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Paddy Crerand: Never Turn the Other Cheek Hardcover – 3 Sep 2007
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Book of the week in the Independent.
'An insightful portrayal of life at Old Trafford…Crerand deserves enormous credit for being so candid throughout much of his book.' 442 Magazine
From the Inside Flap
Paddy Crerand was one of post-war football's most fiery characters, a combatant midfielder famed for his tough tackling in the colours of Celtic and Manchester United and Scotland from 1957 to 1972.
As a Celtic player in his teens, Crerand had to play in the shadow of a dominant Rangers team. At Manchester United, however, he enjoyed great success in Sir Matt Busby's post-Munich side, winning two league titles, the FA cup and the European Cup, and playing alongside the likes of George Best, Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and Nobby Stiles.
Crerand was born into an Irish Catholic family amid the squalor and crime-infested streets of Glasgow's 1940s Gorbals. He was determined to escape from this harsh environment - a period of family tragedy, religious bigotry and unforgiving twelve-hour shifts at the Clyde shipyard - to fulfil a dream. It was Celtic who gave him his chance.
In his own punchy style, Crerand reveals the full truth about the formidable Jock Sein, his controversial friendship with the hard-drinking Protestant Rangers star 'Slim' Jim Baxter and the legendary Bill Shankly, what it was like to be Best's minder and Busby's confidant at Old Trafford, and his passionate involvement in Irish nationalist politics.
Never Turn the Other Cheek is an extraordinary story of real football and real characters. It is told from the perspective of someone whose informed opinion on Celtic, Manchester United and football in general is as relevant today as it was forty years ago.See all Product description
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His playing career at United spanned from 1963 to 1976, so he was a major part of United`s greatest triumph, the 1968 European Cup wins and rapid decline into the then Second Division in the Seventies. The nearest recent equivalent is Roy Keane.(Pause for the implications to sink in)
Paddy was born of Irish descent in the tough Gorbals area of Glasgow and despite the early loss of his father in an air raid during the war, the religious bigotry and the hardship of the Clyde shipyards, he managed to fight his way into his idolised Celtic team, staying for six years, before the cracks appeared at Parkhead and he was tempted to Old Trafford by Matt Busby, keen to rebuild after the Munich Tragedy of 1958. His time at United during the Sixties is looked upon as a Golden Age as, from midfield, he supplied the ammunition for the Holy Trinity of Charlton,Best and Law as United became the People`s favourite team.
Crerand`s no- nonsense style of play followed him off the field and he tells anecdotes that illustrate that he his more than prepared to support the strength of his convictions with a handily placed fist when needed. Crerand was even manager of Northampton Town for a season 76/77 , but is honest enough to admit that his heart was n`t really in it, and that he felt the transition from player to manager was difficult for him.
For United fans, this is a must-read, and for anyone that is a non-United believer, and a football fan, there is plenty of entertainment to be gleaned from these pages.
Never Turn the Other Cheek, you know Paddy never will.
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