Man vs Bookshelf

Man vs Bookshelf: Will You Manage?

This entry is part 40 of 104 in the series Man vs Bookshelf

For the first eighteen years of my life, I had little interest in football.

The interest I did have I forced. I was, to greater or lesser extent, a boy, and boys liked football. I should too.

I had a team – Manchester United. Picked for my favourite colour (red) and favourite player (Beckham) who was at his peak when I was young.

But the interest wasn’t there. Not in football or in sport in general. I didn’t follow any of it and I hated playing it. I was no good. I wasn’t confident. All that crap.

It’s my father’s fault. Should I have children – boys or girls – I will do my duty and try to ensure they are passionate about football. If they don’t like it after that fine. I can always have another one.

My parents have no interest in football. Never have. They’re into F1, which is fine, but even if you’re not into football, don’t you have a duty to try and get your children into it? My brother still doesn’t care. Even now, when he understands the implications.

My passion for football came from nowhere. I went off to university and it happened. From not a fan to reading Sky Sports News six times a day, listening to three football podcasts a week and watching every game going. I’ve even trekked up to Manchester ten plus times to see Manchester United in action.

So I’m back on the righteous path. I love the best sport in the world.

But even before I was into it, there was an aspect of the game that fascinated me. An aspect a lot of actual football fans aren’t interested in.

That aspect was football management.

I got my first edition of Football Manager (the management simulator game) back in 2005 when I was 13.

Since then I’ve had almost every edition, racking up thousands and thousands of hours in the process.

It’s something a lot of people don’t get. Here’s a text-based game. You don’t actually play any football, you pick the players who do. But it’s the most immersive, compelling game out there and I love it.

It’s for that reason I’m fascinated by football managers. Something I spoke a little bit about in my Brian Clough blog.

It’s an interest that has led to me adding a few manager bios and autobios to my shelves. I’ve already read and reviewed Brian Clough and Harry Redknapp for this series. With Jose Mourhino, Brian Clough II, Arsene Wenger and three Sir Alex books still to come.

But beyond these manager bios, I have also picked up a load of books on football strategy. Including Inverting The Pyramid by Jonathan Wilson and, of course, this book –

Will You Manage

I read these books not because I want to be a football manager. When would I have the time to write books and blogs nobody wants to read if I was busy managing a team nobody wanted to watch?

It fascinates me.

But Will You Manage is the first book I’ve read around management, not about one specific manager.

Here the author talks about the aspects that make a great manager. Luck, determination, man management. Plus various case studies to support his cases. Looking at managers from various levels of the football pyramid.

I want to tell you what I expected before I tell you what I found, but I can’t. I’m not sure what I expected.

Hell, I’m not even sure if I bought this book myself, or if someone bought it for me, way back when, but I am sure I have it.

My only hint at expectation came when I picked up the book to read it and found a bookmark already nestled inside. Around page 50.

This is not an uncommon occurrence. A good twenty books on my shelves have bookmarks in them from where I’ve started then stopped. More I would have begun and never used a bookmark.

This is not always an indicator of low quality. A lot of the time I’m reading a book, buy another book, and tell myself I won’t read the new book until I’ve finished the old.

But I’m impatient, and I like new things. New things are awesome.

So, I’ll pick up the new book, get several pages in, then realise I’m being stupid. I should be reading the old book, shouldn’t I? I should stick with what I said, right?

Decided, I put the book back on the shelf, and return to that which I was reading before.

Unfortunately, by the time I finish the book I was reading my mind has wandered onto other things. I either buy yet another new book or go on to something else already on the shelf. Leaving the old new book sitting, lonely as a cloud, bookmark resting on page four, wondering if this was all it was meant to be.

Sorry bookmark.

Yet, this bookmark being on page fifty (a fifth of the way through the book) suggested something else.

It suggested the quality of Mr Book hadn’t impressed me. It suggested I had given up in boredom, rather than because I wasn’t supposed to be reading it in the first place.

Good indicators these might have been, but that didn’t mean I could not read the book. No, this is Man vs Bookshelf and enjoyment doesn’t come into it for me as the reader of the book, or you as the reader of the blog.

Into bed I got. Book in hand, ready to go again.

Did I manage?

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge it by its first fifty pages.

This time, of course, I got through the whole book, and I wouldn’t like to say it’s bad.

More, it’s not for me.

It was well researched and had lots of good anecdotes, but it never grabbed me. There was nothing that made me sit up in interest or anything like that.

Also, it was quite surface level stuff. The chapters were short, the book never delving too deep into the subject matter.

It read like one of these reviews actually.

So while I can find little to criticise I can find little to promote either. This book was about as 3/5 out of five as it is possible to get, and in a way that’s the worst thing to be.

I mean a 1/5 may be atrocious, but at least you’ll never forget it.

Next Time

Speaking of 1/5’s, I’ve already finished the next book I’m due to review.

It’s the first of a few books I have around the craft of writing and it’s called, cleverly – Creative Writing.

See you for that.

Series Navigation<< Man vs Bookshelf: The Moaning of LifeMan vs Bookshelf: Creative Writing >>
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International worst-selling author Mark Ayre has been writing since before he could pick up a pen (somehow). An author of mystery and suspense novels including the James Perry Series of mysteries.

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