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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

on 21 September 2013
This is both a revealing and inspirational book about the first England Team Manager. The book is rich with anecdotes of his hardscrabble youth in Oldham, Lancashire and the adversity he faced and overcame. It is written with sharp insight into his innovative coaching methods and weaves in the history and dynamics of both both English football and the growing international football scene after WW2. It skillfully reveals just how aware Walter Winterbottom was of the rapidly developing game of football in Europe and Latin America and how essential it was for England to adapt-which he achieved under the challenging circumstances of an entrenched bureaucracy at the time.

Each chapter is introduced with an inspirational quote that sets the tone for the chapter and Graham Morse writes in such a way that the book reads like a page turning novel filled with anecdotal stories that transport you to the time and place. This way of writing brings to life the early days of the modern era of football and how Walter Winterbottom helped to pioneer the game that we watch today. Walter applied a focused, flexible and dynamic leadership style that played an essential part in the England 1966 World Cup victory. The book brings at long last light (at least to the wider public) his great contribution as the FA director of coaching and it's positive affect on modern coaching as we know today.

Graham Morse has crafted in this book a stylish and fascinating investigation into one of the key figures in the history of football. Walter Winterbottom's contribution to the game of football continues to inspire today.
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on 30 May 2013
I bought this book because I knew very little about Walter Winterbottom and international football during that era. Managers to-day must be amazed that anyone could stay in such a job for sixteen years without achieving any significant degree of success. As the author pointed out, Walter appreciated the value of cultivating the right contacts.
Although not fully responsible for picking the team, it was interesting to learn that Walter was keen to keep the same players together, regardless of form, to provide the core of the England team. It appears that the selectors at that time simply picked the best players for each position regardless of compatibility. It must have been a nightmare trying to get them to play together. This was a strategy employed more recently with England's 'golden generation' with about the same degree of success.
Sir Walter was obviously a shrewd and talented man, however, after reading this book I was left with the feeling that, with the talent available at that time, had the FA adopted a more rational approach to team selection and employed a more disciplinary style of management, England might have won the world cup a couple of times during that period.
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on 8 May 2016
This was an excellent biography, highly readable, and never getting entwined in the minutiae of matches or events. It illustrates the incredible influence that Walter Winterbottom had on the development of football in this country. Perhaps the most memorable quote and one that must have struck home to managers in the 50's was the opposition to fitness training involving running round the field innumerable times' snooker player does train walking round the table
The book shows the reactionary approach of the powers that be in the hierarchy of football management, now referred as the men in suits. Walter Winterbottom would have a lot to say about the game today, I wonder what his thoughts would be on astronomical wages that are now paid and the lack of development of home grown talent..
This is an excellent book to read if you want to see the ups and downs of the development of the modern game, and the problems that go with that sometimes uphill struggle
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on 7 October 2013
As an FA Staff Coach Walter was my mentor It was great to read of so many stories of the times that I spent with him at the Lilleshall Coaching Centre and attending European Coaching Conferences in Germany.
It brought back so many good memories with him and the other great Staff Coaches, Ron Greenwood, George Smith, George Ainsley, Billy Wright, George Curtis of that time.
Congratulations to Graham Morse on such a well written book and for all the stories and facts of Walters life that I was not aware.
Walter was a great person and it was a tragedy that he was not appointed as the FA Secretary when Sir Stanley Rous retired.'
I will always be grateful to Walter for he taught me a Football World of Coaching that has given me a long and wonderful Coaching /Managing career.
His friendship and guidance will always be appreciated
Thank you again Graham Morse for bringing Walters story to us all.
Gordon Jago M.B.E.
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on 10 August 2013
A great insight into the man who revolutionised English football, both as the England team manager and as the FA Director of Coaching.

Walter Winterbottom's influence on English football coaching cannot be underestimated, he spawned a generation of coaches that included future England managers.

He also pioneered England's involvement in World Cup football taking the team to four tournaments, a figure that is very unlikely to be matched in the future.

His career after he left the FA is also covered by the book, including his impact in the development of "Sport for All" in the UK.
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on 18 April 2013
A truly insightful portrait of a man very few know about today, but has had a huge influence in the way football is now coached. Winterbottom coached all the stars of his time yet never let his status get to him. A man of immense modesty who created the blueprint for football coaching and as a sports administrator laid the foundations for many many sports that is still bearing fruit today. A compelling read; you can't believe the battles with bureaucracy that Winterbottom had to face, but somehow he came out on top. The man was an inspiration and truly ahead of his time.
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on 28 May 2013
This book achieves something rare. It actually inspires you to go and do things. Like the great coach Walter Winterbottom himself, it somehow encourages you to have more faith in yourself. It is lovingly compiled, straightforward and honest and for those qualities it is the most valuable representation of and the most authentic tribute to a very special man. In our modern world measured by material success, this story is about succeeding in becoming of value by having a value for others. Walter Winterbottom set such a wonderful example and pattern to follow that he is truly an archetype, but at the same time like all great figures in history, he stands quietly apart, absolutely unique.
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on 19 August 2013
I am aware that the research that went into the book reads like a 'who's who' of the football world (characters past and present).The book clearly shows the exact worth of that and the author's work - it is a great insight into bygone days and the impact on the football world today. Whilst many fans may question some of the principles of the modern game, the book is a marvellous view on a character who may not have created the controversial waves so sought by the modern media, but SWW was a true innovator and we still have much to thank him for. Book is highly recommended.
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on 31 March 2016
An excellent tribute to a prophet, now sadly without honour in his own country.
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on 27 April 2013
A fascinating portrait of Winterbottom and history of the game. Not only was he the longest serving England team manager (1946 - 62) but simultaneously he held the post of the FA's Director of Coaching for the whole country! He overcame arcane English football bureaucracy and influenced the entire game, as well as many great players and coaches ...Bobby Charlton, Stanley Matthews, Don Howe, Bobby Robson to name just a few. I was on the edge of my seat re-living many of the wins, losses and dramas of Winterbottom's day! It's a well written biography and a delightful history of the game.
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