Book Reviews, Books, Fiction, Reviews, sports

BOOK REVIEW: Theatre of Dreams by Nikhil Krishnan

There are times when I feel to like shorter book reviews. I had done it only once in a previous post, and the feedback was not good. Irrespective of the feedback, I am going to make one more try this time. The reason of this you will understand in the end of the post.

Theatre of Dreams by Nikhil Krihsnan starts with a bang. It’s a story about town which adores football (or soccer, as you prefer, as did the author) and the plot revolves around Roman Valka, a young talent when discovered, brings excitement to the whole town and given the hope of winning the victory they are awaiting of some years.

Well it’s not all about football, as plot moves forward and drags in bits, as the pages turn, author diverts the focus of his story on elements like love and hate which does make things interesting for a while but the plot starts to drag again. Till the end, the book revolves around the protagonist aforementioned, but there are characters to be considered, or I would have mentioned, if the characterisation had been any better. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Theatre of Dreams by Nikhil Krishnan”

Books, Non-Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Living on the Volcano by Michael Calvin

The job of a football manager is not as easy at it may sound. The modern day football clubs treat their manages as any other profession, instant hiring, instant firing. Michael Calvin who impressed lover of the sport as well as readers with his book The Nowhere Men which is about scouts and scouting. Well this one is about managers.

The book starts with Arsene Wenger’s forward and then each chapter is based on a different manager in which the does most of the speaking. The book is written in the style of an interview cum recording. Not many interviewerees are big name but surely their experience in the field speaks for itself. Other interviewerees are Mark Hughes who is currently at Stoke City, Garry Monk recently sacked by Swansea City, Roberto Martinez and Brendon Rodgers. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Living on the Volcano by Michael Calvin”

Book List, sports

5 Books on Sports I read in 2015

Other than reading books, I am passionate about football (for americans: it’s soccer) and there isn’t a year I do not find books to read and satisfy by obsessiveness of the game. Here are 5 books worth take a look:

Pep Confidential: The Inside Story of Pep Guardiola’s First Season at Bayern Munich by Martí Perarnau

This a well written insight on football coaching genius.

My Rating 4 out of 5

The Nowhere Man by Michael Calvin

The book shines rays on the hidden world of one of the most important roles in the game of football, Scouts.

My Rating 4 out of 5

Another Bloody Saturday by Mat Guy

This is a book celebrating all that is great with the game of football, as seen through the eyes of clubs and fans rarely bothered by satellite television cameras and the riches of the elite game, a vibrant world of humour, warmth and friendship worth far more than all the wealth of the Premier League.

My Rating 4 out of 5 Continue reading “5 Books on Sports I read in 2015”

Books, Non-Fiction, Reviews, sports

BOOK REVIEW: Pep Confidential by Marti Perarnau

In life there are times when one is exhausted by what one loves to do. It is when one is out option and monotony of daily routine becomes an unbearable case. This monotony is necessary and in other words called hard work which to find success, has to be in consistent with. Similar was the case with Pep Guardiola, in the middle of 2012 the Barcelona coach, after winning each and every trophy or championship by rallying his troops of 11 men on a grass field consistently for four years. He was the inventor of a new phase a football in this second decade of 21st century, the dominance of one team. But then he needed a new challenge, and took a year off and went to Bayern Munich, another european giant with success in its bloods.

To fill the pages of Pep Confidential: The Inside Story of Pep Guardiola’s First Season at Bayern Munich, the Spanish journalist, Marti Perarnau, was given access to chronicle Pep’s day to day thoughts, methods, and the new challenge he’s has taken himself.

The book consists more than Pep Guardiola’s first season in Germany. It is the complete portrait of one of the greatest football coaches of 21st century. It consists the philosophy by which Pep works everyday and the functionality he adopts at Bayern Munich in 2013. His methods, tactics, philosophy, his emotional touch to the game and his obsessiveness for the game of football. Perarnau was granted access to all team meetings, training sessions, locker room, face to face over a coffee with Pep at times, his left and right hand men, the players and has done a good job by accounting that much in sheer 488 pages. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Pep Confidential by Marti Perarnau”

Interviews

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Mat Guy

Q- Hi Mat, congratulations on the publication of your new book, Another Bloody Saturday, and thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

Well Another Bloody Saturday is my first book, and was written alongside my day job at an independent cinema in Southampton, so things have been very busy for quite some time! I am 43 and this was my first attempt at writing about the sport that I love. I was quite nervous about it, as football is such a large part of my life, but I found that I really enjoyed writing about matches, the people at those matches, and memories of games long gone.

