- Man vs Bookshelf: Introduction
- Man vs Bookshelf: Horowitz Horror
- Man vs Bookshelf: Lisey’s Story
- Man vs Bookshelf: Devil May Care
- Man vs Bookshelf: Big Little Lies
- Man vs Bookshelf: Good Omens
- Man vs Bookshelf: Grandpa’s Great Escape
- Man vs Bookshelf: Clough: The Autobiography
- Man vs Bookshelf: The Cuckoo’s Calling
- Man vs Bookshelf: The Escape
- Man vs Bookshelf: I Am Legend
- Man vs Bookshelf: Confessions of a Sociopath
- Man vs Bookshelf: Silence
- Man vs Bookshelf: Six Years
- Man vs Bookshelf: The Thin Executioner
- Man vs Bookshelf: The Entrepreneur’s Book of Checklists
- Man vs Bookshelf: John Dies at the End
- Man vs Bookshelf: Harry Potter and the case of the Duplicates
- Man vs Bookshelf: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (series)
- Man vs Bookshelf: Ayoade on Ayoade
- Man vs Bookshelf: Junk
- Man vs Bookshelf: Bobby Moore
- Man vs Bookshelf: The Hard Way
- Man vs Bookshelf: 102 days down (+ Freakonomics & Superfreakonomics)
- Man vs Bookshelf: Dirk Gently (1 & 2)
- Man vs Bookshelf: The Clifton Chronicles (1 & 2)
- Man vs Bookshelf: Twitterature
- Man vs Bookshelf: Pele
- Man vs Bookshelf: The Collector
Legend is a big word.
So I won’t use it to describe myself.
At least not in a public forum.
What I whisper to myself into my pillow as I fight back tears and try to fall asleep is another matter entirely.
But, now you’ve raised the interesting topic of legends, I’m able to segue into today’s book.
This is, as you might have guessed, about a man many consider to be a legend.
It’s Bobby Moore: The Man in Full.
Matt Dickinson and Me
Matt Dickinson is an English sports journalist, currently football correspondent of The Times.
This I know because I read it on Wikipedia, and is true (if it’s true at all) at the time of writing.
I have, in my time, read plenty of sports columns, including some in the The Times. But I don’t tend to pay attention to who has written them. As such, I could not say with any authority or confidence if I’ve read anything by Matt Dickinson.
As such, let’s move on, and talk about the book.
Bobby Moore: The Man in Full
I’ve had this book two or three years (at a guess) but it was a present, and I was never sure how much I was going to like it.
I love football, although it wasn’t something I got into until I was 18/19, and I watch games every week.
Like everyone, I not only enjoy watching my team win but also watching the best players at work. Unless they play for Liverpool.
Yet, when it comes to reading about football, I’m more into reading about managers than I am about players.
I’ve read books by or about Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Brian Clough. I did read the Paul Merson Book but that stands as the exception.
So, with Bobby Moore’s book, I was sceptical, even though I didn’t know much about him. beyond, that is, the obvious (World Cup Hero, West Ham player, died of cancer.)
Strangely, I remember doing a small project about Booby Moore when I was in Primary School. Writing about how he died of cancer and was a World Cup Winner, etc. etc.
We all had to pick someone we admired and I picked Moore. A strange decision for a kid not that into football, but there you go.
Anyway, I had my preconceptions going into this book, but what did I actually think?
It turned out that, not for the first time, I was judging this book too harshly.
It was well written, which always helps, and didn’t drag or become boring at any point.
Plus, it dug into the interesting side of Bobby.
It’s called ‘The Man in Full’ and this did dig deeper into a man many people are tempted only to see certain facets of.
Dickinson goes beyond the image of a hero to talk all sides of Bobby.
This includes the good stuff. His determination. His supreme skill as a Ball Playing Defender. His enduring calm even under the most stressful of circumstances.
But it goes beyond that. There are stories of his drinking. His clashes with management at West Ham over a move away. And, most tragically, his failed business ventures post-football, leading to financial struggles and difficulties in his post-footballing years.
Well, unless you count the most tragic thing as being his two battles with cancer. Which, considering the way the latter of these played out, is devastating.
For me, this was all news,
It was endlessly fascinating, always interesting and, at times, almost heartbreaking.
The wrong era to be the best
Speaking of heartbreaking, it’s worth mentioning the most interesting thing, for me, from the book.
I was born in the early 90s, and have grown up in an era where footballers are superstars. Not just while playing, but afterwards.
There is a clamouring for the best ex-professionals to get back into the game. They are almost universally respected and continue to be idolised, within and without the industry, long after they hang up their boots.
Being brought up in this time it’s hard for me to imagine it being any other way.
I knew about the wage caps. I was aware players were not always paid the ridiculous amounts they are today.
But I never considered that players might be discarded once they retired. That’s utter madness to me.
But that’s what happened.
Dickinson writes how the FA didn’t want to take ex players abroad in a David Beckham type role because they thought players would get all the attention. Which is, nowadays, exactly the point.
He tells us how Moore, the West Ham Legend, was asked to leave the West Ham stadium when watching a game after he retired because he had come in without a ticket.
He never returned, and you cannot fathom the same thing happening to a club legend these days.
Ex-footballers didn’t come into fashion as an obsession until the nineties. To think that Moore, who would have been the Beckham of his day, just missed out, is a sad thought.
It may appear I am speaking highly of the book in the above, and I am.
For a book about an ex-footballer, I knew little about, Dickson does a great job of making it interesting, and writing it well.
But, given it is a biography, and Goodreads only have a 5-point scales, I could only give this a three out of five.
I suppose, in the end, this will be remembered as the greatest insult against Bobby Moore. Our national hero.
Next up we jump away from real life and into this fast-paced holiday flicks
It’s Jack Reacher: The Hard Way
See you then.