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3.6 out of 5 stars
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3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 30 January 2014
I like this guy's style. He has no pretensions about his own abilities, although he obviously has a detailed and esoteric understanding not only of football, but also of how it operates at a local level. Mainly, however, he has written a book which is one of the funniest and most enlightening that I've read for a good while. I read it on a PC, rather than on an actual kindle, and I was frequently nipping back and forwards to re-read bits, etc. It has a good storyline from beginning to end, and is packed with anecdote, jokes and experiences. I particularly enjoyed the last few chapters, which are all about football funnies generally. If you want to be moved, but still enjoy some good belly-laughs, this is the book for you. Buy it!
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on 4 February 2014
A hilarious insight into the trials and tribulations of a football referee. Those of you who vamp their frustrations on the man in black every weekend will surely, in future, have some sympathy towards his decisions (rightly or wrongly) after reading Bastard in Black. Some of the antics in the book make you realise that there is a fun side to the game (albeit sometimes at the referee's expense!). A well written and informative book - a must for all footie fans!!
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on 4 April 2014
Jacklin's anecdotes get off to a storming start, with witty and amusing tales of matches he has officiated (none at top professional level, mind). But this state of affairs unfortunately doesn't last as he runs out of steam around half time - apparently realising that he doesn't have as much material in the memory bank as he initially thought. From here on, we are treated to his observations of school playground football matches, spoof national team lineups and chavmag-style charts. The author curiously adopts a bawdier tone too in these latter sections of padding, as if he's written them whilst under the influence of a few cans of Stella.
The book is certainly like a game of two halves - what a pity this ref apparently can't keep up with the pace of the game and should show himself a red card for his elbow in the face of non-fiction.
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on 17 February 2014
A delightful account of the perils and pitfalls of the referee's trade. Well written and full of humour, the author demonstrates the dedication of those who take up the whistle. Football fans everywhere should take note!
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on 9 February 2014
A great read full of footballing anecdotes told by someone who has experienced all the emotions of our beautiful game .
Anyone who as ever kicked a ball in anger or just for fun will be able to relate to the writers well documented accounts.
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on 31 January 2014
As a Sunday morning ref, I thoroughly enjoyed this read, and can associate with some of the tales. Well written with a comic twist, I found the book hard to put down once started. Love the stories and I will be recommending the book to friends
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on 6 February 2014
As the book progresses from kick off to final whistle the BASTARD IN BLACK transforms into a likeable , amusing and informative human being. A must read for referees, players and football fans alike.

REG BAILEY
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on 19 February 2014
Not being a football fan I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this book. Whilst it will never be considered a classic, or even a contender for the Booker Prize I found the stories amusing (sometimes laugh out loud) and several times found I was re-reading some of them.
The author has I believe done a great service to those unsung heroes (and not only referees) who turn out every week for little or no reward, although he has probably not done anything to heal the North South divide. By accident of birth I am one of those Southern Softies.
I understand the author is currently working on his next book, whilst it is on a different topic perhaps he might find space to explain the offside rule in it – I still have no idea what he is on about.
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on 11 July 2015
Two or three funny stories sadly doesn't make a book, the prison story and letters from the south were good, but most of the rest was just filler. Should of asked other refs to contribute stories or just not bothered
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on 23 July 2014
Full disclosure: I did not complete this book.

The first half was interesting, don't get me wrong. Mr. Jacklin discusses the finer points of refereeing, beginning with his own failure as a young adult, and then picking back up to his current age in which he is a more adequate referee. It then goes on to discuss a few somewhat humorous stories (although the chapter dedicated to funny ref stories falls quite wide of the mark) and then one can presume that Mr. Jacklin had a whack on the head (perhaps an errant corner) and decided to dedicate a chapter to 'alternative World Cup teams' which is a fascinating section involving somewhat racist stereotypes of local names; "itchy" jokes for Croatia, and Scottish classics such as "Phil McCracken".

There is no talk of referees at this point, just as many puns as The Sun's editor in chief could turn out over a World Cup Weekend.

If you want a true insight to a referee at grassroots level, have a wander along to your local pitch and chat to the ref there. I'm sure they'll be more than happy to entertain you for longer than this would.
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