Q- You are quite experienced with blogging for your blog “Dreams From Victoria Park” is literary heaven for a football fan. When did you decide to write a book on lower league clubs? Was it specifically for lower league football?

To be honest I started writing the blog as a simple diary of my travels through football, but the characters that I met and their stories soon made me think that it could make a good book. Thankfully Luath Press thought so too – as it is very hard for an unknown writer to get anywhere – something I learnt from my years of writing fiction, so getting a book published is very surreal!

I was quite content with writing the blog, and having people read it and enjoy it, and it wasn’t until a journalist suggested that I try and get a publisher interested that I seriously thought about it, and then actively sent extracts out to people. My reasons for writing it in the first place stemmed from the team my grandfather and I supported, Salisbury, folding last summer. It left a huge gap in my life, as non league football had always been my way of connecting to what I call ‘real football’, where it’s soul can be found.

Premier League football is all well and good – but it is so expensive that it is now no longer a league ‘for the people’. Lower league and non league football is, and I wanted to explore it to help me reconnect with it now that my team had gone.

Q- The idea behind a ‘spiritual’ football club is what attracted me in your book. Your love for Accrington Stanley proves in what I always believed that a man can love two different football clubs for altogether different reasons. Is it more than the spirituality in watching lower league football? What attracts you the most?

Clubs like Accrington offer the fan a real sense of belonging, of community, where you can meet your heroes, the players, where you can get involved in your club and actually be a part of it. Premier league clubs cannot offer that anymore – the players are too distant from the fans, and the fans are often seen as nothing more than customers to the club.

The lower leagues are more a reflection of how football was when I was growing up, where even top flight teams had a real community feel – where players earned a little more than those that watched them, but not a lot more, lived on the same streets as the fans.

Accrington Stanley survive because of a small band of dedicated fans and club officials, who pour their heart and soul into it. It is powerful stuff and easy to fall in love with when you see it first hand.

This is what football is all about for me, clubs are a reflection of the people that love them – they represent their community, and when it is done well as in Accrington, it is a magical thing.

Q- I really enjoyed your book Another Bloody Saturday. Every chapter is unique and tells a different tale. How about the craft of writing? How do you approach your writing?  Do you have a writing routine?  Continue reading “AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Mat Guy”

Books, Fiction, Reviews, sports

BOOK REVIEW: Another Bloody Saturday by Mat Guy

Football is not just a game of 11 vs 11 bodies of flesh exhausting themselves physically and mentally for straight ninety minutes after a ball. There is football we watch on television, alone or with known ones, watching a nineteen year old whose market value is almost equivalent to the eleven players of opposition who are trying to get the ball off from his feet. At front of that television set we all are football pundits for ninety minutes. There is no denying in that.

If you are football fanatic, in ninety minutes you are going to feel each and every emotion inside us- anger, ecstasy, astonishment, aversion, admiration, vigilance and yet one game is not enough. Similarly, Mat Guy in the title Another Bloody Saturday expresses himself through the beautiful game in various anecdotes collected over his famous blog Dreams Victoria Park.

Football isn’t about the Premier League or the El Classico. Though that’s all we can watch on television but the world of football is much more vast than that. It’s a whole universe in itself. There are teams which are part of the sport for the passionate people who love it. Such teams and green fields are explored by Mat Guy in his book. He tells us about his experiences and match telecasts of teams such as Welsh Bangor City and Icelandic UMF Stjarnan. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Another Bloody Saturday by Mat Guy”

Books, Reviews, sports

BOOK REVIEW: The Damned United by David Peace

When it comes to football, especially when it comes to books on football, David Peace’s The Damned United.  Football is not only just a game, it is world’s most watched sport. It is not just a game of ninety minutes and between twenty-two matured men running after a ball of 8.65 inches in diameter, it is a lot more than that. It is excitement, sportsmanship, glory, emotions, and history.

