Sport Book Of The Week: Manchester City Ruined My Life by Colin Shindler

 

At Wembley on 30 May 1999, Colin Shindler faced up to inevitable defeat for his beloved Manchester City, 2-0 down in the League Two play-off final against Gillingham as the 90th minute approached.

An hour later he was celebrating the unlikeliest of victories after two late goals, extra time and penalties. So you would have thought City's meteoric rise since then would have filled him with joy, but by the time they won the Premier League last month he had given up on the team, feeling they had bought the title, not earned it.

In an earlier book, Manchester United Ruined My Life, he detailed the start of his passion; this one has all the pain and anguish of a jilted lover. By interweaving his narrative with accounts of the death of his wife, father and best friend he treads a precarious line about the relative importance he places on football and family life. That he does not fall off that tightrope owes much to the bleakly humorous honesty about his conflicting emotions.

There are vainglorious notes, such as his sexual prowess in the internet dating arena, but it is hard not to sympathise as he attempts to cope with the hand fate dealt him. Having found happiness with a new partner, he dreams of a reconciliation with his other great love. One suspects a continuing estrangement will be a matter of regret rather than ruination.

Published in hardback by Headline, £16.99

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