Posts Tagged ‘Football’

Don’t stop Thinking About Tomorrow by Siobhan Curham.

July 24, 2018 Comments off

dont stopDon’t stop Thinking About Tomorrow by Siobhan Curham. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

I bet that somewhere in the World in this very moment in time, a refugee is wishing that things in their own country were safe and they could return. They will be thinking that people in the country they are in feel threatened by them and resent them being there. They will despair for the future of themselves and their families and friends

This is true of Hafiz a teenager from Syria whose escape to freedom you will read about in this novel. He is lucky to be alive and lucky that he has an aunt and uncle in the UK that can support him. He is a gifted footballer and has aspirations to join the best, but will he be given the opportunity to show his talents and develop the way a UK national would?  Read this novel and find out.

Stevie is a talented guitarist and singer, she is 14 years old and is living with her severely depressed mother who can’t get over the death by violent means of her husband and Stevie’s father. They are living on the breadline and things look hopeless. They have to move on and they need a break. Read it and see if this happens.

Stevie and Hafiz come together at school in a class that has some bullying and less understanding kids, but not all. Their relationship develops, they are good for each other but they are going to be sorely tested.

An excellent novel that examines modern day issues of refugees and mental depression and the effects it has on lives when attitudes of hatred and lack of understanding are to the fore.

This book could have drifted into  a state of sentimentality but it doesn’t. You feel for both Hafiz and Stevie and their chances in life in a hostile world. Their story is as common as life itself and the message is, things have got to change!!

Written in short chapters consecutively by Stevie and Hafiz which makes it very easy to read in short bursts but if you are like me you will keep reading long after your eyes are drooping onto the page.

A story for readers in the intermediate to young adult age group. Adults will get reward from it too. But be warned there will be tears.

Pele. The Autobiography.

September 23, 2017 Comments off

pele.jpgPele. The Autobiography. Pub. Pocket books, 2007.

No other footballer has commanded the respect and adulation that Pele has yet he is the most humble of characters and enjoyed an almost injury free career. He played at four World Cups, scored 1283 goals and played for Santos, Brazil and New York Cosmos.

He worked for player rights in Brazil, married twice and sired seven children. He was World Ambassador for the United Nations, took the “beautiful game” (a phrase he coined) to America and the man who had Mohammed Ali say when they met “two legends together”.

How did he do all that from the slums of Bauru in Central west Brazil? Well read it and find out, it is riveting.

He was a deeply religious man but erroneously attributed his skills to god at a time when everything a young man wanted to do was considered a sin. It was practice, dedication and a strong body that made him a good footballer. He was only 5ft 9 inches tall but astonishingly good in the air. He mastered the art of keeping the ball under control close to his body and was very fast.

About his footballing ability he said this “people assume that because I scored so many goals that I was an out and out striker. But  I never was. I was an attacking mid fielder, a deep lying centre forward”. He also has some advice about the media -“before a game never read the newspaper or listen to the radio and TV”

An entertaining read that is his own story. When he met and played against George Best as the king of football, Best said to him “what kind of king are you? you don’t smoke or drink”. Well Pele is still alive. I saw him play once and he scored for Santos against Fulham at Craven Cottage but they lost 2-1. The great Bobby Moore also played.

Always Managing. Harry. My Autobiography by Harry Redknapp

October 31, 2016 Comments off

always-managing-harryAlways Managing. Harry. My Autobiography by Harry Redknapp. Pub.Ebury press, 2013.

I first saw Harry Redknapp play for West Ham in 1971. He wore his shorts down to his knees at a time when it was fashionable to show 4 cheeks. Whenever he got the ball and ran with it the crowd would yell ‘Arry.

He played with some wonderful players like Bobby Moore, Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking and he talks about these players and other famous players like George Best in a most illuminating insight into the evolution of English football from the 1960’s to present day.

To say football at the time England won their only World Cup and football played in the Premier league today is vastly different would be an understatement. Harry played and managed 6 clubs who are in the Premier League today or have been recently, he knows what he is talking about.

The bullying nature of the English school system meant he came out of school barely able to write. He was a wizard at ball control and running and he soon made his name in football. He married an Essex girl and is still with her after more than 40 years. He almost lost his life in an Italian car accident and he made and lost many friends while involved with the beautiful game. He almost became England Manager but held his mouth wrong.

An immensely enjoyable autobiography for football fans all over the world no matter what your affiliations. Harry Redknapp is a witty man and tells a good yarn. I will never view Bobby Moore and West Ham club in the same light again.

Crossing the Line by Luis Suarez with Peter Jenson & Sid Lowe

November 6, 2015 Comments off

suarezCrossing the Line by Luis Suarez with Peter Jenson & Sid Lowe. Pub. Headline, 2014.

Football is one of my passions. I follow everything about the game. When handed this book on Luis Suarez, I thought do I really want to know about a guy who bit 3 players during games, deliberately handballed to stop Ghana getting into the semi finals of the World Cup and was accused of being a racist after calling Patrick Evra a Negro in a game against Manchester United.

The guy who gave me the book was a Liverpool supporter and I though aye aye, but my interest was kindled. I thought the book was fantastic it gave me insights into the character of Luis Suarez and about the way football is played all over the World. He played at the top in Uruguay, Holland, England and Spain and now plays alongside Messi at Barcelona.

The overwhelming opinion that comes over about Suarez is that he is a family man and lays the reasons for his success to his wife Sofi whom he met when she was 13yrs and he 15 years. She is always there for him and is his best and harshest critic. She keeps his feet on the ground, he is not flash, doesn’t squander his money and is not a womaniser.

Secondly Suarez is a nonstop competitor who plays with passion and instinct. Everything he does on the paddock he does instinctively whether is is scoring a goal, handling the ball or biting a player. He feels responsibility, tries to lead from the front and these pressures cause him to do unforgiveable things. Suarez does not try to exonerate himself, he knows he has done unforgiveable things. He leaves nothing out.

If you want to read about passion in football read the chapter when 25 years after Hillsborough Liverpool were chasing the Premier league Title and drew 3-3 with Crystal Palace after leading 3-0. You can feel the emotion. It is all about pressure. It is what made Suarez do what he did.

Great reading for anyone who wants to compete at the top. The chapter on how to handle the money especially when you are young and the pressures on players when everybody wants to know you, is exceptional. I don’t believe everything he has to say about his actions but I sort of liked the guy by the end of the book.


Categories: Non Fiction, Young Adult Tags:

SHARP SHADES -Doing the Double by Alan Durant

August 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Doing the Double by Alan Durant, Pub. Evans Brothers Ltd, 2010.

This title is part of a series called Sharp Shapes written for boys who are struggling to read. They are high interest fiction with low vocabulary but are great stories.

Joe and Dale are twins and often pretend they are each other for a laugh and sometimes to help each other out. They are talented footballers but Joe has given the game away to play basketball.

Their father was a great footballer with a household name but after breaking a leg he hit the booze and ruined his career(shades of George Best).

When Dale starts going down the same path he asks Joe to stand in for him in an important game. Will anybody notice? and what are the ethics of doing this?

Read it and find out. Aimed at Intermediate to junior high school.