Books on Football

Discussion in 'Soccer History' started by frasermc, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    Thanks, that is great. When I saw the contents and a part of the preview on Amazon I was concerned about that (and hence the quality, accuracy of what is presented).
     
  2. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    [... to finish this... ]

    I've now revisited it and personally I think Burns did the better and more complete effort. As a specific and telling example: Ball has only a few sentences about Maradona his stay at Barcelona, then 'formally' the world record holder of course. In a book with 200 pages. Still nice to read at times though.
     
  3. Leabostero4

    Leabostero4 New Member

    Jun 3, 2015
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Country:
    Argentina
    The Cruyff bio? a bit disappointing... a lot about his last 5 or 6 years... not much about he as footballer or coach... a little pamphlet...
     
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  4. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    After four days I've finished it (the native version, not the English version) and I've read some book reviews and heard a 'books forum' on the radio as well.

    I have to say that it has some serious flaws. Already on page 37 the captaincy coup of 1973 is mentioned; on page 99 he stops with playing football and on page 135 he's fired as manager of Barcelona. The 1974 World Cup - ultimately one of the high points and an important materialization - is discussed in seven pages. He himself already did it better and more elaborately in the 'Ajax, Barcelona, Cruyff' interviews book (published in English). And he places as much emphasis on the naivety of the opponents as the merits of the team.

    On the very first page - the very first paragraph in fact - he says "the past is not something I think about too much", and the reason why. Most probably that attitude helped him to acquire his (wide array of) competences, but it is a hindrance to a well balanced book. Sepp Blatter of all people provided interesting insight into his demeanor when he passed away; Blatter said he had huge problems in accepting compliments, despite his ego and self-esteem. Both those mirror aspects seep through the book.

    The native version is written as if you hear him talking. At some sections it is like you can hear a tape playing in the background. The basic facts he mentions are at least (almost) all correct and right; the verifiable figures and numbers. E.g. the lobbying for 'twin games' to be adopted (ignored by the KNVB, but adopted by RFEF and KBVB) is something that did happen.

    Some insight into historical people is of course not completely verifiable but when he says (for ex.) that the player Pelé had a natural sense of responsibility and the mature player Pelé had the role of father figure within a squad then that are imho spot on and fair remarks - something you don't always come across in treatises about Pelé. Also some other views as the differences between working in Spain and in the Netherlands can be interesting to read.

    I understand the squabbles with club directors, football administrators and (Madrid-aligned) politicians cannot be overlooked, and he doesn't cover himself in glory there. It was something he couldn't escape in order to make 'his' teams punch far above its natural weight (the same administrators who downgraded the dutch league in 1973). Josep Nunez is a "bank robber" and former Ajax chairman Harmsen had as mission to "destroy" him. That's all nice and well to know but I have to agree with Kuper here that it is less of a fit in a book where he stops playing at page 99 (although he returns to it at later sections).

    Except for the details it doesn't deviate from the usual main narrative. In John Foot's Calcio one will read about his (in)direct influence on Italian football; in Danish Dynamite his direct impact on the 1980s Danish team (with 5m population) andsoforth. It's understandable that he doesn't want to portray himself as the center of the universe and 'leadership' is about "making others grow and learn to think for themselves" but it is good to mention here that the main threads do not go out of bounds.

    I've to side with the 'books forum' too that something more balanced wouldn't have been unreasonable to expect. It was mentioned that already at the age of 21-22 he wrote a manual to Michels in order to convince him; so why not a 68 years old Cruijff? (although sometimes, just like languages, people lose skills and gain new ones). I searched for an English source for this but here's a Washington Diplomats team mate recalling the same.

    Some already thought back in 2014 that 300 pages would be too short. After all there's not a 20 years career to write about but a 50 years career. There will be other final attempts in the future. I read David Winner is thinking about making one, and the Dutch writer Auke Kok (who is totally independent and excellent; ranging from history of pirate radio to the cold account of the 1974 World Cup) is busy to make a 500+ pages volume set to be released in 2019 or 2020. What Cruijff his own memoirs made in injury time will do is that it can be discarded, but not ignored or overlooked.

    I don't know who has read Diego Maradona his autobiography but that is (in a different way) a strange piece of material as well.
     
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  5. Leabostero4

    Leabostero4 New Member

    Jun 3, 2015
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Country:
    Argentina
    Great post, Puck. I have read the spanish version. I hope that the translation is accurate. I have read "Yo soy el Diego". The narrative is Diego's style and is much more chronological football (and the world around) stories. His last book (about México 86) is my next book to read (togheter with "El partido", about Argentina-England in the same world cup)
     
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  6. nicklaino

    nicklaino Member+

    Feb 14, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Worst book ever written for kid soccer is Thoughtful Soccer by Russ Carrington.

    It proves if you package a piece of crap in a cute way you can get the uninformed to buy it.

    Remember my pet rock it was just a real rock people bought or NY water straight from a sink in NYC a lot of people bought that.
     
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  7. nicklaino

    nicklaino Member+

    Feb 14, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    He got his friend who is a teacher to write a good review for him.

