I had a bad feeling about this book from the early pages. Quite simply, it was full of fluff and hyperbole which basically add up to padding. And, for the most part, that's how the book continued through to its end. I can only assume this diasppointing outcome is because although the manager is an interesting character in the evolution of professional soccer, there really isn't that much 'story' to tell. It also makes me think that (a) the publisher pressed author Ronay to fill 283 pages to make the book seem more substantial than it is, and/or (b) the author is simply in love with the 'sound' of his own words :O He never opts to give one description to make a point when he can give three in rapid succession - which he does time and time again. If the book's content were truly substantial, he wouldn't need to do that. He would get to the point, make it and move on. And, beyond the literary crimes just described, Ronay commits the cardinal sins of providing background information that is completely wrong! Just two examples: He states that Alec Stock used to manage Arsenal. He never did! He also claims that after being sacked by Derby, manager Brian Clough bought a ticket to attend the next home game at ... the City Ground! That stadium, of course, belongs to Nottingham Forest. Clough bought a ticket to enter the Baseball ground! Dear, oh dear!
I thought that this was going to be a very good read,but I became incredibly bogged down. The bits about the managers and their idiosynchratic behaviour including the managers who wanted a fight with their squad, but too often the author travelled down paths of flannel and literate eloquence that somehow did not feel part of the story. A cynical and distorted look at football management might have been a better title for the book. Like the other reviewer I found that the author seemed to have been encouraged to stretch the boo to as many pages as possible, and long before the end I longed for the tale to end, though the author should be congratulated on the amount of research that he had undertaken, and a glossary of source books would have been beneficial.