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My Friend Jack

Football My Arse

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A collection of "funny" football stories, told by Liverpudlian wit, Ricky Tomlinson. Well, all scousers are funny, aren't they? Er - no. The best bits are at the end, where Ricky has no input or comment to make on several pages of commentator and management slips of the tongue.


What I found particularly irritating was the way that, at the end of many of the anecdotes, Tomlinson found it necessary to add a cringing pun. Presumably these contributions are what entitle him to claim authorship. To be fair, he does acknowledge the names of those whose efforts have gone into gathering the various stories together.


There is one - just one - incident in the book which I can claim to have been a witness to: the one where the Brentford goalkeeper - having won the ball - heard a whistle, assumed the ref had awarded a free kick and so placed the ball on the ground, stepped back to take a free kick only to see Bristol Rovers' Marcus Browning kick the ball into the net. The whistle came from the crowd and the ref awarded a goal.

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I first enjoyed this book a couple of years ago and having recently seen Ricky in The Royle Family and on commercial TV, as a promoter of I can't recall what product, I checked back to ensure it was THE Ricky - and of course it was. If ever a character was 'larger than life' in both senses, it's Ricky Tomlinson. If you ever need a laugh, you only have to look at the massive frame see the look of outrage and hear the infectious giggle - you know a good'un is coming up. Is he like this in 'real' life, you wonder.


This book is a scrapbook of daft comments by footballers, managers and spectators of the Beautiful Game, as it is sometimes dubbed - as opposed, one imagines. to The Ugly Game with the oval ball. This one I hit on at random concerns the late Bobby Robson (p 106):


After England had scraped past Cameroon in the 1990 World Cup Finals he [Robson] said, 'We didn't inderestimate them. They were better than we thought.' And of goalkeeper Shilton:'What can I say about Peter Shilton? Peter Shilton is Peter Shilton and he has been Peter Shilton since the year dot.'


Well, yes, knights do need to keep their armour bright, don't they?

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