    "
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Thoughtful Soccer:The Think-First Approach to Playing and Coaching
    by Russ Carrington



    Recommended by Daniel Frankl, Ph.D.

    "Thoughtful Soccer" is a text for soccer coaches and players that introduces the cognitive aspects of the game along with the learning of skills at an early phase of player development.

    Russ Carrington captures the fluidity of the game of soccer and brings order to the many possibilities and opportunities that this beautiful games provides.

    "Thoughtful Soccer" is well organized and is written in a simple and easy to understand style. It is abundant with great lead-up games, drills, game strategy "secrets," and coaching tips.

    "Thoughtful Soccer" is very appropriate for the beginner through intermediate coach and player but may also provide some insights and new ideas for the seasoned coach.


    Two Thumbs Up!"

    I guess he loves a piece of crap.
     
  8. nicklaino

    nicklaino Member+

    Feb 14, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    He tried to get a c license years ago kept failing it :)
     
  9. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    Thanks. I thought the original title is more representative as the twist Pangrave McMillan applied - early in the book it is stated he doesn't want to go too much into the type of "facts that have been amply covered elsewhere, by others" (at times it's necessary to read between the lines).

    I've searched for two minutes and the last paragraph of this review on goodreads expresses some doubts about a few translations. Unlike this one (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1048899.El_Diego).
     
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  10. Leabostero4

    Leabostero4 New Member

    Jun 3, 2015
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Country:
    Argentina
    What about this book? "Turf wars" by Steve Tongue. I've bought it looking for an english story book...
     
  11. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    I had a brief look at the English translation and the middle sections seem to be alright (e.g. the American years). The beginning and particularly the end less so. The final chapter - where he is thanking a few people crossing his path, forcing him to think and preventing errors - has even a number (important) sentences dropped. Dunno why. The last paragraph seems to be fine, as if he himself had a look at it.

    Just as info.

    I don't know that book...
     
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  12. Leabostero4

    Leabostero4 New Member

    Jun 3, 2015
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Country:
    Argentina
  13. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    I was just thinking about it but what have been the best bits (books and articles) written about the Leicester City success story?
     
  14. comme

    comme Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 21, 2003
    Everything by Stuart James of the Guardian. Also (though I haven't read it) the Jonathan Norcroft book is meant to be good. Personally I was rather jaded by the Leicester story almost as soon as they won the league.
     
  15. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    FourFourTwo has a list with the 50 best Football Books

    http://www.fourfourtwo.com/features/50-best-football-books-ever-50-41
    http://www.fourfourtwo.com/features/fourfourtwos-best-football-books-ever-writers-choices

    One weakness is that there's some form of political corectness applied (driven by the turf of the writers). Another that the selectors themselves have a book in contention. So I can sense there's a self-referential element in the list (a tacit "I select you, you select me in this small world and clique").
     
  16. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    I finished Uli Hesse his book about Bayern Munich and I liked that book. It's good to keep the prologue in your head throughout the whole book (what is the message he wants to tell).

    I also finished reading David Winner his 'biography' about Dennis Bergkamp. Some like the book for showing the wider picture (FourFourTwo, but he himself is a contributor..), others point out that he's going off-tangent a lot and that the book is actually not about Bergkamp. I have sympathy for both views.
     
  17. wm442433

    wm442433 Member

    Sep 19, 2014
    Club:
    FC Nantes
    About the Euro 96 :

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"> REMEMBERING <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EURO96?src=hash">#EURO96</a> “An excellent read, which does justice to the tournament and period.” – <a href="https://twitter.com/EnglandMemories">@EnglandMemories</a> on ⚽ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WhenFootballCameHome?src=hash">#WhenFootballCameHome</a> <a href="https://t.co/NYq6C4EswT">pic.twitter.com/NYq6C4EswT</a></p>&mdash; Pitch Publishing (@PitchPublishing) <a href="
    ">15 décembre 2016</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    @comme @PDG1978 @PuckVanHeel

    (yes looks like an advert but still)
     
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  18. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    Just saying but that Jimmy Hill book from 1978 ("Great Soccer Stars") is a truly interesting book with interesting observations.

    From one of the better all-rounders the sport (any sport?) has known.

    Luckily the book is not too expensive and of good quality (hardcover, pages of high quality).
     
  19. comme

    comme Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 21, 2003
    Maybe only from a British perspective but one of the most significant people in the history of the game. Notable as a player, manager, administrator, union rep and pundit.

    I've thought before about writing a book about English football and he would merit a chapter of his own.
     
  20. cafe1234stefan

    cafe1234stefan New Member

    Arsenal
    Bulgaria
    Aug 7, 2017
    'Best', according to me, signifies not only the quality of the research or language in the book, but also the degree to which it manages to describe an aspect of football. so we've got different books covering the different aspects of football. I wrote a list of 13 books that give different angles on football. Here they are
     
  21. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
  22. comme

    comme Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 21, 2003
    It's currently £1.19 on Kindle as well so worth a punt at a bargain price.
     

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