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)
Monday 15 January 1996
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.
THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 SPORTS BOOKS
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)
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani and Gregorz Krychowiak were all linked but Wenger and Gunners fail on deadline day
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners fans devastated as they become only team in top 5 European leagues not to sign outfield player
David De Gea: Manchester United in bitter war of words with Real Madrid over failed transfer
David De Gea, Peter Odemwingie and the 18 weirdest transfer deadline day stories
Anthony Martial fee: 'Add-on' includes Manchester United signing winning the Ballon d'Or
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...