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on 7 August 2014
Let's start with a bit of honesty.

I'm a 51 year old man, so I've seen Liverpool Football club win loads of trophies. I remember, clearly, the look on Alec Lindsay's face when the referee disallowed what would have been the and his, perfectly valid and quite brilliant, opening goal in the FA Cup Final 40 years ago. His furrowed face, his staring eyes, screamed disbelief, anger, profanity. He'd found new genealogical details about the Ref's ancestors, and relayed this information to the Guinness-socked eejit. Didn't matter. We hammered them, and we kept on hammering them and others for another 25-odd years.

... after which there were scraps at the table rather than feasts. In my view, nothing, not even Istanbul, is better than winning the Football League (which is what I still call it, like the European Cup is the European Cup). So, as brilliant as last season's football was, the last thing I wanted to do was read about the cruellest of near misses. But I'd listened to the two main authors of this book in their excellent weekly podcast, The Anfield Wrap, over the past two seasons and I liked the cut of their collective jib, so I felt I had a tiny bit of aural loyalty to cash in. So in I cashed, a couple of weeks after Luis Suarez, the totem on the top of the pole, left us to wind down his career elsewhere. He's misguided in more ways than one then, obviously. But his leaving appears in the short term at least to harm us as well as him, so the gloom of last season deepened a little more and the foreboding about the new season increased.

So, I read the book over a couple of days.

Wow.

As football fans, we know that the match isn't just the match. Our disinterested wives, or husbands, or insignificant others make this mistake, and it's an easy mistake to make. The match is not just the match. This book does not tell us one iota about how I felt when we hammered Spurs and Manchester United away and Arsenal and Everton at home. It tells us nothing about how you felt in the run up to any match or how you coped afterwards. It tells us, eulogistically, how the authors and co-authors lived THEIR lives around this past season, how the dandy coat of the players and manager of Liverpool Football Club made each of them and the city of Liverpool itself strut through 8 months of their lives. Not just the match, because the match is never, ever, just the match.

More than anything, it is never mean. It is never snide. There is no blame, because these lads on the pitch didn't deserve any blame, least of all the magnificent Captain. My Captain.

Our Captain.

This is a magnificent book about football, but a better, much better, book about people. I'd urge you to buy a copy.

For no extra charge the space cowboy will make you smile.
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on 11 August 2014
As a regular listener to the anfield wrap, I had a preconceived idea about what this book would be like and it certainly did not let me down. A fabulous and heartbreaking season wonderfully described. The writing, while personal, represents the thoughts and feelings of Liverpool fans worldwide. As a Liverpool season ticket holder, I shared both their joy and their heartache but as an anfield wrap listener, I marvelled in their descriptions and sentiments.

A huge well done to Neil, John and all concerned and I look forward to the sequel - Dreams Come True : Champions Again.

Stephen McCann
(@stephenmccann)
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on 22 August 2014
If there was one inevitability that would occur in the wake of Liverpool Football Club’s extraordinary and dramatic 2013-14 season, it was that much would be written about that season even before the next season began. Whilst accepting that inevitability it is unfortunate that two different authors chose exactly the same title for their books. Presumably neither the authors nor their Publishers knew about this or, if they did, neither was prepared to choose a different title ? “Make Us Dream” is the wording on a well-known banner displayed on the famous Spion Kop at Liverpool home matches (and other places). It … and “We Go Again”, the title of another book recently written about this same season by Liverpool Way editor David Usher … became a sort of rallying cry as the club’s bid to become English champions for the first time since 1990 reached its peak.

It is unfair to compare Neil Atkinson and John Gibbons’ “Make Us Dream” with the book that has the same title by Neil Collins. Yes, people who have read both are bound to compare them but each deserves to be treated on its own merits. Neil and John can rightly be described as co-authors of this book because both have made significant contributions to it. But they have generously allowed other competent writers to add their own thoughts in the same way that Paul Tomkins did in his 2013 book “These Turbulent Times”. Neil and John have much in common with Paul Tomkins anyway. The latter began writing for the club’s official website in 2005 and this led to the birth four years later of The Tomkins Times, a subscription-based online forum or sounding-board for discussing and dissecting the club’s business on and off the field which continued to grow and flourish. Messrs. Atkinson and Gibbons have been heavily involved with their equivalent of The Tomkins Times, The Anfield Wrap, a similar sounding-board that continues to grow and is visited in large numbers by those who share their devotion to the football club and also share in its dreams for a happy and successful future.

