Top positive review
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The best book I've read on football in 20 years.
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.
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.
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.