Showing posts from August, 2011

Gregg hits the right note with tales of punk rock and football

Nick Hornby crafted such a brilliant piece of work with the groundbreaking Fever Pitch in 1992 that any subsequent attempts to write about football matches, social history and self-discovery in an autobiographical format were bound to suffer through comparison. Yet Chelsea fan Al Gregg has made the idea work for him with The Wrong Outfit , a story of growing up in Britain in the 1970s written with two major reference points: football and punk rock. Gregg has set out his tale as a novel but one which is strongly autobiographical, featuring a central character, Adam Nedman, who shares the author’s own passion for Chelsea Football Club and for the rebelliously coarse new musical genre that became the soundtrack of the era. Born in the shadow of Stamford Bridge, into a Chelsea supporting family, Gregg was destined almost from birth to develop a strong bond with the club.  It was a time very different from now, of course.  After Gregg had witnessed the likes of Peter Osgood, Ron ‘Cho

Paul Lake book signings

I’m Not Really Here, the autobiography of injury-ravaged ex-Manchester City star Paul Lake, has received rave reviews for the eloquent telling of a painfully poignant story. This week, Paul embarks on a promotional tour in the Manchester area, where he will meet fans and sign copies of his book, published by Century. Paul will begin with a formal signing session at the City of Manchester Stadium this Thursday (August 25th), from 3-5pm, and will be at the Market Street City Store in the Arndale Centre on Friday (August 26th), again between 3pm and 5pm. On Saturday (August 27th), he will be signing copies of the book at WH Smiths in the Trafford Centre. The following Saturday (September 3rd), he has a 2-4pm session planned for Waterstone’s in Stockport and there are further dates lined up for Simply Books in Bramhall, Stockport on Saturday, October 15th (11am) and Costco Barton Dock on Saturday, October 22nd (12 noon). Read more about I'm Not Really Here Buy I'm

Poignant tale of the player who might have been Manchester City's greatest star

By Jon Culley It takes a rare strength of character to come back from the dark places that Paul Lake knows. Pain, frustration, devastation, despair: these were the experiences that defined his career.  It should not have been that way.  A brilliantly gifted and enormously versatile footballer, he was captain of Manchester City at 21 and tipped to be a future captain of England. It all went wrong just as everything seemed to be going so right.  Only 11 days after Howard Kendall had given him the armband at City, Lake ruptured the cruciate ligament in his right knee in a match against Aston Villa at Maine Road.  He was not to know at the time, but it was effectively the end. In the event, it took five years to reach that point; five years of misdiagnosis, critical delays, false hopes, multiple operations, poor aftercare, depression and defeat.  Lake retired in 1996, feeling worthless and let down, to some degree a broken man, aged 27. Yet he did drag himself back from the dep

Man who ate all the pies restores the appetite for football too

Who ate all the pies? Tom Dickinson, in fact: one at each of the 92 Premier and Football League grounds. He assessed the merits of them all and has written a book about them.  But Jeremy Culley found there is more to 92 Pies than a gourmet’s guide to match-day snacks… With contemporary English football frequently tarnished by accusations that it has become too much of a commercial exercise, weighed down by the inflated wages paid to Premier League stars, many people have questioned whether the game has lost touch with its audience. Tom Dickinson is one of those people. Stuck in the uncomfortable interim between graduating university and commencing a career, a throwaway comment made on a casual night in would cost him thousands of pounds and a year of his life. Bolton-supporting Dickinson insisted he could watch a football match at all 92 league grounds during the 2008-09 season, eating a pie at each one, so a friend would admit that Sam Allardyce is a ‘misunderstood tactic

What's New: this week's new titles in sports books

August 1-7 2011: by Jon Culley I'm Not Really Here Paul Lake was a brilliantly gifted Manchester City player earmarked as a future England captain when he snapped the cruciate ligament in his right knee at only 21.  He underwent surgery 15 times but his treatment and rehabilitation were often poorly managed and after six nightmare years in which breakdown followed every attempted comeback, his first marriage collapsed, he suffered financial problems and clinical depression, he was forced to retire.  Lake tells his story with sometimes harrowing candour but without bitterness in a biography already hailed as outstanding. Published by Century (August 4) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Smell of Football Engaging story of Mick ‘Baz’ Rathbone , who rose from awe-struck apprentice at Birmingham to become a decent journeyman pro and ultimately one of football’s most respected physios.  Honest,