Book Reviews

12 New Releases

12 New Releases

The Bald Facts

The David Armstrong Story by Pat Symes

Pitch Publishing

Middlesbrough legend Armstrong played 365 consecutive games for the Teeside club after turning down the opportunity to play for Don Revie’s Leeds United. A move to Southampton, England caps and a fine career were followed by injury-enforced retirement and a descent into poverty, all explained in detail and with warmth in this fine book.

Touching Distance

Kevin Keegan, The Entertainers & Newcastle’s Impossible Dream by Martin Hardy

deCoubertin Books

Kevin Keegan’s appointment as Newcastle manager not only brought a huge change of fortune returning the St James’s Park side to the pinnacle, almost, of English football: it also saw a revival of football as entertainment at the team put smiles on the faces of fans all over the country.

Martin Hardy’s excellent book – nominated for the Cross Sports Book Awards 2016 – tells the story of the 1995-96 season, one where Keegan’s men came so close to claiming the Premier League title from Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Great English Final

1953: Cup, Coronation & Stanley Matthews by David Tossell

Pitch Publishing

The announcement that the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 was to be televised live bough about a huge surge in the purchase of televisions. This gave more people than ever the opportunity to watch the FA Cup Final live. And what a game they saw as Stanley Matthews led Blackpool from 3-1 down against Bolton Wanderers to snatch a dramatic 4-3 victory.

David Tossell’s book – shortlisted for the British Sports Book Awards in 2014 – examines the match itself, the life of a professional footballer 60 years ago and how the country was changing, both on and off the pitch.


What Happens to Footballers When the Game’s Up by Alan Gernon

Pitch Publishing

In Retired, Alan Gernon looks at a somewhat forgotten side of the beautiful game. One where players can go from the adulation of thousands on a weekly basis to the dole queue – and worse – in such a short timespan. Gernon’s research reveals that almost half of all professional footballers face the threat of bankruptcy within five years of their retirement. Many end up addicted, depressed, living with debilitating illness or behind bars. This book asks some very serious questions about the future for ‘Yesterday’s Men’ and goes some – if not all – of the way toward providing answers.

This is an important book and well worth reading.


The World Cup In Real Time by Ian Passingham

Pitch Publishing

It was 50 years ago this year…But now you can relive in full the World Cup of 1966 when England finally brought the World Cup ‘home’.

Whilst there is a prelude to the tournament – and a look at the aftermath of the home nation’s success, it is in recounting the day-by-day events from July 5 to July 30 1966 that the book does a great job. Reading events from 50 years ago as if they just happened is sure to keep nostalgia buffs and football fans everywhere fully entertained.

The Unbelievables

The Remarkable Rise of Leicester City by David Bevan

deCoubertin Books

The amazing success story of Leicester City, a club that went from narrowly escaping relegation to Premier League champions in 12 short months, is told by David Bevan, a fan who attended every game, home and away during their ‘unbelievable’ campaign.

With reports on every match and some great insight into the highs and lows of football support, this book is a must-read for those wishing to relive last season’s rags-to-riches fairytale for Claudio Ranieri’s unlikely squad of heroes.

Dunne It The Hard Way

by Alan Dunne

Pitch Publishing

Millwall legend Alan Dunne spent almost his entire career with the South London club, spending 15 years at the New Den and making over 400 appearances for the club.

This autobiography tells the story of his battle to make the grade at the club and of how he eventually became a huge fan favourite. Full of great anecdotes, Dunne It The Hard Way is a well told story of a true one-club man.

Rhyme And Treason – Chelsea 2015-16

A Season In Verse by Carol Ann Wood

Gate 17

Rhyme And Treason is a real ‘book with a difference’.

Die-hard Chelsea fan Carol Ann Wood tells the story of a tumultuous season at Stamford Bridge through verse. Hard-hitting, passionate and heartfelt, the book puts a fascinating twist on the usual end-of-campaign reviews.

Bobby Stokes

The Man From Portsmouth Who Scored Southampton’s Most Famous Goal by Mark Sanderson

Pitch Publishing

Bobby Stokes scored the greatest goal (so far) in Southampton’s history; the one that brought FA Cup glory to The Dell for the first and only time.

But how did a Portsmouth fan end up playing for his team’s arch rivals? Should the memorable goal have even been allowed? And how did Bobby go from appearing in front of 50,000 adoring fans to playing in the Sussex County League within 12 months before passing away at a tragically young 44 before his testimonial match had even been played? Mark Sanderson delves into the life of a mostly forgotten hero.

66 On ’66 – I Was There

Memories Of English Football’s Greatest Day by Matthew Eastley

Pitch Publishing

July 30th 1966 will undoubtedly go down in history as the greatest day in English football, and indeed sporting, history.

66 on ’66 remembers this glorious summer day through the eyes and thoughts of the people – fans, journalists, celebrities, musicians, ball-boys and officials who witnessed a famous and remarkable match. Packed with amazing, unique and heart-warming takes, this book, superbly illustrated by photography by Stuart Thomas, gives an unique insight into a once-in-a-lifetime day.

Gus Honeybun, Your Boys Have Taken One Hell Of A Beating

A Love Affair In The Lower Leagues by Simon Carter

Pitch Publishing

This is a book about life at the other end of the league, and at the ‘other’ St James’ Park.

Simon Carter takes us on an emotional and personal tour around the Football League basement as he follows his beloved Exeter City to the likes of Halifax, Crewe and Maidstone. A funny, heart-warming book about the ups and downs of life for a fan whose team are mired in the lower reaches of football’s pyramid.

When Football Came Home

England, the English and Euro 96 by Michael Gibbons

Pitch Publishing

It was an unforgettable summer. The England team, from an inauspicious build-up (including an infamous trip to Hong Kong), played with seldom-seen swagger and looked sure to bring home the big prize. The Germans, who else?, spoiled the dream but Terry Venables, Gazza and all won the hearts of a nation just as New Labour were sweeping into power and Oasis and Blur ruled the charts. This book is a great look back to a time when the England team gave fans real hope.