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Paperback review: The Footballer Who Could Fly, By Duncan Hamilton


The footballer who could fly was Wyn Davies – the Newcastle United centre forward of the 1960s whose leaping powers bordered on levitation.

He's just one of a roll-call of football greats whom Hamilton eulogises with the enthusiasm of the true fan, describing their super powers so vividly you can replay the scene, of, say Duncan Edwards's goal against West Germany in 1956 in your head. Other superheroes featured here are George Best, Bobby Charlton, Stanley Matthews, Jim Baxter – and Hamilton's father's favourite, the great Jackie Milburn. It is indeed as much an account of Hamilton's relationship with his dad as it is about football, as well as a record of post-war life in the industrial North-east. If you like family memoirs, and social history, and, obviously, football, this book scores a hat-trick.