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Duncan Edwards: The Greatest (MUFC) Hardcover – 24 May 2012
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About the Author
James Leighton lives in Cardiff. Following a legal career, he became a full-time writer. Having played football at a semi-professional level, followed by a spell coaching in America, he continues to watch sport at all levels. He is the author of several books on football, including Duncan Edwards: The Greatest
Top customer reviews
"Without any past we have no present, without any present we have no future" - and so it is that any Football Club's History & Tradition in these days of Footballing multi-millionaires, WAGS, ostentatious Mansions/Cars and egomaniacal parasitic Owners now more than ever we need to be remember, seek out and remind ourselves what Football is really about. Where it all started. How it got here.
My deep love for Manchester United and the Sport of Football itself has been sorely tested by my own Club and many other Clubs in the last decade or so, and this is why reaching back into Manchester United - Football's - history is now more than ever so important if that Love for the Beautiful Game is to remain unsullied or diluted.
This fine Book maintains superbly well the tradition of Writer-Historians reaching back into what seems like another world to remind us how The Beautiful Game came to have such a moniker attached to it in the first place.
Life for people like Duncan Edwards and their class was tough back in the mid-1900's - we rarely think how good we have it by comparison - but James' book transports the reader back utterly convincingly to the period into which Duncan Edwards was born, grew up and played his way to becoming a Manchester United Player & Legend as well as an England International.
In the same way that I didn't have to be a Horse Racing fan to be captivated by Laura Hillenbrand's "Seabiscuit" so it is that you don't have to be a Manchester United Fan - or even a fan of Football (though it might help!) - to enjoy James Leighton's excellent Book.
I knew much about Duncan Edwards as I had sought out information on the almost mythological status of this particular Player who died along with many other talented Team-mates and Journalists that fateful, terrible snowy night in Munich - but even so James' book enlightened & informed me hugely - partly thru his obviously diligent & exhaustive research, but also through his very apparent talents as a Writer.
EVERY Manchester United Fan - from Manchester to Mandalay - should see it as their duty as well as a labour of love to read this Book and acquaint themselves with a Man and a truly gifted Football Player with the World quite literally at his feet and by global common consent at the time was destined to become one of the Greatest Football Players OF all-time.
Manchester United Football Club transcends Football - such is it's status inside & outside the game around the World. This is in no small part due to it's History, it's Achievements, the calibre and class of it's Players & Managers, the Munich Air Disaster, it's Footballing prowess ethos & values, it's innately Dramatic modus operandi almost - and Duncan Edwards is a key key figure in all these regards.
James Leighton's book captures & shares all of this brilliantly.
Duncan Edwards - The Greatest was recently shortlisted for 2012 William Hill Sports Book Of The Year.
I, for one, have only seen Duncan Edwards's play in a few minutes of grainy black & white news footage and whilst that allowed me a glimpse of his playing ability what it didn't allow me to witness were Duncan's other qualities and, as this book so tells us, it is these other qualities that sets him apart from any other player, before or after. He may have only been a boy of 16 when he made his Manchester United debut but even then he displayed the maturity of a man many years his senior. He was built like a brick wall too; as his career progressed some claimed that he was overweight but they were wrong, Edwards was solid muscle and he certainly knew how to use it although some of his challenges could be a little too robust and would earn him many a red card these days. Author James Leighton argues though that the quality that could possibly earn him the title "the greatest" was his ability to not just be able to play in defence, midfield or attack but to be outstanding in every one of them, something that could be said about no other player.
James Leighton paints a vivid portrait of a player who is still greatly mourned, even by those who weren't born when he passed away. They mourn a fine young man that Leighton tells us was completed unaffected by fame, happier playing football with the neighbourhood kids than boozing in night clubs and was completely devoted to his family and his sweetheart, Molly. They also mourn the things that we were denied when Edwards was taken away from us at such an early age. Would have become even better with age and experience? With Edwards in the England team could we have been celebrating a hat-trick of World Cup wins in 1966, with Duncan lifting the trophy as captain at Wembley?
These are questions that we will never know the answers to, but after reading this fine book you will surely believe that answers would almost certainly be yes.
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