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Customer Review

on 22 December 2009
A very enjoyable read overall; at times amusing, at times acutely embarrasing as Herr Honigstein forces us to face up to some uncomfortable home truths. My only reservation would be this: as the author is a journalist and German, too, you would expect the facts to have been checked. In the chapter dealing with "bungs and backhanders" the author refers to a celebrated case in the mid-1960's in which 3 players allegedly "threw" a game so that they would win a bet they had placed backing Ipswich Town to beat their team, Sheffield Wednesday. Somehow Herr Honigstein has Tony Kay playing for Ipswich and Bronco Layne for Sheffield United. A tiny quibble? Nitpicking? Maybe so, but it did make me wonder how many of the facts in the rest of the book, with which I might be less familiar, I could assume as correct. I also thought that a bit more on the way Kay, in particular, was treated in this case would have told us a lot more about "the English national character" than some of the other illustrations the author uses for that purpose.

On a more positive note, Honigstein has a nice sardonic style and uses his humour to good effect. Despite showing up some of our English inadequacies and idiosyncracies, his deep respect and affection for englischer Fussball shines throughout. This is a good book for anyone prepared to take the risk of having a close look at yourself in the mirror the morning after a good night out. Reality bites, and sometimes, you know, it's not as bad as you thought it was going to be.
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