As a player Ian McGeechan won thirty-two caps for Scotland, and was a fixture in the 1974 Lions team widely regarded as the greatest ever. As Coach of Scotland he plotted the legendary Grand Slam victory over England in 1990 in the most famous home international match of all time. He won every honour as a club coach and was appointed Head Coach of the Lions on four separate occasions – no other coach has led more than one Lions tour.
In 2009 his inspired coaching leadership took the Lions to within a whisker of victory against South Africa in a Test series seen as one of the most momentous the Lions have ever played, and in the 2010 new year honours list he was knighted for his services to the sport.
Lion Man is the story of the past, present and future of British rugby, seen through the unique perspective and experiences of the most influential man within the game today.
With a new manager and several new players having arrived at Anfield, a new era at Liverpool Football Club is well under way. In your Official 2011 Annual, we bring you exclusive interviews with the men who matter inside your favourite club, we reflect on an action-packed last twelve months on the red half of Merseyside, look back at how Reds players fared in last summer’s World Cup and test your knowledge with an LFC quiz. It’s the Annual which has everything a young Kopite could wish for.
When England’s rugby team set off to France to defend their world title, few outsiders gave them much chance. A run of poor results and injuries left them looking under-prepared and outgunned. When they struggled to beat the USA and were destroyed 36-0 by South Africa, a record defeat for England in the World Cup, many feared they wouldn’t even qualify from their group.
Shane Warne is arguably the greatest leg spin bowler cricket has ever seen. He enjoyed a record-breaking Test career with Australia, leading them to a 5-0 whitewash of England in 2007; a hugely successful period as captain of Hampshire; and before he officially retired he led a team of young hopefuls – the Rajasthan Royals – to win the newly created Indian Premier League in 2008. He is a born winner, whose opinion on cricket matters – not only to the general public but to his fellow players as well. His 2006 Times column about the top 50 Test players of all time broke records for the number of hits on the paper’s website – the public wanted to know his opinion of the players of his era. Now he has retired, he feels the time is right to put his extended thoughts down on paper.
‘Terrorism, match-fixing and financial malpractices are not topics that a cricket writer might think of as his bread and butter, but cricket has suffered a traumatic period of late. Many of the pieces here are an examination of the game and where it is heading, and under whose control, as it faces up to the challenge of retaining its traditions in a rapidly changing market place.
In a world dominated by Twitter, where the rush to judgement is so overpowering, the ability to step back from the fray, and to be able to take at least a short time to organize thoughts and opinions, make some calls and hopefully find out a little more, is important’
In 1976, Bayern Munich broke French hearts when they defeated St Etienne in the final of the European Cup. It was a measure of the then State of French football that crowds lined the Champs-Elysees to greet the losing Les Verts. Twenty-two years later, the Paris streets were crowded again, but this time it was the World Cup winners they were cheering. French football had finally come of age.
Le Foot charts France’s remarkable rise from second-class footballing nation to worthy world champions. It describes the influence of Auxerre’s youth academy and the scandals of greedy money men; how CANOTONA became king of England and ZIDANE the world’s best player. It looks at how players like PETIT, BARTHEZ and ANELKA are increasingly acquiring superstar status, iconised by the music, fashion and advertising industries.
Sir Alex Ferguson was once asked what it was like to lead a team out at Wembley. ‘Don’t ask me, ask Geoff Chapple’, came the reply, the Manchester United icon handing out the ultimate accolade to one of non-League football’s most revered figures.
Shaun Goater was signed by Alex Ferguson almost as a political pawn after a Manchester United tour of Bermuda went disastrously wrong. He never made it with United and instead moved on to Rotherham. Undeterred by homesickness and the Yorkshire weather, he became a huge favourite at Millmoor before moving to Bristol City, where his goalscoring exploits endeared him to the fans and caught the eye of Man City manager Joe Royle. He won over the skeptical City following, who had seen him only as a journeyman striker bought to plug a gap. Within a year, he’d become a cult figure and his knack of poaching goals soon gave rise to one of the best modern-day terrace chants ‘Feed the Goat and he will score’. Season after season, the bond between player and supporters grew and his name was etched into City folklore. He was captain for their last match at Maine Road before joining Reading. His career stalled with the Royals when manager Alan Pardew left a few weeks after Goater’s arrival and Steve Coppell took over. He went out on loan to Coventry before Southend United rescued him at the start of their highly successful 2005/06 season. Feed the Goat is the inspirational tale of a universally respected player who refused to give up on his dream.
Carlisle United have had some truly great footballers over the years, but it takes someone very special to attain cult status at Brunton Park. Someone like Jimmy McConnell, who wound up opposition players by telling them he would put them on their backsides before scoring a goal! Then there was the legendary Alan Ross, a goalkeeper who enjoyed reading a newspaper… during a game. Then there was the one and only Stan Bowles, who was collected by taxi from the bokkies just before home games.
Under the guidance of Geoff Chapple, Woking Football Club’s first five years in the conference were accompanied by three FA Trophy triumphs and a continuation of the FA cup glory which began in the early 1990s. Then came the slump, which almost ended in bankruptcy and oblivion, while the 2002/03 season saw the club cling onto its Conference status by a thread following a dramatic last-day escape.
Written by journalist and former Woking player Clive Youlton and the club’s programme editor Paul Beard, this is the remarkable story of Woking Conference years – the fluctuating fortunes of one of the non-League football’s biggest names.
Blackheath FC rugby club, or ‘The Club’ as it is known holds a very special place in the history of rugby football. Not only is it the oldest open club in existence, but it and its representatives have played a crucial part in the development of the game itself; indeed over 240 players of international standing have played in The Club’s famous red-and-black shirt – a record that cannot be matched by any other rugby club.
It’s high octane drama as we follow soccer genius Zack Cassidy from his playing field dreams of becoming a professional footballer, to his dramatic debut with Premier League football club, the highgate comets.
As the league hots up, the players raise their game, but is it going to be enough to beat their arch rivals, the Royston Rovers?
Crammed with rapid football action and packed with training hints and tips, if it’s in the life of a professional footballer it’s in this book…