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28 December 2010

Luckily, he saw the funny side

I don't like Ricky (Jim Royle) Tomlinson. Never really known why, but at last I've a kind of reason. For Christmas a well-meaning relative has given me Tomlinson's book Football My Arse! a collection of football-related anecdotes that declares itself "The Funniest Football Book You'll Ever Read". Hmm.
Footballers' wives are notoriously protective of their husbands when watching them play, and there are many instances of them getting involved in slanging matches with spectators having a go at their man. Judith Hurst was infamous for standing up for her World Cup hero Geoff, and it was rumoured she had whacked a loud-mouthed critic with her handbag. I wonder if she hit him three times for a hat-trick?
A lot of the stories are like this, pointless and dull. Even the once-good, once-fresh stories ("Oh jaysus and begorrah, Mr Best, where did it all go wrong?") lie like corpses on the page. Scattered Jim Royle-isms can't hide the fact this is a cut'n'paste job of cynical opportunism (originally published @ £10 for the Christmas 2005 market).

In his introduction, Tomlinson indignantly has a go at the way football's run:
Fans need to make the point that they are being ripped off.
Quite so. Fortunately, my relative - and I am grateful, honestly! - bought the book from a charity shop. I imagine the shelves were full of copies of it. Actually, the banality of some of the anti-anecdotes is quite addictive. Here's another one to be getting on with:
Former Newcastle manager and club captain Joe Harvey was a fanatical gardener. One night he came home to find a burglar in his house. Joe chased the intruder out of the back door, and as he pursued him across the garden shouted, 'Whatever you do, don't tread on my roses.'
When he gave a player a trial after a strong recommendation from the club scout, Harvey wrote dismissively on his report card: 'Can't trap a medicine ball.'

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