All forty-three competitive matches are covered in a tidy chronological order with Neil keen to point out that he has collected a set of match-reviews not match-reports. He is right to do so because the reviews in this book cover much more than you would find in a conventional match-report in a newspaper or magazine. They give the bare facts of each match yes but these are supplemented by the insightful personal thoughts and feelings of the authors as they enjoy a roller-coaster ride that gathers momentum through the winter and spring months. Neil demands that we “look at this, this red lava streaming down the mountain, enveloping everything in its path from a volcano so many thought had fallen dormant”. Perhaps that is the key to the whole enterprise. This journey was as thrilling as it was unexpected because not for a long time had the club been involved in a challenge for the English title right up to and including the final round of fixtures. As Ben Smith aptly puts it in his foreword, L.F.C. has again become “a football club ready to create new history”, a club no longer held back by its past.

There are many heroes but few villains in this heroic tale of a group of young men who nearly pulled off a quite astonishing feat. Even though he would make dreadful errors in successive away matches at The Hawthorns and Craven Cottage, Kolo Touré was an early believer in what could be achieved by the squad he had just joined. As a previous Premier League winner with both Arsenal and Manchester City “the Ivorian knew what the business was about and spread, through word and deed, the idea that the business could be done”. One of the major pluses during the season and especially during the exciting run-in was watching the progress of Raheem Sterling whose remarkable form belied the fact that at the end of the season he still had several months of his teenage years to live through. When Everton were blown away at Anfield at the end of January Sterling was “barely recognisable from the player who had struggled so badly at Hull less than two months earlier”.

Both Neil and John discuss the stress a dedicated football supporter goes through, especially when it really does look as if the dream is going to come true. Six of the club’s last seven fixtures of the season were played on a Sunday afternoon with other results crucial to the dream taking place on the previous day. “Having to put ourselves through it all over again after an agonising Saturday where we hadn’t even played” is John’s way of describing the mental torture a real fan goes through.

In the end a valiant bid falls just short. When did Hope turn into Belief ? In Kate Forrester’s words “the derby was the point at which our expectations and hopes had begun to properly change”. In the next home match (Arsenal) Ben McCausland witnessed not just “the best twenty minutes of football I have ever seen” but “the best twenty minutes of anything I have ever seen”. Despite the pain of seeing the dream crushed right at the end, our co-authors react with pride and optimism about what all Liverpool supporters lived through during these extraordinary nine months : “This was the most fun you have had in your whole life” (John) would be echoed by a generation of match-going Reds who still await the consistent collection of titles that the previous generation witnessed. Neil, however, doesn’t want to get off the roller-coaster, so thrilled has he been by the ride : “I need it not to stop. It can’t stop. It can’t be allowed to stop” is included in his heartfelt closing lines. “When everyone is together sheer defiance can sometimes be enough” (John). It wasn’t quite enough to take the big prize that was on offer but the collective defiance shown by the whole playing-squad, the entire fan-base and a quiet but very focused manager and his coaches made it clear that nobody wants to look back on this season with anything but great pride and happiness. “Make Us Dream” is a beautifully-written book and it deserves the acclaim it will definitely receive in literary and sporting circles.
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on 28 July 2014
Absolutely brilliant!! -

I think it will take me years to get over the emotions of last season, but this book was a massive step in the right direction and hopefully my rehabilitation. The subject matter is one close to my heart as I participated as much as anyone in the highs and lows described in this brilliant depiction of what supporting Liverpool was like last season. The building belief throughout the season - and the tiny margins that ultimately determined the destiny of the league title - told through the lens of normal matchgoing lads and girls. The core protagonists of this book broadcast regularly on the subjects directly and indirectly associated with supporting England's most successful football team, so the quality of the content is no surprise. What was a surprise is how well it transported me back to the season just ended. Not just the seat in the stadium, but the anxious mornings trying to stomach a matchday breakfast. The mid and post-match release of euphoria. The spectacular pre-match welcome of the home coach. The post-match parties that lit up the city.
This multiple point of view travelogue of one of the most memorable season's in most Liverpool fan's adult lives reminds of the joy that last year brought. It also provides brilliant context to the crushing disappointment in the closing fortnight of the season. I have been incapable of watching a season review fully yet as the emotions are still a little raw - 'Make Us Dream' enabled me to relive the most enjoyable season of my adult match-going life. Apart from the main authors' contributions added colour comes in the form of testimony from Martin Fitzgerald, Gareth Roberts, Kate Forrester, Ben McCausland, Phil Blundell and Mike Nevin. All providing unique perspectives on this remarkable term.

