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Fifty Cup Finals My Life in Football By Nick Collins

Release date: 16th May, 2018
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: £19.99
Our Price: £13.36
You Save: £6.63 (33%)
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Since the advent of satellite television and launch of the Premier League, football has developed into the sport around which everything else revolves.

For nine or ten months of the year, it dominates newspaper sport, commands dedicated television channels, is responsible for thousands of related podcasts, millions of websites. A short breather, unless there’s a major international championship, and by August we’re off again for another extended football season.

One man who has witnessed football’s inexorable rise to undisputed sporting prominence first hand is Nick Collins, one of the best-known faces at Sky Sports News. Collins also happens to have watched 50 cup finals between 1990, the eve of football’s modern revolution, and last year’s European Championship final between Portugal and France.

Thankfully, however, this is not a book comprising a rather subjective list of the 50 best finals Collins has witnessed over the past 40 years. Instead, it’s a pacey, well-informed, behind-the-scenes journey which every budding sports reporter should read.

Fresh out of university (we were contemporaries at Bristol University), Collins landed a job at the Aldershot News where it’s fair to say he learnt the reporting ropes.

Yet life is often about being in the right place at the right time and following his ‘apprenticeship’ at Aldershot, Nick Collins was recruited by British Satellite Broadcasting, later taken over by Sky, in time for its inaugural broadcast. It was here, he notes with obvious pride, that a 26-year association with the England team began.

He would watch his first FA Cup final as a professional journalist the same year (1990), a cracker between Crystal Palace and Manchester United that ended 3-3. As he does often, Collins provides the reader with supplementary facts: in this case, Palace’s team was the last all-English starting XI to contest an FA Cup final.

Collins’ journey is peppered with many forgotten aspects of the national sport, like FA Cup second replays, or Sky Sports’ dancing girls who initially accompanied the opening of Monday Night Football.

Here’s a man who gave Sir Alex Ferguson as good as he got following a post-match interview; who interviewed Arsene Wenger on his arrival at Arsenal; who watched as Newcastle’s 10-point Premier League lead over Manchester United crumbled; who was present when England beat Germany 5-1.

Nick Collins has written the back story to football’s quarter century journey towards undisputed prominence, a fascinating tale that has memories, good and bad, flooding back.

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