willing to go on strike to have him re-instated as manager, the hard work and the spending. But in the backdrop Cloughie's demons lurk: the alcohol and the paranoia, the determination and the arrogance; the obsession and the tragedy. In focusing the story directly on Clough himself, David Peace is able to recreate the claustrophobic paranoia and desperation of the man himself; through detailed research he has created a novel which brings back to life a legend the like of whom will not be seen again.Read more ›
David Peace has written five previous novels and he takes his central themes - sleaze, corruption, Yorkshire, class conflict, man management - in a new direction in this fictionalization of the early career of Brian Clough.
Nobody comes out well. Not the players, not the Boards, not the clubs and certainly not Brian Clough. Cloughie is portrayed as a dogmatic, confrontational and deceitful man, bent on gaining power and money at any cost. This is put into relief through the interior monologue in Cloughie's head. Peace revisits the use of repetition and mantra to bring out the paranoia - a style that he has already made his own. The pace is breathless and, as with the award-winning GB84 (Peace's award winning portrayal of the miners' strike), the inevitable end is still eagerly awaited.
The themes of alcohol and bungs are still grabbing the headlines today. But what The Damned Utd brought to life for me was the politicking of a football club. In public, clubs and teams are portrayed as matey, friendly organizations united in their struggle against their opponents. Here, we see the divisions within dressing rooms and boardrooms. We see football clubs as companies with structures and administration and rules. We see the role played by coaches and assistants. We see the backstabbing and betrayal. We see the glue that holds it all together. And the manager seems to be some way down in the pecking order, even a manager is as grand as Cloughie.
I guess most people who read the novel will have an interest in football - and probably some personal interest in Leeds Utd, Derby County or Brian Clough. But there is so much more to this astonishing novel. [...] You really just need an interest in human spirit at its very worst.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was a chore to read. It reminded me of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, in that I was expecting a brilliant book based on all the glowingly positive reviews, but... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mr. C. Blyth
Having seen the film, was interested to read the book. Enjoyed it, but not sure how true it really was.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is BRILLIANT, one of the best books I have ever read, in fact. Not that it IS fact, it's no more factual than Shakespeare's Henry V
is accurate history, but it makes for... Read more
Superb from start to finish. Compelling look into one of the most infamous managerial stints in the history of the sport.Published 14 months ago by Thomas Willoughby
Great read and points the way to discovering interesting characters and subplots from football in the 60's and 70's. Read morePublished 16 months ago by noggy1810