Top critical review
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A revealing insight into international football during the 1950s.
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.