Book Review – “Gimme The Ball”: My Take On The Beautiful Game by Terry Curran with John Brindley
In October 2012, Terry Curran, released his autobiography Regrets of a Football Maverick in conjunction with journalist John Brindley, a warts and all account of life both on and off the field. Nine years later, post-COVID, Curran once again teamed up with Brindley for a second book, “Gimme The Ball”: My Take On The Beautiful Game.
Whereas Regrets of a Football Maverick followed a fairly conventional timeline, i.e. Curran’s childhood, growing up, football career, and life post-football, his second offering takes a slightly different approach in that the various chapters are divided into three parts, My Football Favourites, My Football Career and Modern Day Football.
My Football Favourites is made up of four chapters. The first two look at Curran’s relationship with two of his former bosses, Jack Charlton and Brian Clough and his admiration for George Best. Whilst many of the anecdotes of these three football legends are repeated from Curran’s first book, what comes across more strongly is the respect, admiration and genuine love he still holds for Charlton and Clough despite the, at times, tempestuous relationship they shared. The remaining two chapters within part one, deal with the club that Curran supports and is probably best known for playing – Sheffield Wednesday. First, Curran reflects on how the 1966 FA Cup Final when The Owls blew a two-goal lead to Everton, saw him become a supporter of the club from Hillsborough. He follows this will his view of the heights of the Ron Atkinson and Trevor Francis eras and the lows since as Wednesday continue to bounce between the Championship and League One, without any prospect of a return to the Premier League in sight. What is evident is Curran’s affection for the club and its fans, and his overriding belief that The Owls should be in English football’s top-flight.
Part two of this book, My Football Career, constitutes the biggest section with seven chapters and as its title suggests follows Curran’s path in the game from his first professional club, Doncaster Rovers in 1973 to his final football league appearance for Chesterfield in 1987. Whilst Curran played for more than a dozen clubs, he is best known for his time at Sheffield Wednesday and to a lesser extent spells at Nottingham Forest, Derby County, Southampton and Everton, where at these last two clubs he picked up a Wembley appearance and League Cup runners-up medal and First Division Championship medal respectively. Once again some of the stories and details are repeated from Curran’s first book, but what emerges strongly from this section, are the regrets he has with some of the choices he made in his career and ‘what might have been’ if Curran hadn’t suffered injuries at certain crucial times. Part two also includes Curran’s brief time as a manager on the non-league circuit at Goole and Mossley and his subsequent coaching career. This final chapter within part two provides his forthright opinion of the way youngsters are coached, providing a neat link into the final part and chapter of the book, Modern Day Football.
Within this closing part of the book, Curran offers his views on topics including Gareth Southgate’s reign as England boss, football post-COVID, VAR, BLM, the Premier League, overseas players and coaches and Women’s football. As with his playing days, Curran takes no prisoners and displays the same confidence when offering his opinion on these areas of the game today. Not everyone will agree with his sentiments, but it should be said that Curran is not afraid to say his piece and is being true to himself.
(Publisher: Morgan Lawrence Publishing Services. September 2021. Paperback: 250 pages)
Contact https://twitter.com/terrycurran_11 for copies of the book