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back from the brink

Includes over 80 
player profiles
ISBN 1901 746 47 X
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Back from the Brink
by Justin Blundell
Published November 2006
"A fascinating account of the club’s austerity years"

"A gripping read, thanks to the author's meticulous research and keen eye for anecdotes and bizarre facts.
A finely crafted, insightful piece of club history"
Jon Spurling, FourFourTwo - Book of the month - Jan 2007 - Full Review

In this amusing, irreverent and fascinating account, Justin Blundell traces the events of the club's lost youth between the end of the Great War and the worldwide economic crisis that almost scuppered the club yet ushered in a new era under James Gibson.
Along the way, we re-visit some of the most important events in the club's history; the extraordinary boycott attempt of 1930, the incident on the Moors that almost wiped out an entire team and the birth of the youth policy that paved the way for the Busby Babes and the glorious post-war period.
Featuring over 120 player profiles, from greats such as Billy Meredith, Frank Barson and Joe Spence to the one-game cloggers who lit up Old Trafford afternoons with their endeavour, courage or lack of ability. Blundell's punchy account deserves to stand alongside the many volumes written about the post-war glory years - it tells the story of how United survived the Depression Years and came back from the brink. More...


insider's guide to mufc

£20 - Hardback
Illustrated in full colour
with over 100 photographs
ISBN 1901 746 41 0 - Order Here


The Insider's Guide to Manchester United:
Candid Profiles of Every Red Devil Since 1945
by John Doherty
with Ivan Ponting

CONTAINING JOHN DOHERTY'S SUBJECTIVE views on each of the 348 men to the end of season 2004-05 who have played for the club at senior level since the war, The Insider's Guide To Manchester United is the definitive Manchester United players' guide. Documenting every player to have appeared for the Red Devils since the war, Doherty (an original Busby Babe and chairman of the United Old Boys committee) candidly reveals the strengths, weaknesses and his personal memories of United's finest.


birth of the babes



The Birth of the Babes
Manchester United Youth Policy 1950-57

by Tony Whelan
Foreword by Sir Alex Ferguson
Preface by Cliff Butler

The emergence in the 1950s of talented footballers such as Duncan Edwards and Bobby Charlton was a result of the first truly comprehensive scouting and coaching operation English football had known. As a player Matt Busby had learned through bitter experience of the 'sink or swim' approach that prevailed at most football clubs and realised that the harnessing of the full talents of footballers required a more involved approach. If a player had a gambling or drinking problem for instance, this would affect his performance on a Saturday and would therefore become the club's problem. More...


This Simple Game

£16.95 - Hardback - ISBN 1901746496


This Simple Game - The Footballing Life of Ken Barnes
As Told to Jimmy Wagg

Published December 2005

Ken Barnes was widely regarded as one of the finest footballers of his generation never to have won an England cap. During a distinguished playing career with Manchester City, Ken appeared in the FA Cup finals of 1955 and 1956 and later captained the club before retiring in the early 60s. He spent nearly a decade away from Maine Road as a manager of Wrexham and Witton Albion before returning to Maine Road as a coach under Joe Mercer. Ken subsequently went on to serve under every City manager as either a coach or chief scout from Joe Mercer to Joe Royle. In his time Ken has seen tactical trends come and go - from the ‘deep lying centre-forward’ via ‘wingless wonders’ to today’s ‘holding midfielder’ and is uniquely placed to give his opinions on them all. More...


Includes over 50 
historic photographs
ISBN 1901 746 25 9
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With Dante Friend
Foreword by Fred Eyre

One of the most perceptive descriptions of Manchester City’s play during their glory years was made by Manchester Evening News reporter Peter Gardner who said that “When Youngy plays, City play”. For all the talk in the intervening years of greats such as Summerbee, Bell and Lee, it was the local lad made good who made most impact when it mattered.

A tall, leggy striker with a venomous left-foot shot, Young scored in every significant game for City in the late 60s. Scorer of two goals in the 1968 Championship win up at Newcastle, the scorer of the 1969 FA Cup Final winner and the first goal in the 1970 Cup Winners’ Cup final, Neil Young played as significant a role in the success and style of the Mercer-Allison partnership as anyone. Yet by 1972 he was allowed to leave the club as City began their now familiar relationship with underachievement and mismanagement.

In ‘Catch a Falling Star’, Neil Young explains what he has been up to in the years since his sizzling shots stung the hands of the country’s finest goalkeepers. Following his premature exit from Maine Road. Here he frankly discusses the problem that faced footballers of the pre-Premiership era: “When I left Rochdale for the last time one Friday afternoon I had a week’s wages... about £60. I drove home and sat in my lounge for about two hours, wondering what the hell I was going to do. I had a car on HP, a mortgage, a wife and three children to feed. I was the provider who could no longer provide. I had no savings whatsoever and my wife didn’t work. I didn’t see it coming. It was a calamity waiting to happen.”

Thus starts Neil’s decline into illness and depression. During the next painful decade Neil suffered numerous illnesses, lost his family, his mother and survived a suicide attempt. Thankfully, he has emerged with his spirit intact thanks largely to the love of his third wife, Carmen. ‘Catch a Falling Star’ is the moving tale of a how a star on the wane managed to mount a personal comeback as impressive as any achieved on the pitch by City's star-studded squad of the late 60s.


‘A quirky look at the world of the quizmaster... excellent example questions.’

‘Excellent advice on the way it should be done. If only all quizmasters read this first.’

‘‘The sample questions are excellent, the light-hearted tone a joy.’

£7.99 paperback
ISBN 1901746402
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by John Dawson

In Quiz Setting Made Easy, John Dawson explores the very essence of human existence. In his case the answer to the ancient philosophical conundrum ‘What sets humans apart from the animal kingdom?’ is straightforward. It is not the ability to form tools, communicate or feel empathy with our fellow planet dwellers but our desire to acquire (and retain) as much trivia as possible. In brief, this is his explanation for modern Britain’s obsession with the pub quiz and the consequent growth in the number of question and answer books, many of which have been published under the misapprehension that all a budding quiz setter needs to succeed is a large enough selection of questions that can be adapted according to circumstance.

Yet, as Quiz Setting Made Easy makes clear, there are many pitfalls for the budding Magnus Magnusson, not least the murmurs of complaint from contestants attempting to answer vaguelyworded and poorly researched questions. Then there are the potential disasters and the nagging doubts that bring the quiz setter out in a cold sweat in the middle of the night: Does the venue have a PA system? How do I make sure people turn up? What happens in the event of a tie? Who marks the questions, them or me?

Written in light-hearted vein, Quiz Setting Made Easy is designed to soothe the quiz setter’s brow and bring back the fun to what is, after all, a leisure-time pursuit. In addition to his expert advice on the dos and don’ts of quiz setting, John illustrates the style and expertise required of the fully fledged question-master. With 72 rounds containing over 1,100 expertly worded questions, John Dawson makes enough suggestions for alternative topics, interval rounds, tie-breakers and music rounds to keep a quiz-setter going for years. His ideas could also be adapted for use in the classroom, during wet weekends in Cleethorpes or the 90 degrees heat of an M6 traffic jam... in fact anywhere humans pursue the trivial.

About the Author

John Dawson was born and brought up in Liverpool. He taught for some years in Oxford after attending university there, though he dedicated far more time to folk music and bar billiards than to anything academic. An itchy brain took him to Kenya, Egypt, and back to Kenya, where he earns a multifarious living as an editor, writer, and photographer. He is the co-author of the wildlife book Africa Alive.

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