The book captures for me the thing that I have found most difficult to articulate this summer, that the tears shed this season were of course linked to the disappointment of failing to bring home the first League title since 1990, but equally so they were tears of pride. These lads made us dream - and I'd rather have another 50 seasons like last year than another one where top 6 is the limit that you permit yourself to hope for.

The book is published in chronological order and as a consequence - it works as a linear narrative but you can easily dip in and out like a reference book - picking crucial games and digesting as bit sized chunks. A brilliant book and worthy of your time as well as your cash!
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on 6 September 2014
Been a fan of TAW since the 2010 season. Thanks to them my knowledge of LFC and football in general has grown. They've made me think deferentially about how football was and is.
Both Neil & John strike you as people you want to chat football with. You just want to chat football with for hours. I've got many a Liverpool Fc book on my kindle, never get round to finishing them for many a reasons. However this book just draws you back to reading it even though you know the twist at the end!
It's great because a new chapter begins, and you're trying to guess who's wrote it from their writing style. Love that about the book.
I've now finished the book, and Amazon has just asked me to rate it out of 5 stars. I gave it 4 because it's what i gave Liverpool Football club last season. The only thing that would of made this book 5 stars, would of been some lovely photos so you could of relived last season .
Here's to the tricky follow up book of 2014/15 season.
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on 13 May 2015
Liverpool's 2013/14 team scaled the heights of greatness, defying convention and blitzing teams seemingly at will but ultimately falling agonisingly short at the final hurdle. This story of the 2013/14 season from Neil Atkinson and John Gibbons gives a supporter's perspective of the season's journey from pre-season through to the glorious charge for the title. The writing is superb and gloriously captures the mood in the stands and in the city as the season progresses. There is also real football insight, the writers offer intelligent analysis of the football and provide perceptive comment on the modern game. This book transports you back to the season when Liverpool made us dream again and anything seemed possible!

5 Stars!
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on 22 August 2014
If you are a red you may be familiar with the magnificent podcast The Anfield Wrap- if not familiar with it, get on it, it is THE best LFC commentary out there.

TAW's Neil Atkinson & John Gibbons have written a book, a book unlike any season review you will have read or seen. It is (largely) Neil & John's journey/adventure put into words. Not boring words. Don't expect an overload of facts and figures, formations or how many folk attended the game.

Reds around the world will take pleasure in going the game(s) again & revisiting the maddest season through these brilliant writers words & experiences.
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on 9 July 2015
Loved it! Totally captures the emotional highs and lows of the most exciting and dynamic Liverpool team that I've seen in my lifetime. As someone in my 20s I've sadly never seen the reds win the league so quite an interesting perspective and contrast of opinions compared to some of the guys writing who were used to Liverpool always following through in the 80s. A must for any Liverpool fan, though hindsight of a disastrous 2014/15 adds an interesting spin and brings us back down to earth a bit. One that I'll surely read again. We are Liverpool, tra-la-la-la-la!
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on 28 August 2014
Best football book I've ever read. This book will make you laugh, frown, smile, get tearful and finally realise what an amazing season 2013/2014 was.
Gives a fans insight to every game, not only into the game and what happened, but into the city and what it was like to live in Liverpool.
Some brilliant bits, and I don't want to spoil them. But the liking of a football manager to a b&b owner in the Lakes is hilarious.
Buy it. Buy extra copies. Give them to all your mates. Give them to random people on the streets.
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on 13 August 2014
I've been listening to The Anfield Wrap podcast since it started and the authors have taken much of the enthusiasm, intellect and insight they regularly display on there and added to it in this brilliant series of match reviews, debates and discussions around Liverpool's magical season which saw them so close to winning the league title. I cannot recommend this book highly enough to any fellow Liverpool fan - supporters of other teams should buy it too, just to see what they are missing!
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