Amazing...long and deeply satisfying read about the great Bill Shankly who took Liverpool from a mere second division has been to the heights of the then first division, winning both at home and in Europe and then retiring at the pinacle of his fame..handling this great club over to his second in command Bob Paisley...who built upon the Shankly legacy and went on to even greater achievements. This book will appeal to those of an age who remember the golden era of football, a time when the "game" stayed close to its working class routes far removed from the capitalist institution it has become today. What makes this a great book is the rather repetitive style of David Peace (which you will either love or hate) and the way you don't only read the book but you live those years with good old Bill!..what marvelous memories......"and fifty thousand people clapping. Two hundred and fifty thousand people shouting. Two hundred and fifty thousand people singing. All singing..LI-VER-POOL, LI-VER-POOL, LI-VER-POOL, LI-VER-POOL, LI-VER-POOL, LI-VER-POOL, LI-VER-POOL Bill fought back the tears, Bill struggled to breathe. Ness gripped his arm, Ness squeezed his hand- I never knew until now, whispered Ness, until today, how much football meant to the people of Liverpool. But you knew, love. You always knew what it meant to the people of Liverpool... LI-VER-POOL, LI-VER-POOL.
There are so many great memories here of football as it was and the great players of the 70's...who does not remember Gary Sprake (the monumental Don Revie Leeds team!)...and his unfortunate tendency to drop the ball!!
"On the right of his own goal, Sprake shaped to throw the ball to Cooper. Then Sprake seemed to have his doubts. Now Sprake seemed to change his mind. Sprake brought the orange ball back towards his chest. Sprake lost his grip on the ball. In the snow, the heavy snow. On the hard and treacherous ground. The orange ball curled up out of his arms. The ball swept up into the air. And in the snow, the heavy snow. On the hard and treacherous ground. The orange ball dropped into his goal. And in the snow the heavy snow. On the hard and treacherous ground. There was silence. Then cheers. And then laughter. In the snow, the heavy snow. On the hard and treacherous ground"
I loved the style of writing, I really understood what Bill was all about, and what football meant to him and how it shaped his life and by reading this book I was able to live those years with Bill..
This book has had a number of reviews in the tabloids but to me the journalist who really understood the complexities of Mr Shankly is Ben Felsenberg and his article in the Metro on August 1st 2013, in conclusion he states " Yet the comulative effect of all the repetition which sees the name Bill peppered throughout most pages, is entirely compelling. The writing is honed, sculpted, poetic. Peace gives us Shankly the man and the manager, and his philosophy and socialist belief in the collective loom large. But this is also a story of a working man and how the daily, single-minded application of labour can lead to great achievement. Peace has built what is a worthy monument to a figure light years removed from the megabucks and hype of today's football. It doesn't matter if you don't follow the game, this is also a profound investigation of the tension between aspiration and the constraints of time the very essence of the human condition"
I hope Ben Felsenbery does not mind me quoting from his excellent review...and I only reiterate his words this is a poetic masterpiece about on of the truly greats of British football and I implore you to read...