Kick and Run: Memoir with Soccer Ball (Bloomsbury Reader)

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Kick and Run: Memoir with Soccer Ball by Jonathan Wilson

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Agassi does not easily forgive, and his book is larded with extremely backhanded compliments for those who have crossed him. Sampras is one of the more highly regarded opponents in Mr. Several of the post-colonial nationalist leaders understood its potency, even overseeing their own favoured teams. Later on, Bobby Moore and four of his World Cup winning team-mates endorsed apartheid by accepting lucrative deals to play in South Africa. The book also examines the vexed issue of national teams so often having coaches from Europe.

Throughout, Hawkey neatly sidesteps the cliches that dog so much coverage of African football, barring one lengthy section on voodoo and fetishes. We say: An instant classic revealing more about Cantona than even he probably knows. This is a very French book about a brilliant anglophile French footballer, written by a very good anglophile French journalist.

It takes its subject seriously and asks that you do the same. Here we have cerebral football, in a book for the ages, actually about the game itself. All the outstanding humourists are included — Atkinson, Redknapp, Clough, Shankly, Greaves, Fry, Mourinho — but there are some beauties from surprising sources. Plus I was out of the side for three weeks before that. I got cramp before half time as well.

First published in It says it all.

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That article in full. We say: A definitive history of football, placing it in a socio-economic context.

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But Goldblatt has packed the book with detail, stories, match reports and rumination. It can be read cover-to-cover or dipped into. I found myself zipping around the globe, and across time, from Saudia Arabia to Ireland, from Bolton to Calcutta. The book moves from comments on types of studs to descriptions of matches. Part of the joy of The Ball Is Round is its eclecticism.

We say: Elegant, intelligent, digressive study of two footballing geniuses and their times. The Beautiful Game?

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The book is also the story of the collision between these hardy souls and the suits who see the game as another business opportunity. The story about the goat says it all really. He never trained. Years later, they remembered the money, and discovered a rotting mass of sodden paper. The book is full of intriguing sidelights on Brazilian popular culture, its hedonism, piety and wondrous absurdity. Bellos takes us to the Amazon, to Uruguay and to the Faroe Islands, where several Brazilian players have recently settled.

The conditions of work in Brazil are such that practically any club in Europe offers a better living. Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry Canongate Another black comedy from the author of Beatlebone , about two former gangsters stuck in a southern Spanish port.

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      Jonathan Wilson (author)

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