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Dull, Frustrating and Annoying Book
on 25 July 2015
I had hoped to enjoy this book much more than I did. A chance to better understand one of the enigma's of English football, a defender who served his country brilliantly whilst also becoming loved and hated my much of North London following his switch from Spurs to Arsenal.
Unfortunately, the football side of things is often dwarfed by Campbell's feeling that he was undervalued or used by others. I had hoped for more football stories about his time with England and the Arsenal 'Invicibles', unfortunately even on both of these, he has axes to grind, criticising Arsene Wenger for the way he handled him in the latter stages of his career and the FA for not making him captain. He alleges that the latter was due to race, however, he struggles to substantiate this, and the book itself doesn't support him as its clear he was an awkward character due to a tough upbringing and may not have had the leadership qualities of several other strong leaders during the era.
The book is written in an odd style which questions Campbell and adds to his awkward reputation. The writer uses cliche and tabloid wording when it is clear Campbell wishes to be seen as a football intellectual.
I love football biographies and found this difficult to read, I found it very hard to warm to Campbell and his continuous gripes, I also felt there was ambiguity in challenging the hard family upbringing he had and then glossing over the fact he doesn't see one of his own children.
The football matches don't get enough attention, too much emphasis is placed on Campbell's rise to a position where he has a lot of expensive things, I came away from this book bored and thinking less of one of the great defenders of his generation. A very dull and frustrating read.