Book Review – We Paid to Play: Reflection of playing football at school and local leagues by Kenneth McLauchlan
The synopsis on the back of the book informs potential readers that We Paid to Play: Reflection of playing football at school and local leagues, is both an “interesting…educated” and “fascinating read”. And if you make claims like that then you need to deliver.
Having set the bar so high, the reality for this reader was that it failed to meet those expectations. This mixture of Kenneth McLauchlan’s playing career from schoolboy to adulthood and his very general and fleeting observations on football, are sadly disappointing. The details and anecdotes about his experience as a player feel flat and lack engagement and in a number of places within the book there are some major factual errors.
Take for instance this sentence taken from page 49. “Liverpool had a successful club side with two good wingers in Phil Thompson and Ian Callaghan – though neither of them featured in the world cup after the first game.” Firstly McLaughlin has confused Phil Thompson who was a defender at Anfield between 1971 and 1984, with the Liverpool winger Peter Thompson who plied his trade between 1963 and 1973. Secondly, whilst Peter Thompson was in England’s 1966 provisional 28 man World Cup squad he was cut from the final 22. Thirdly, in the 1966 World Cup, Ian Callaghan only played in last group game against France and not in the opener v Uruguay. Lastly, the capitalisation is inconsistent throughout the book, and in the example on page 49, refers to the “world cup”. Unfortunately these are not the only errors and they are distracting to the reading experience. It leaves you wondering who did the proof reading for the book.
The fact is though that there is no joy in having to write such a review and indeed our intention is not to be disrespectful to either the author or publishers, but to provide an honest account from our reviewer to our readers and followers.
(Publisher: Olympia Publishers. June 2022. Paperback: 194 pages)
Buy the book here: We Paid to Play