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Have you heard of Adrian Doherty? Even if you are a Manchester United fan it’s possible you don’t know the story of one of the most promising youngsters the club produced. A contemporary of Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and others destined to be household names around the world, Adrian Doherty had the potential to be the biggest star of them all. Team mates believed him to be as good as, if not even better than, Giggs himself. Giggs does not demur from that belief: “He could go past people at will”. “He could go inside, outside, play one-twos, pass and move… he was an incredible talent. Incredible”. Offered a five year contract at the age of 17 (which, astonishingly, he turned down!), Doherty was heading to stardom under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson but the fates decided a very different life path that would ultimately end with premature death the day before his 27th birthday following an accident in Holland. The injury which ended his career will draw parallels, one would think, with Paul Lake’s fabulous autobiography, I’m Not Really Here, while the untimely tragic end will bring to mind Ronald Reng’s eulogy to his friend Robert Enke in the wonderful A Life Too Short.
Oliver Kay, Chief Football Correspondent of The Times, has written the story of the boy plucked from the midst of the Troubles by one of the world’s biggest clubs and with the help of over 100 interviews with those who knew him best has produced a fascinating and gripping book. From family, friends and teammates we learn all about the boy, man and player. About his faith, his obsession with music and poetry and above all about his innate talent that had Forest, Arsenal and United fighting for his signature before he was a teenager. It is testament to Kay’s skill as a writer that one of my abiding emotions after reading this book is that I wish I had seen Doherty play. Kay’s writing brings the pace and skill of Doherty to life and has created what will be one of the football books of the year.
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Emil Zatopek was a phenomenon. He changed long distance running forever with his training techniques, his times and his achievements. He won the Olympic Gold Medals in 5000m, 10,000m & the Marathon: at the same Olympics! Incredibly he achieved all he did against the
It is perhaps the historical perspective which lifts this book beyond the average. Askwith,
See our list of The Best Running Books of all Time
Read on with this fascinating article from Richard Askwith, talking about Emil Zatopek
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