Top critical review
Only good in parts and some serious weaknesses
on 4 December 2012
This is a strange book and the first half is hard work - with a lot of material about fixing games in Mayalsia and Singapore in the 1980s and 90s - hardly apowerhouse of world soccer! The author revals an ignorance about different types of gambling bets when he is impressed with the range of bets available in Asia - which have been common in Britain for 25 years!
The account of his experience with a Singaporean hooker on pages 163 is totally irrelevant as is the last chapter which has no relevance to the previous 300 pages dealing with fixes - obviously the author did not have a suitable conclusion so decided to insert a parable with a happy ending so we could go forward with hope.
Howver the sections dealing with the Ghana team were well written, well researched, read well and seemed fairly compelling evidence that the team was frequently involved in fixed games - and at the World Cup - and I too remember the strange way they collapsed agaionst Brazil. I am surprised Fifa and authorities have not acted upon this - nothing on Wikipedia about Stephen Appiah's admissions either.
The book is fairly serious but loses credibility and objectivity when the author criticises some of his subjects as 'scumbags'.
A serious topic, a serious approach but sadly the book leaves one wanting more and feeling it is a little flawed - too litle material and at the end of the day only mentions 4 specific World Cup matches that may have been fixed. Beyond that - lots of research but mainly generalisations not hard facts about any specific games.
But Hill is to be commended for his efforts - and for sure there are Asian syndicates trying to influence results. Step forward Bruce Grobbelaar!