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Great player - not so great writer
on 29 August 2010
Bobby Charlton was a true footballing legend during his United and England years. This book covers the former only and as his world cup triumph gains only the briefest of mentions in this - you'll have to buy the other book for more on `66.
Starting with the Munch air disaster, the tragedy that was to affect him and the team so much, we are then told of his early years in a close knit North-East family with his mother and Uncle Jackie (Milburn) being the main influences. We then soon get into the nitty gritty of his United career.
To be honest as with most sporting autobiographies, I didn't find this a very involving or provocative read. Apart from certain games and goals, Charlton speaks in generalisations rather than specifics. The playing chapters flit back and forth so you're often confused as to which period/season he is referring too and big gaps are often left. A stronger timeline may have made it a more solid book. He does not go into any great depth about family or professional relationships (he takes a whole chapter to basically say Jack and his mother did not get on with his wife) and we are left none the wiser as to the chemistry between him, Best and Law although the clumsy Nobby Stiles' antics provide rare moments of humour. He only hints at a none too warm relationship with both but again we don't know for certain and too many pages say too little.
There's some good Bobby stats at the end and excellent photos (in the hardback edition at least) and if you're a Reds fan you'll enjoy this but he comes across as a man who you wouldn't want to be stuck in a lift with for too long with so it was not great for me.
(Millwall, in case you were wondering, though I have a lot of time for Man U on the quiet).