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In The Shadow of a Giant By Mel Charles

Release date: 20th September, 2009
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

List Price: 17.99
Our Price: 9.49
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In the Shadow of a Giant
By Mel Charles
John Blake Publishing

Sportsbookofthemonth.com price: £ 9.49, saving 40% on rrp


Mel Charles's In the Shadow of a Giant contains some marvellous anecdotes, but is essentially a wonderful tale of football in the fifties and sixties when leather lace-up balls could inflict serious damage on a centre half's head.

No less an authority than Pele declared that "Mel Charles was the best centre half of the 1958 World Cup," after Charles, then of Swansea (and soon to be of Arsenal) performed heroically as Wales made the tournament's quarter finals. He was also named in FIFA's World Cup XI, an accolade which confirmed that Pele's remarks were not merely a kindly, post-match platitude.

The 'giant' referred to in the book's title is, of course, Mel's more famous brother John, who at the time of the 1958 World Cup was playing for Juventus. Modestly, Mel maintains that his own profile soared partly because of his impressive performances in Sweden and partly thanks to his brother's spectacular progress in Italy.

But Mel Charles was an international footballer in his own right, though unlike some of the 23 year-olds who today can 'write' their first 'autobiography' months after their international debut, he has had plenty of time to reflect upon a successful sporting career and his life afterwards. His playing record bears comparison with anyone, while some of his post-footballing escapades suggest he probably should have stayed in football where he was unlikely to remain in anyone's shadow.


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