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One of Mike Atherton’s ‘Top Ten Best Sports Books’ in The Times
In 1974 the brilliant and controversial Brian Clough made perhaps his most eccentric decision: he accepted the Leeds United manager’s job. As successor to Don Revie, his bitter adversary, he was to last only 44 days. In one of the most acclaimed novels of this or any other year, David Peace takes us into the mind and thoughts of Ol’Big’Ead himself, and brings vividly to life one of post-war Britain’s most complex and fascinating characters.
You might think only football fans would appreciate this smart, punchy novel but you no more need a knowledge of the game's 1970s heyday than you need a detailed knowledge of employment law to enjoy Peace's miners' strike novel, GB84.
This absorbing novel re-creates the voice of Brian Clough, one of England's most charismatic football managers, who specialised in turning small teams into spectacular overachievers. ... What emerges is a convincing portrait of a man motivated by setbacks and slights, who never felt happy winning, just a surge of vengeful pleasure
If Euripides had ever tried ghosting football memoirs he could not have done it better.
The Damned Utd is an overwrought, overblown, sliding tackle of a book. I loved it.
Peace is an inventive and atmospheric writer, setting his cheerless and tense story against the wider events of that year's two general elections and the Watergate scandal.
It is not every day I read a book which I then want to recommend to everyone. I got through The Damned United by David Peace in two gripping sessions. It is about - and written through the eyes of - Brian Clough during his disastrous 44 day tenure as manager of then champions Leeds United. It mixes fact and fiction sufficiently for it to be called a novel, but it brings to life not just a huge, dark and fascinating character, but also the era when football became something of an obsession for me. It also eases any concerns I have that my book has too much swearing in it. By comparison with the fictional Clough, my tongue is soap.
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