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My England Years: The Autobiography Hardcover – 18 Sep 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Headline; First Edition First Print edition (18 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755316215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755316212
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.6 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 561,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Hailed as one of the best football autobiographies ever... If you love the beautiful game, this is unmissable' (Daily Mail)

'Compelling...beautifully co-authored' (Leo McKinstry, Sunday Telegraph)

'As in volume one, the combination of Charlton's story and the work of James Lawton is unstoppable' (Sunday Times)

'That the book doesn't quite live up to My United Years isn't a criticism - that it almost reaches the same heights is a sign of just how good a follow-up it is' (FourFourTwo)

Book Description

The second volume of the most sought-after sports book of all time now available from Headline

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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Although this is the second part of Bobby Charltons autobiography, it would be more accurate to think of it as being Bobby Charltons biography of the England football team from 1958, when he made his debut, to 1970, when he played his final England game, in the cruel defeat to West Germany in the Mexico World Cup.

As most of his autobiographical details were dealt with in the first book, the Manchester United Years, this book is almost totally devoted to football and there is very little of Bobby Charlton the man (as opposed to Bobby Charlton the footballer) in it. This is not meant as a critism because, like the first one, this is an excellent book.

It is largely forgotten now but fifty years ago the England football team was in a bit of the mess. At one stage - between 1958 & 1959 - they only won one game in eleven, and that was against an extremely weak USA team. As this book explains, the then manager, Walter Winterbottom, tried his best to build a winning team but he had an impossible task because in those days the England manager had very limited powers, having to refer most things, even team selection, to an FA committee. It was only after the arrival of the single-minded Alf Ramsey, in 1963, that things started to change for the better.

Being an integral part of Ramseys team (even if Sir Alf made sure that Charlton was aware that not even his place in the team was guaranteed)Bobby Charlton was well placed to cast judgement on his role in turning England into World Champions in 1966. He explains that to win the World Cup, Ramsey built a team containing not the eleven best English players but instead the eleven players who one do the best job as a TEAM.
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Format: Hardcover
The original "United Years" did not leave much to be desired as an extraordinary account of the life an extraordinary man. However, the "England Years" proved to be just as compelling and interesting, the book provides the fascinating insight of a hugely influential player on a volatile period of English football and really shouldn't be missed. A great read for any sports fan.
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Format: Hardcover
Nothing annoys me more than sports men and women writing their autobiography's after some brief initial success before disappearing into the abyss of the unsustainables...... Bobby Charlton 'scores' again firstly by employing an award winning ghost writer making the reading a real pleasure but also by having enough great stories to tell having had long and eventful sporting life. This book, as the cover suggests, chronicles Mr. Charlton's England career. The book is also not without humour and without spoiling it for you, his first confrontation with Pele is laugh out loud funny!
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Format: Hardcover
A year after the publication of Bobby Charlton's outstanding `My Manchester United Years' comes volume two - concerning his England career, which spanned 106 caps and an unprecedented four World Cup Finals.

No living player is better qualified to write about their experiences with England than Charlton, whose time in an England shirt spanned from the monochrome era of Tom Finney to that of Peter Shilton (whom even I, a thirty year old, recall as an England player).

The problem with it, particularly in the pre-Ramsey years, is that too little material is stretched out. Most other players combine their club and international volumes into a single volume. The length of Charlton's England career allows him to do two books - but in the context of a player's career, 106 games is the equivalent of a couple of seasons. It would be a bit like David Beckham writing `My LA Galaxy Years' in forty years time.

There is also a sense that he plays up to his status as the grand old man of English football. And who could blame him? He has, after all, won everything there is to be won in a career marked with courage, dignity and distinction. But the tone can seem fogeyish and at worst rambling, inane, and not true to Bobby Charlton's voice. After all, could you imagine him saying the following passage?

"Perhaps he decided that in this new world of football, of changing formations and the clearest evidence that in terms of ball skills and tactical subtleties many rival nations had passed us by, we need, as another embattled public figure, Prime Minister John Major, would later say `to get back to basics'."

Fortunately, most of the rest of the book isn't as horribly written as this, and by the time Alf Ramsey comes on board this volume hits full pace.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the second part of Sir Bobby Charlton's fascinating autobiography. In the first, "My Manchester United Years", he provided a lot of moving personal insight into, for example, his trauma post-Munich air disaster, how the club dealt with the other surviving players and their families, and his, at times, difficult relationship with his mother and brother. In other words it was a personally revealing book. This second part, by comparison, is in many ways more typical of a footballer's autobiography, focusing on match details and brief, albeit personal, pen pictures of the characters involved. For regular consumers of books covering this era of football there is little new or surprising here.

Despite this, the book is well-written, thoughful and informative. Here this great footballer leaves aside the pain and angst of Munich and transmits something of the sheer quality and competitiveness of football at the highest level. His convictions about teamwork are clear and here you feel is where he was most comfortable, immersed in what he did best alongside others of the same kind, where the only questions were how to play and how to win.

Finally, there are some striking glances into just how accessible top footballers used to be. For example, this most famous of Englishmen popped out to do some shopping on the morning of playing in the World Cup Final, in the capital city of his own country. I can vouch for this as I once wandered up his front drive, after he was a World and European Cup winner, and while he was hoovering the inside of his car I had a chat and obtained an autograph. For anyone who grew up watching Sir Bobby and remembers the era when he was simply the best English player alive then this book is a must-buy complement to volume one.
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