Almanac Soccer: Book Review – ‘What you think you know about football is wrong: The global game’s greatest myths and untruths’

Kevin Moore, What you think you know about football is wrong: The global game’s greatest myths and untruths, Bloomsbury, London, 2019, ISBN 9781472955661. £11,69. eBook ISBN 9781472955685 £9.09.




by Roy Hay


Kevin Moore’s What you think you know about football is wrong arrived in my letterbox the other day. Kevin was the Director of England’s National Football Museum in Preston and then  it moved to the Urbis building in Piccadilly in Manchester. A lovely man with a great vision for making a museum work. It generates about £8 million a year for the City of Manchester, despite not charging for admission. It rotates displays, runs events and conferences and is just mind blowing in its range and brilliance. The only things it lacks is the hologram which still lives at Deepdale in Preston where the museum used to be located. Now it is their research and storage facility. The hologram consists of two mediaeval Chinese figures playing keepy-up until you walk across the screen and one of them morphs into David Beckham, who had a couple of years farmed out by Man U to Preston in his youth.



Hologram at the National Football Museum. Photo: Roy Hay



And then there is the Tom Finney, England winger and known in his day as the Preston Plumber, a one club hero, who was overshadowed in public estimation by Stanley Matthews, but was arguably a greater contributor to the game at club and national level He is immortalised in a statue based on a contemporary photograph at the entrance to Deepdale today.



The splash. Photo: Roy Hay.


Tottenham Hotspur fans in Australia will have their belief confirmed though. Moore argues that Arsenal should not be in the top league in England as an ever present since 1919. Spurs should have been saved from relegation instead at the end of that year. Another chapter argues that English football has never been clean and outlines many of the examples of chicanery and worse that have dogged the game over the years.


Moore even argues that it is not a game of two halves. Most games follow the pattern of the first.


After the events of 1997, when Australia famously blew a two-goal lead in a World Cup qualifying match against Iran at the MCG, many Australians believed what they were told by the pundits that a two-goal lead was the hardest one to defend. The bookies must have been reading Kevin Moore’s book instead. At least one pays out when a team takes a two-goal lead in a match. In 90 per cent of the sample Moore cites it turns out to be the case that the leading team wins the match. So the bookies are playing the odds again.


He champions Brian Clough as the greatest manager of the game in England for taking two clubs—Nottingham Forest and Derby County—to the pinnacle of the game in the country, rather than Sir Alex Ferguson, Bob Paisley or Herbert Chapman. So there is a bit of opinion mixed up among more scientific analysis.


Just the book for footy fans to buy and read so they can use Moore’s material to tell their soccer friends that their cherished beliefs are nearly all wrong. The book for one-upmanship for Father’s Day.



Check out details for Roy Hay’s new book about Albert ‘Pompey’ Austin HERE


More from Roy Hay HERE


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