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The Outsider: A History of the Goalkeeper Paperback – 7 Nov 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (7 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409129845
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409129844
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 253,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

From Albert Camus to John Paul II, and all points in between - a superb account of the men who wear different shirts and play be different rules from everybody else. (READERS DIGEST)

A splendid history of the goalkeeper, whose lot has tended to be a thankless one (just ask Joe Hart). Wilson tells tales of violence against goalies, both verbal and physical, along with the burden of psychic stress carried by these singular players (THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Book Description

The first-ever cultural, tactical and historical history of the goalkeeper, by Jonathan Wilson, acclaimed author of INVERTING THE PYRAMID.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jonathan Wilson books follow a pattern, containing a deep forensic examination of his chosen subject demonstrating his powers of analysis, depth and breadth of research, passion, enquiring mind and sheer writing ability.

His study of the history, esoterica and meaning of goalkeeping is no different containing an in-depth historical, philosophical and practical study of how the role of the goalkeeper originated and has developed since the game of football was invented.

He examines, profiles, critiques or interviews the colossuses of the sport from all continents of the world and his descriptions of greats such as Yashin, Zoff, Shilton, Seaman and Buffon never fail to entertain or educate.

Being Wilson he takes detours into tributaries and backwaters of the game with an acute and forensic examination of the battle for the number one position between the two fantastic Cameroon keepers N'kono and Bell and the political sensitivity of their rivalry.

Fans of literature too will have a field day with goalkeeper themed novels from writers as diverse as Camus, Nabokov and Glanville coming under scrutiny.

This is an eclectic masterpiece and anyone who has either been thrilled or stunned at the exploits of a goalkeeper or taken their place between the posts will understand what it means to be a true Outsider and be both entertained, educated and fascinated by this wonderful book.

One tiny quibble - I was a great fan of the Flying Pig, Tommy Lawrence, one of the first sweeper keepers but surely he didn't merit two mentions of Joe Mercer's eulogising quotation about him, sharper sub-editing would have caught that one!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having received the book for Christmas, I quickly turned to the index and scanned the pages for the surname of my goalkeeping hero: Neville Southall. Alas, his name wasn't there, and I immediately started to question the quality and validity of a book about goalkeepers without reference to the best of the lot. I was wrong to do so. Wilson has done a fantastic job, his research taking him all over the world to talk goalkeeping and goalkeepers with good, bad and indifferent custodians. I really enjoyed the chapter on the Cameroon goalkeeping rivalry (Nkono was my favourite keeper in Italia 90), and the chapter on Europe's finest is both brilliantly written and wonderfully informative. Goes one step further than Bob Wilson's excellent 'You've got to be crazy'.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a goalkeeper in my youth, and still a major sympathiser with those last lines of defence, I'm always interested to read anything about them, particularly an analysis so comprehensive about this. The author has clearly done A LOT of research and interviewing in compiling the book, and there are some great stories and pieces of analysis and fascinating theory. The only slight downsides are that occasionally some of the theory can get a bit repetitive - the reasons for coming out and narrowing angles for instance are repeated a number of times it seems - and also there is a tendency in some chapters for a bit of stream of consciousness to take over, with the author going off into other tenuously related stories that would have been better placed elsewhere.

Those points aren't a major annoyance though, and anybody who considers themselves a student of the art of goalkeeping will enjoy this thoroughly.
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Format: Paperback
Jonathan Wilson has the ability to convince you that football is an art form and the breadth of his knowledge about the game is so comprehensive that it sometimes feels like a totally different sport from that which fills the back pages of the tabloids. I found that he previous book "Inverting the pyramid" really made me think differently about the game and perhaps elevated it to a level that was almost scientific. In this recent book he changes tact and charts the iconic nature of goalkeepers and how they have emerged from being mavericks who were alienated from their team mates and considered differently by the fans to commensurate professionals who applied science to their trade as they became more integral in the team as the game modernised.

Personally, I suppose my interest in early football made the accounts of the Victorian goal keepers the most appealing section of the book, especially as a Southampton goalkeeper was identified as a significant figure in the evolution of this position. However, the book then changes direction and considers the role of goalkeepers throughout the world - a chapter on the two Cameroonian 'keepers being particularly interesting. The book is choc-a-bloc with detail as the author discusses the heroes of European football past and present as well as trying to evaluate whether Brazilian and Scottish goalkeepers are quite as poor as their historic reputation would suggest. As the book edges towards more familiar names of the 70's and 80's it is good to compare your own recollection of players with Wilson's assessment especially with regard to Peter Shilton who also wore the No. 1 jersey for Southampton.
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