BOOK OF THE WEEK; World according to Boy from Barlinnie

George Graham: The Glory and the Grief by George Graham (Andre Deutsch, pounds 15.99)

George Graham's autobiography has been described as "an honest account of the workings of a football club." How honest it is is a matter of opinion.

Graham's account of how he came into possession of pounds 425,500 cash in unsolicited gifts from Rune Hauge is at odds with the Premiership inquiry's version. His assertion that he did not believe they were linked to the now infamous transfers of John Jensen and Pal Lydersen stretches credulity - in each case Graham received about 50 per cent of the Norwegian agent's profit shortly after the deal had been completed. Graham insists the monies were gifts and is clearly annoyed that he ever passed the money to Arsenal - while admitting he did so on the best legal advice. He is bitter about the curt manner of his dismissal, yet seems more annoyed at missing out on the pounds 1m pay-off he had negotiated to depart, than the actual departure.

This is not to dispute Graham's love affair with Arsenal. The book opens with an invitation to a tour of his study - "a shrine to Arsenal". Co- written with Jimmy Greaves' ghost, Norman Giller, it is readable with some good tales. The best come from his early playing days with a lively Chelsea side. It was a time, he is keen to inform us in a chapter headed "Bridge of Thighs", when "Gorgeous George" was something of a lad with the lassies.

There are few other revelations. Graham claims the notorious Highbury wage structure was imposed by the board, not by him. He also says he turned down Andrei Kanchelskis because he could not see him playing in the same team as Anders Limpar. Perhaps Joe Royle could explain.

The Boy from Barlinnie, as he likes to refer to himself, had a hard, but largely happy upbringing. The loss of his father and a sister to tuberculosis illustrates the poverty he grew up in. He notes himself that his heavy spending on clothes reflected his childhood deprivations, it probably shaped his appreciation of financial reward as well.

The football chapters are better than average, instead of a deathly blow- by-blow record he offers us his coaching notes to describe Arsenal's European Cup-Winners' Cup triumph and takes us behind the scenes for the '89 championship denouement at Anfield. Those successes underline his managerial ability. He appears to derive more satisfaction from coaching than he did from playing. Being banned has hurt.

Next month is the anniversary of his dismissal by Arsenal. In July he will be able to work in football again. Graham believes he was a scapegoat, he is certainly unfortunate to be the inquiry's only victim. However, given that he is likely to become an influential figure once more it is a shame the mood of his book is one of self-righteous anger, rather than contrition.



1 Playfair Cricket World Cup Guide, edited by Bill Frindall (Headline; paperback, pounds 4.99)

2 Autocourse 1995/96, edited by Alan Henry (Hazelton; hardback, pounds 30.00)

3 The History Of Non-League Football Grounds, Kerry Miller (Polar; hardback, pounds 24.95)

4 Football Fanatic: A Record-Breaking Journey Through English Football, Ken Ferris (Two heads, paperback, pounds 8.99)

5 Olympic Fact Book: A Spectator's Guide To The Summer Games, Rebecca Nelson and Marie Macnee (Visible Ink; paperback, pounds 11.99)

6 Victory! The Story Of The 1995 Ryder Cup, Dermot Gilleece (Weidenfeld & Nicholson; hardback, pounds 12.99)

7 European Football Yearbook 1995/96, edited by Mike Hammond (Sports Projects; paperback, pounds 21.95)

8 Left Foot Forward: A Year In The Life Of A Journeyman Footballer, Garry Nelson (Headline; hardback, pounds 12.99)

9 Not Playing For Celtic, Another Paradise Lost, David Bennie (Mainstream; hardback pounds 12.99)

10 Springbok Rugby: An Illustrated History, Chris Greyvenstein (New Holland; hardback, pounds 24.99)

Chart compiled by Sportspages, 94-96 Charing Cross Road, London (0171- 240 9604) and St Ann's Square, Manchester (0161- 832 8530)

Jeremy Clarkson
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own