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Books - Strachan: My Life in Football (2006)
|Celtic Multimedia | Media | Players & Managers Biogs|
DetailsTitle: Strachan: My Life in Football
Author: Gordon Strachan with Jason Thomas
Manager/Player Homepage: Gordon Strachan
'To get the best picture of the stress of football management, one only has to watch people like me during matches ... you look across at the other manager, and think: 'Daft bugger.' Then, you realise you are behaving the same way. One minute, you are saying to yourself: 'You need to calm yourself down.' The next minute, you are going off your head again.' [Gordon Strachan]Gordon Strachan has had one of the most illustrious careers in modern football. As a player, he was the heartbeat of Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen in the early 1980s, before being signed by Ron Atkinson to play for Manchester United. He captained Leeds to championship in the early 1990s, won 50 Scottish caps and went on to manage Coventry and Southampton.
A former regular on Match of the Day, and one of the most honest and interesting voices on the game, he is now manager of Celtic.
This book is a fascinating mix of both Gordon's story and a brilliant analysis on the way the game is played and run. Refreshingly candid on everything from the stress and pressure managers are under to the players and bosses Gordon has worked with, this will be the one of the most explosive football books of 2006.
Review(from Celtic Underground)
"We all dream of producing brilliant footballing teams, but for the vast majority of us, the starting point, if not our approach throughout our entire managerial careers, has to be more basic. The fact is that our jobs do not usually depend on the football our teams play, they depend on results."
Given Gordon Strachans recent comments on the way we have played this quote from his book stuck with me. At this point in his life he was under the influence of Howard Wilkinson, one of the two men he credits with his rise in football and his greatest influences. No, Alex Ferguson is not the other he credits. That honour goes to Ron Atkinson. Strachan cuts out Ferguson for not showing him enough respect.
The spat between Strachan and Ferguson is certainly a highlight in the book. Strachan had gone behind Ferguson's back to sign a pre-contract with Cologne. These are the days when managers often arranged players' transfers. Aberdeen eventually had to pay-off Cologne to allow Strachan to join Manchester United. Ferguson then failed to sign Trevor Steven from Everton to replace Strachan so he was stuck with him at United. The ultimate is that Strachan believes Ferguson's United deliberately lost 1-0 to Derby to seal Coventry's relegation in 2000/01.
There is no disputing his playing career. Signed by Billy McNeill at Aberdeen he flourished more under Ferguson and went on to win two championships, the Scottish Cup three times, the League Cup and in 1983 the European Cup Winners' Cup. Ferguson certainly gave them a siege mentality in coming to Glasgow and surrounded Strachan with some very good players. Surprisingly Strachan picks Andy Watson as the most underrated midfield player worthy of special note. An FA Cup win over Everton the highlight trophy wise of his Manchester United career and a resurgence at Leeds United winning both the Second Division and the Championship. The fact Leeds doubled his salary despite dropping a division was the single biggest motivational factor in moving. With Coventry on the lookout for a future successor to Ron Atkinson Strachan fitted the bill perfectly as he still had enough in the tank to be an influential player whilst being groomed for the manager's job.
Not forgetting a great career with Scotland. Strachan opens the book with the pressure managers are under and how they can never escape that. He was unfortunate enough to be sitting in the dugout the evening Big Jock died in Cardiff. Asked a few weeks previously what he would do out with the game Big Jock replied "for me there is no life at all after football, no life at all". Strachan obviously feels the same although his fifteen months out of the game gave him a chance to reflect and regroup. This helped him deal with his disastrous start to life at Celtic.
From a Celtic perspective I got the impression the final chapter "Hoop Dreams" was a late add-on and covered not much more than the disaster against Artmedia Bratislava, Motherwell and Clyde. I was interested to read a chance encounter with Dermot Desmond at the Cheltenham Festival did Gordon Strachan no harm in his Celtic interview process and his rebuilding work saw Boruc, Zurawski and Nakamura employed collectively at less per week than the £34,000 paid to one of O'Neill's signings. In fact the highest wage was 45% of the highest wage under O'Neill. Furthermore Nakamura cost less than half the reputed £2.5m. By the time he tells you he had spent less than half that which O'Neill spent on his first year in transfers you have a tear in your eye.
Throughout the book I found the chip on Strachan's shoulder becoming heavier and heavier. He appreciates the good life football has given him however struggles with the baggage that goes with it. It was Ferguson's fault. The referees were all against me. They had bigger players or they had smaller players. His spat with a driver filling his car with fuel on the day of losing 3-1 to Rangers makes you on the one hand glad he feels the hurt just as much as we do whilst on the other embarrassed he can't walk away.
Is WGS suffering from WMS (Wee Man Syndrome) or are you glad he is on our side and feels the pain we do? I will leave that one up to you to decide.
Product DetailsHardcover: 312 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (January 2006)
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
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