The Outsider, By Jonathan Wilson - Paperback review


The “Outsider” here refers to literature’s most famous goalie Albert Camus, and that is characteristic of the tone of this erudite study of the role of the goalkeeper in football; Wilson also references Nabokov, Julian Barnes and Peter Handke.

Goalkeepers have always been eccentric. The 28-stone Bill Foulkes once got up early and ate all his team-mates’ breakfasts. There are chapters on the great Russian, Lev Yashin, and on England’s golden age (Banks, Shilton, Clemence), and on Helmuth Duckadam, who saved four penalties in a European Cup Final. An entertaining study of “that curious figure, both part of the team and somehow different”, who only plays well when his team is doing badly.