The tale of The Damned United is a bit more exciting than the game itself. It is about Brian Clough’s time as a manager at Leeds United. Forty four days. In 1974, both the club Leeds United and the football manager Brian Clough were famous and achieving a lot in the game, sometimes overachieving, but both were eccentric in their own ways. David Peace writing makes this book a passion both for himself and the readers, as he represents this sport passionately.

The book is split into two distinct sections which run side by side throughout. One follows Brian Clough’s transition from the end of his playing career, cut criminally short by injury, via Hartlepool and through to turning Derby County into a domestic and European force. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: The Damned United by David Peace”

Book List, Books, sports

Five Football/Soccer Books You Should Read This Summer

Last around the same time period I wrote a list of books relating the beautiful game of Football (a.k.a soccer) for the occasion Fifa World Cup 2014. This year, since June 6 is the last homage for any football fan, yes I am referring to UEFA Champions League Final 2015 between the two most consistent teams this year in Europe: Barcelona and Juventus. Admit it even if you don’t support either of them, June 6 will telecast the last ninety minutes of good football before the summer time gets over. For any football fan spending weekends without seeing the green grass and twenty-two men running after a ball, technically, just twenty as both teams have a goalkeeper each who travels a lesser amount of distance on the field is a not a weekend well spent. To resonate your weekends again with football all this summer take a look at them.

Fear and Loathing in La Liga by Sid Lowe

Fear and Loathing in La Liga takes a look at one of football’s greatest rivalries. Exploring the historical, cultural and political influences that give El Clasico its unique charge, Sid Lowe demonstrates the relationship between these two soccer giants and reveals the true story behind their explosive rivalry.

The Nowhere Men by Michael Calvin

Travelling up and down the country and around the world in the hopes of unearthing the next big thing, the life of a football scout is one of the game’s most unappreciated and disposable positions. Calvin’s excellent book shines a light on the people who help find the players of tomorrow.

Continue reading “Five Football/Soccer Books You Should Read This Summer”

Books, sports

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten Books to read in the time of the World Cup

The summer has become hotter with the start of the FIFA World Cup 2014. Four days already and more than 40 goals in groups stage fixtures. Yesterday, Germany was fun to watch though. Thus, in the time of this major event, I have concluded a list of ten football (soccer) books a reader ( also a Football Nerd) can read when not watching the fixtures.

The Damned Utd by David Peace

Extraordinary sport’s writer, David Peace’s extraordinarily inventive novel tells the story of a world characterized by fear of failure and hunger for success set in the bleak heart of the 1970s.

Soccernomics by Simon Kuper & Stefan Syzmanski

Using insights and analogies from economics, statistics, psychology, and business to cast a new and entertaining light on how the game works,Soccernomics reveals the often surprisingly counter-intuitive truths about soccer. Continue reading “TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten Books to read in the time of the World Cup”

Books, Non-Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Numbers Game by Chris Anderson & David Sally

When I am in the mood of reading about football (soccer), I hardly find books to read. Eventually, I got this book from a friend of mine, who like me, is suffering from Football Fever. 

In The Numbers Game: Why Everything you should know about soccer is wrong, Chris Anderson, a former professional goalkeeper turned soccer statistics guru, teams up with behavioral analyst David Sally to uncover the numbers that really matter when it comes to predicting a winner. Investigating basic but profound questions—How valuable are corners? Which goal matters most? Is possession really nine-tenths of the law? How should a player’s value be judged?—they deliver an incisive, revolutionary new way of watching and understanding soccer.

The book answers each of the above questions and many more with facts and immense amount of interesting data and evidence supporting it. The book is purely statistical and the authors are assuming that many aspects of the game have reached an equilibrium point and will not change for decades. It is more or less the same genre as Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski  and the only difference that it’s uses large scale of data and is quite informative than the Soccernomics itself. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: The Numbers Game by Chris Anderson & David Sally”