Brown Out, by Brian Belton

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The autobiography of Sunderland's prolific striker Len Shackleton famously contained a chapter entitled 'The Average Director's Knowledge of Football', which consisted of a single blank page. But it is not an accusation that could be levelled at Terence Brown, the chairman of West Ham for 15 turbulent years from 1992. Not only did he play at a decent level but he found time in between building a property empire to watch many hundreds of games, not all involving his beloved Irons. A biography of this decent, reticent man could have had strictly limited appeal. Fortunately, Brian Belton has broadened his scope to produce an engrossing history of the club as it passed from being an East End family concern into Icelandic ownership, though his innumerable (and often irrelevant) asides about his own love of West Ham are an irritation. His verdict on the Brown era is ultimately positive: Brown Out perhaps, but certainly not a total power failure.

Published by Pennant Books, £16.99