There will never be another football writer like Brian Glanville.
Erudite, eccentric, brilliant and sometimes maddening but always with an opinion based on vast knowledge and insight of a game he started covering in the Fifties.
Even though he is now in his Eigthies Glanville is still to be seen in press boxes where he writes match reports for The Sunday Times – and still does it the old style by ad-libing his copy.
Not for him the clincism of a laptop – although he does use a mobile phone to dictate which he handles more like a walki-talki – one of his grandsons (there are no copy takers anymore) then taps out Brian’s words and emails them to the sports desk.
It means that Brian’s live reports still have that wonderful feel of, well, being live, containing a deft combination of lyricism and one line wit in the manner of one of his heroes; Groucho Marx.
He says it as he sees it and still asks managers probing questions refusing to be swayed by PR machines.
Brian has written many books on football, both fact and fiction, plus non- football novels and musicals.
But if there is one book of Glanville’s you must read then it has to be “The Story of the World Cup”.
It’s simple but brilliant. It does exactly what it says on the tin.
It is also brilliant from a publishing point of view because every four years ahead of the next World Cup Brian simply adds a chapter from the last tournament and its then re-issued.
Years ago Bobby Moore said of it “There is no better book if you want to learn about the World Cup. Beware of less enjoyable imitations – this is the definitive history.”
Need I say more…?
BB Rating: 9/10
by Rob Shepherd.