The Goalkeeper's History of Britain

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9780007291502: The Goalkeeper's History of Britain

If the French are the flair in midfield, the Germans the attack from the inside channels, the Italians the cry-foul defence, then Britain is the goalkeeper: stand alone, the bastion of last resort, more solid than spectacular, part of the team - and yet not. And Britain's place in the world is epitomised by its goalkeepers: the end of Empire abroad came as the army and politicians were being humiliated in Suez and the football team, despite the best efforts of Gill Merrick (Birmingham and England), were being humbled by the Hungarians at home; the thawing of the cold war is begun not over Cuban missiles but over Lev Yashin, the superb and widely admired Russian whose arrival for the world cup in 1966 changes the attitudes of a nation - the Reds cannot be all bad if they have such an exemplary keeper. A genuine, touching story of a nation's affection for football's perennial underdog, of a childhood obsession and of a glorious footballing tradition that culminates - perhaps ends even - in the last truly British goalkeeper: David Seaman.

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Review:

The Goalkeeper's History of Britain is a comic blend of the personal and political seen through the eyes of former BBC Foreign Correspondent and amateur ‘keeper Peter Chapman. Based on the whimsical premise that Britain's character as an island nation finds its sporting embodiment in the shape and stance of the man between the uprights Chapman's chronicle of the 20th century weaves a funny and charming tapestry of personal recollection and saloon-bar history lesson. He argues that the game itself has waged war against the goalie--from the days when a striker could bundle keeper and ball across the goal line and score to the indignities of the passback rule--and that the best of us is found in our struggles to "keep a clean sheet".

It's a vision of the century which sees the siege of the Imperial mindset mirrored in the fortunes of the England football team and those individuals who kept goal--from Reg Matthews to David Seaman, each successive lofty yeoman a totem to the British Way of Life. Chapman has written an intelligent study of the roots and function of identity, but at no point do the scale of his ideas to swamp his comic instinct or finely developed sense of the absurd--this is a readable and amusing take on the meaning of being number 1. --Alex Hankin

Review:

‘Witty and acutely observed, it is the story of post-war Britain told through the eyes of a North London boy brought up on the tradition of goalkeeping legends.’
Daily Mail

‘More than football… woven together with skill and style.’
Independent

‘Well written, charming, funny.’
Sunday Times

‘There are times when words are worth a thousand pictures… invigorating history, but the football too is excellent’
Glasgow Herald

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Chapman, Peter
ISBN 10: 0007291507 ISBN 13: 9780007291502
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PETER CHAPMAN
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Chapman, Peter
Published by Harpercollins Publishers (2008)
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Book Description Harpercollins Publishers, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 320 pages. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0007291507

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Chapman, Peter
Published by Fourth Estate (2008)
ISBN 10: 0007291507 ISBN 13: 9780007291502
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