Showing posts from August, 2013

Moving tale of how Jacko gave a different meaning to giving something back

When footballers talk about 'giving something back', it is usually in the context of coaching, passing on the benefits of what they have learned on the field so that others might have a chance to live the life they have enjoyed. For Peter Jackson, the phrase has a very different meaning. For more than 30 years, Peter and his wife Alison lived the good life, riding the football roller coaster together during his career as player and manager. As a player, he edged out Paul Gascoigne and Peter Beardsley when he was named Newcastle United's Player of the Year.  He went on to make more than 650 League appearances for five clubs. As a manager, the sharp-suited 'Jacko' competed with Jose Mourinho in the touchline style stakes when Huddersfield Town played Chelsea in the FA Cup, savoured the highs of victory in a play-off final at the Millennium Stadium --  and endured the lows, three times suffering the occupational hazard of the sack. But those dark days wer

Red or Dead: David Peace's novel on Bill Shankly and Liverpool divides opinion

REVIEWS AND OPINIONS David Peace's novel about Bill Shankly, Red or Dead, has divided opinion among reviewers.  At 700 pages, it is a novel of epic proportions, certainly - the kind of length for which a novelist in a prime seeking to set down a tour de force might strive.  Peace's admirers have declared it to be a masterpiece. Others are less sure. It was a similar story with The Damned United , in which Peace interwove fact with fiction to tell the tale of Brian Clough's ill-starred 44 days as manager of Leeds United. Many readers loved it, placing it among the best books about football ever written, On the other hand, the Clough family and those close to them were horrified, regarding Peace's portrayal of the central character as a travesty. This time it is not so much the content but the highly stylised writing has met with mixed views.  Peace is renowned for his staccato, rhythmic prose, and his use of repetition as a literary device. It characterised his

New Michael Calvin book goes inside the world of football's shadowy army of star spotters

NEW FOOTBALL BOOKS Early indications are that Michael Calvin, whose insider story of Millwall football club, Family: Life, Death and Football , gained a British Sports Book Awards nomination, has delivered another gem in The Nowhere Men, a journey into the lives of football's vast army of talent scouts. The Nowhere Men  (Century) is among a clutch of football titles just published as the new season begins to stir into life. New biographies of Denis Law, Kenny Swain and Jimmy Adamson, a book spotlighting the hidden history of women's football, Rio Ferdinand's pictorial autobiography and the story of Mansfield Town's return to the Football League have also hit the shelves in the last few days. Calvin, nowadays chief sports writer for the Independent on Sunday , was not the first to provide an intimate portrait of a football club from behind the scenes, much as Family deserved its plaudits.  With The Nowhere Men, however, he breaks new ground. Scouts are '