Gaffers

A History of Irish Soccer Managers

Trevor Keane, 2010, Mercier Press

Ireland’s national team is not a giant in world soccer. Therefore the book about all the coaches of this team is an interesting read off the beaten tracks. Chronologically it covers all managers since 1955. For all coaches a short biography is presented covering the player and managing career as well as the time with the national team, and by that one also learns how the Ireland soccer progressed in general. The book reads like a fan work based on a lot of background research, a lot of original comments of witnesses and a collection of statistics for every coach. But that also shows that the literary quality is not very high. The witness’ comments repeat very often the same stories as in the general text. Sometimes games which were described earlier in detail come back at a later point when the player history of another coach is told. Coaches, who were just caretakers for one game, get the same space and detail as coaches, who had a significant contribution to the team. With the start of the player career of every coach the narrative is always broken, just to start it at a later point again. That doesn’t lower the immense research work which was needed for the book but with a bit more skills in writing and a cohesive narrative, the book could have been a nice surprise and history lesson about Ireland’s soccer. As it is, it’s just a collection of short biographies of Ireland’s managers.

Biography: 2/3
History: 1/3
Background: 1/3
Tactics & Game philosophy: 0/3

Must read for: No One >> Fans of Irish soccer >> Soccer fans >> All readers

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