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Lows, Highs and Balti Pies: Manchester City Ruined My Diet (100 Greats S.) Paperback – 24 Oct 2011
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Couldn't put it down till I'd read it from beginning to end. Loved it. -- King of the Kippax, Manchester City fanzine, December '04
If you're looking for a good read, nostalgic, funny and passionate, then this is the book for you. -- City til I Cry!, Manchester City fanzine, December '04
Lows, Highs and Balti Pies comprises vivid, colourful and highly individual recollections of City's most memorable games over the past 37 years. One hundred matches are featured, starting with a 5-2 drubbing of Sheffield United in 1967 and ending with the 4-1 triumph in the first derby at the cursed City of Manchester Stadium. Not all of the games in between provided quite as much pleasure. The book contains affectionate portraits of the City greats down the years, together with forthright appraisals on the rich assortment of blundering buffoons which the club has seen fit to inflict upon its famously loyal supporters. However, even when describing the club's darkest moments and the individuals responsible for them, humour is never far away - be it biting, dry, self-deprecating or just plain daft. This approach captures perfectly the essence of what it is to be a City fan. The book also embraces diverse elements of popular culture over the period. Musical reference points abound, whilst the likes of Sid Waddell, Curly Watts, Ian Hislop, Tony the Tiger and Cyanide Sid Cooper all somehow find themselves featuring in the story. And how the hell did Albert Pierrepoint get in there?The games chosen generally present a balanced picture of the club's ups and downs over the years but - even in the interests of fair-mindedness - the author can't bring himself to include any of the numerous defeats suffered at the hands of Manchester United. After reading the book, you'll understand why. When it comes to United, we are not dealing with a fair-minded man. All long-term followers of football causes will be well familiar with the emotional peaks and troughs described so strikingly in this book. Most, like the author, will have experienced more troughs than peaks. But it's the range of imaginative, often scarcely credible, ways in which City have brought both highs and lows into the lives of their fans which truly sets them apart. It's a remarkable story, vibrantly and entertainingly told.
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If you're an avid fan of the other manchester club or a relation of Alex Ferguson... Avoid!
The author is a passionate and knowledgeable blue and I was so taken by the format 100 matches from the 60's until the move to Com's interspersed with great anecdotes that I had to finish it in a day!
The author strikes me as the sort of person who would think it was 'funny' to send a load of bacon-themed spoof letters to the handsome young editor of a weekly pensions magazine in an elaborate 'sting'. And it should be clear that this is NOT FUNNY. Not at all.
The grim determinism that drives the author forward sets him apart from other men- this book is an attempt to reach out from the other side of the mirror.
Steve Mingle gives us a perverse tour of the world he wants us to see, a world dominated by the precious images of Colin Bell and Georgy Kinkladsky. We see odd glimpses of the author's other life- schoolboy,student,actuary - but any sense that this is a schlock autobiography in the Hornby tradition goes out the window as we are bamboozled again and again by our knowing host.
To call this self obsessed post modernism would be to go too far but it's got a bit of Naborkov in it and the author certainly comes accross as an over-intelligent loser with Curtisian tendencies.
The book's failing is in its ending which is tepid. You really want something to happen to end this grim reiteration of 100 farcical matches ,spread over 45 years. Perhaps the mortality tables could project the number of sequels to come (at the current rate I calculate about 1.1). If we are due another dose in 2049, I sincerely hope that some kind of spiritual enlightenment can visit itself upon Mr Mingle to make better use of his undoubted talents