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The Corridor of Certainty By Geoffrey Boycott

Release date: 15th September, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

List Price: £20
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The custom used to be that, once retired from their chosen sport, famous ex-sportsmen would eventually settle down and co-operate with a ghost writer to produce a more-or-less definitive ‘autobiography’.

This gave him or her an opportunity to reflect upon glittering performances, to recount once more their most memorable contests and to pepper the narrative with a handful of amusing, well-chosen anecdotes. It was, of course, also an unmissable chance to settle some old scores in print. Once upon a time, these sporting ruminations were bundled together and wrapped in an eye-catching cover before the publisher’s PR team got cracking, selling their latest wares to anyone who would listen.

Geoffrey Boycott has done this at least once, possibly twice before, if we include Geoffrey Boycott on Cricket, published in 1999 and Geoffrey Boycott: The Autobiography, published in 2006 and re-released last year.

His latest offering, The Corridor of Certainty, described as his “first autobiographical work for more than fifteen years”, provides readers with very little new material. He talks of his battle with cancer and of his deep love for his wife and daughter, but the book is hardly laden with revelatory tales.

Admittedly, Boycott is a little like a sporting version of Marmite – you either love him or hate him – and large numbers of his fans will, undoubtedly, lap this up, but ultimately, this is a disappointing book.

Boycott was a brave, hard-working, stubborn batsman who faced down many opponents when others cowered. Once he got on top of a bowler, his phenomenal talent shone like few others. It was a joy to watch.

Unfortunately, however, publishing has become less profitable, which means publishers stick to what they know will sell, hence Wayne Rooney will produce three ‘autobiographies before he retires; other sportsmen and ex-sportsmen will follow suit. Geoffrey Boycott has become part of this regrettable trend when frankly, another Boycott autobiography is one more than anyone needs.


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