A look at the latest offerings
BLUES INSIDER – A QUARTER OF A CENTURY WITH BIRMINGHAM CITY, BY KEITH DIXON, PUBLISHED BY PITCH PUBLISHING, PRICE: £12.99, RATING OUT OF 10: 7
KEITH Dixon is a Birmingham City fanatic and that certainly comes across in his new book.
As he says, it’s his personal account of what’s gone on at the Blues over the past 25 years.
A Bluenose for more than 60 years, Dixon has immersed himself in the club and has the credentials to write about what’s happened off the field in that time – and it’s certainly been eventful.
One of the reasons no doubt that the book focuses on the past quarter of a century is that Dixon was managing director of Triton Showers and responsible for them becoming main sponsors of the Blues from 1992-95.
How much did it cost? A total of £100,000 for three years to be paid by three annual payments of £33,333.33! You wouldn’t get much with that money these days…
The book covers the period when the business of Birmingham’s owners, the Kumars, went into receivership and how David Sullivan, David Gold and Karren Brady came to get their hands on the club.
There is some interesting material in this section of the book and Dixon recalls his first meeting with Brady.
She said she wanted to renegotiate the sponsorship deal with Triton as the contract was no longer valid, but he pointed out that the contract was with Birmingham City FC and not the Kumars’ business which had run into trouble.
The book covers a lot of ground as Dixon has been involved with Birmingham in a number of different ways over the years, whether that has been through writing books, magazine articles, being an academy scout and committee member of the former players’ association.
He also talks about his attempts to buy the club and there are interviews with influential people behind the scenes.
There are also gems dotted around the book, too. In a section called Did You Know That?, Dixon includes a little story about room-mates Paul Devlin and Robbie Savage. “It was their routine that Robbie went to their room first and hid himself. When Paul got to the room Robbie would jump out and they would fight like Kato and Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies.” There’s also a story Dixon’s son Ben tells from his days working in the club’s commercial department. It came the day after the club’s boozy Christmas party. “It was alleged that I fell asleep at my desk, well I was only resting my eyes…” he said. “There was this loud banging on the desk. It was Karren Brady. ‘I hope you’re not asleep,’ she said, to which I replied, ‘I doubt it as I’m talking to you’. At this point she stormed off…! The book is a bit random at times and goes off at some strange tangents, but if you are a fan of Birmingham City, there is bound to be something that will interest you. - John Lyons
THE BEAUTIFUL GAME – THE INFOGRAPHIC BOOK OF FOOTBALL, BY JOHN ANDREWS, PUBLISHED BY AURUM PRESS, PRICE: £9.99, RATING OUT OF 10: 9
IF YOU’RE a bit tired of bog-standard football books and autobiographies, then The Beautiful Game is well worth a look. And ‘look’ is the right word – as a collection of colourful infographics and Daniel Nyari’s superb player portraits give this book a stylish look. But it’s not just visually where this book hits the mark. Content-wise, there is plenty to enjoy, too, across a wide range of subjects. Whether you want to know about the tallest, shortest, oldest, youngest, richest, quickest and most superstitious, then you’ll find it here. Another plus about this fun and factual book is that it covers the world game, so you’ll find fascinating stats and trivia about football from Africa to Asia.
You can dip in and out of this book at your leisure and you’ll find something of note. It would make an ideal present for a football nut.
On the advertising for the book, it states: “A graphic guide to the world of football that is perfect for anyone who wants to know anything and everything about the biggest sport on the planet…”
It’s a big claim, but this book gives it a really good go. - John Lyons
DRAWING THE 92 FOOTBALL fans are being offered the chance to get their hands on a book which has been 12 years in the making!
After his first sketch of Nottingham Forest’s City Ground in 2005, artist Jamie B Edwards has spent a dozen years drawing every single Premier and Football League ground in the country in his inimitable bold colour style, which has now been collected together in one high-quality hardback book entitled Drawing the 92.
Each drawing is accompanied by a stadium description supplied by Duncan Adams, creator of the footballgroundguide.com, as well as quotes from fans and ex-players.
The book is set to be published in the Autumn following a launch exhibition of the drawings at the National Football Museum in Manchester in November. Mark Chapman, presenter of Match of the
Day 2, has written a foreword for the book after he bought several of Jamie’s prints at his market stall in Manchester.
In it he states: “The artwork in this book is beautiful but what makes it a glorious offering is that when you arrive at the drawing of your own special ground, it will take you back to your own special place with your own special memories.”
There is a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the book – check out http://bit.ly/DT92_KS