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Roy: My Life By Roy Race

Release date: 08th October, 2014
Publisher: Century

List Price: 16.99
Our Price: 8.99
You Save: 8 (47%)
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In a week when several publishers have spend small fortunes publicising three ghosted sporting ‘autobiographies’, there was only one literary effort that could possibly trump them.

Written by the sportsman himself, absorbing its humour, subtlety and excitement requires the reader to temporarily suspend belief and accept that events featured from the cover photograph onwards, (which shows the author held aloft by John Bond and other members of West Ham’s 1964, FA Cup-winning side) actually happened. Perhaps his date of birth is a misprint, but in 1964, Roy Race, aka Roy of the Rovers would have been nine years old.

As a hugely amusing antidote to the catty, back-biting, score-settling efforts featuring Messrs Pietersen, Keane and Ferdinand on their respective covers, Roy: My Life offers an ideal opportunity to enjoy sport, rather than be swamped with another succession of well-trailed, ‘he said, she said’ tales reminiscent of a schoolgirl’s playground.

But Roy: My Life is no comic book strip. Instead, it is infused with a keen, subtle sense of humour. For instance, with a respectful nod to Johan Cruyff, he describes the ‘Seegrun shimmy’, named after the fictional captain of the Dutch team, a move which involved Seegrun “somehow swivelling his hips while dropping his shoulder and, at the same time, rotating his neck,” a contortion which gave the impression of Seegrun “running in different directions at once.”

Later, Roy muses over why he was shot, apparently at random, in 1981, though he concludes that perhaps it was simply because he was famous. “The person who hadn’t had a pot-shot taken at him by a disenchanted loner was increasingly few and far between. Assassination seemed to be happening to everyone,” he writes. Roy: My Life contains a liberal dose of similarly amusing lines.

There is, of course, drama – the account of how Roy and his mate Blackie nearly missed the FA Cup final could be made into a six-part TV series and Roy’s team, Melchester Rovers, were not short of hard men such as Big Dunc McKay and Merv Wallace. Wallace, Roy tells us, once crushed a treatment table with his knee having “become enraged while trying to untie a knot in his bootlace.”

If sport is about having fun, not reading about threats and four-letter tirades issued by footballers and managers, then you should ignore this week’s three heavily-publicised sporting tomes and buy Roy: My Life instead.


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