Book Review: You Can Do It: How to Find Your Voice and Make a Difference by Marcus Rashford (Written with Carl Anka)

Footballers are often referred to as role models and while a lot of footballers do try to serve this purpose, few really embrace and take full responsibility in the way that Marcus Rashford has. As well as his performances on the pitch, off it, in recent years he’s really stepped up, in particular with regard to his fight for free school meals. In addition, in 2021 he launched a book club aimed at children aged 8 to 12 as a means of developing literacy and a love of reading. As part of this project, last year saw him release his first book, You Are A Champion – an inspirational book to guide and educate young people to be the best they can be – and this year his first children’s novel, The Breakfast Club Adventures, was published. Not one to rest on his laurels, Rashford has followed up You Are A Champion with a second inspirational life guide for children and teens – You Can Do It.

Styled and designed in the same dynamic and engaging way as his first book, You Can Do It maintains, too, the positive, inspiring and motivational approach as it tackles really important themes, such as kindness, tolerance, acceptance, resilience and community. The book doesn’t shy away from difficult issues too, openly raising them and tackling them in ways that are relatable, wise and constructive. The sense of inclusivity is also really prominent and the way the book encourages positive dialogue around race, religion and gender is superb. So too are the book’s resounding messages, which really aim to bolster young people and foster positive characteristics. It is the type of book that has the power to really speak to young readers and to make a difference and having Marcus Rashford’s name behind it only serves as further inspiration.

Indeed, while a lot of footballers, and sports stars in general, opt to take the autobiography route when it comes to book deals, and there is often more than a hint of self-promotion to it all, it is refreshing and inspiring that Rashford, still a young man himself, has chosen to extend his genuine interest in, and fight for, young people by writing a book aimed specifically at them. There’s no ego or self-importance here; Rashford uses his voice and his power not to explore his own life but to help young people explore theirs. His role matters only in as much as he is reaching out and encouraging others. And how encouraging it is for young people to have an England and Manchester United star taking the time and interest in them, to feel a connection with and be understood by a footballing hero. It’s one thing parents, teachers and guardians trying to inspire young minds, but a bona fide superstar is quite another – I know who I’d be inclined to listen to as a football-mad youngster! And that Marcus Rashford has chosen to use his voice in this way is a real testament to him and his values. Wouldn’t it be great if other footballers, sports stars and celebrities took up the baton too?

Jade Craddock

(Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books – Main Market edition. July 2022. Paperback: 224 pages)


Buy the book here:Marcus Rashford

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Book Review: Manchester United Collectibles by Iain McCartney

Manchester United are probably one of the most famous football teams on the planet and therefore the appetite and interest in anything associated with the Red Devils from the past and present of the Old Trafford Club is huge.

This slim tome from Iain McCartney, a Scot who fell under the spell of the side from the red half of Manchester as a schoolboy, “looks at some of the most iconic and interesting pieces of Manchester United history.” McCartney is well placed to write this book, since he is a respected collector and editor of the Manchester United Collectors Club, Chairman of the Manchester United Writers Association, as well as author of a number of books on United.

It was a pleasant surprise to find that Amberley had upgraded the paper quality of this book compared to their Fifty Defining Fixtures series and also that it contained a good number of quality colour illustrations. However, the layout at times seemed strange with some of the pages containing large areas of blank unused space and the book would have benefited from clearer direction for the reader on the locations of items that McCartney was referring to in his text, i.e. programme overleaf.

On the positive side, this book has some interesting pieces amongst the 140 illustrations, which will appeal to football fans and collectors irrespective of whether they support the Red Devils or not. Also, McCartney has some great advice for collectors on ways they might specialise or develop their own collection and over the eight chapters looks briefly at the range of United associated collectibles, including traditional items such as programmes, various types of cards, badges, tickets, books, magazines, newspapers and pennants as well as some more obscure memorabilia including Funeral Order of Services and Balance Sheets & Accounts. There are as expected included items pertaining to the Munich Disaster, the European Cup triumph of 1968 and league title wins during the 1960s, with the emphasis on the pre and post war period rather than the Premier League era.

McCartney admits himself, that individual books could have been easily been dedicated to United collectibles such as programmes, tickets, and cards, so to produce in less than 100 pages something as engaging as this book is quite an achievement.


(Amberley Publishing. August 2018. Paperback 96pp)


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FA Cup Final 2010/11: Sweet dreams are made of this….

And so the 2010/11 season comes ever closer to finishing, with the FA Cup Final this weekend. A reassuring date in May that sits there in the football calendar and marks the passing of time. An event that has always for me had the, “…I remember where I was…” tag-line. Something that grows up with you, a constant that is there as you go through life.

In the year I was born 1962, the FA Cup Final was between Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley. In a game that has become known as “The Chessboard Final” due to the tactical and cat and mouse nature of the play, Spurs emerged winners 3-1 with goals from Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Smith and a Danny Blanchflower penalty. The Clarets had equalized with a goal from Jimmy Robson on 50 minutes, but the North London team went ahead 2-1 within a minute and sealed Cup Glory with just ten minutes remaining.

However, it wasn’t until 1970 that I have any recollections of watching my first FA Cup Final and then it was the replay at Old Trafford and not the first game at Wembley. The picture of being sat at home with my dad watching that game on 29 April 1970 is still a vivid one in my mind. We didn’t have a colour television, so it was black and white images that we watched that night. I remember my mum coming into the room just as Leeds scored through Mick Jones on 35 minutes and in typical football superstitious style, she was banned from coming into the room until the game was over. These days that Replay is viewed as something of a brutal encounter, but 1970’s football was a very different and physical beast to that of the game today and so watching that night it didn’t seem as though this was a “dirty” game. Chelsea got back into the game in the second half but left it late with a Peter Osgood header just 12 minutes from time. Extra-time followed and for some reason we didn’t put the lights on, so black and white shafts of light flicked across our faces as in the last minute of the first period of extra time, a long throw from Hutchinson caused confusion in the Leeds defence and Dave Webb headed home what turned out to be the winner.

Subsequent years and FA Cup Final days are linked in with my dad’s and my passion for cricket. This meant that for a number of years, any glimpses of the Final “live” were restricted to the tea interview in between innings. Even though I loved playing cricket, when Cup Final day came around I invariably prayed for rain! If the gods of precipitation had done their work I could sit myself down and take in the full glory of the BBC’s coverage (I was and am a BBC man!) that included down the years special editions of Mastermind, Question of Sport and It’s a Knockout all featuring fans of the Cup Final teams. It was a real marathon which featured players at their team hotel, their journey to the ground and more analysis than you could care to take on. It was a feeling of real excitement once the game started. It was only once the game was over and the Cup was presented (barring replays in those days), that you could rise from the sofa, head muzzy from 8 hours in front of the television and stomach full from snacking during this period to get back to the rest of Saturday.

With the knees having called time on my cricket career, this weekend as the City’s from Manchester and Stoke battle for the Cup, I’ll be once more adorning a sofa to take in the action. More likely though I’ll settle down to watch 30 minutes or so before kick-off, but it’ll give me the chance to reflect and savour the memories of Cup Finals past and toast the winners and losers.

2010/11: Bradford City 1911 – When the FA Cup Came Home

By no stretch of the imagination has the 2010/11 season been a good one for Bradford City. Currently in 17th place, with 11 games to go and with very littleto play for apart from pride. Peter Taylor recently departed from the Bantams and it is left to Peter Jackson to guide the West Yorkshire club through the remainder of this season. However, a century ago things were very different for Bradford City…….

2011 marks the centenary of Bradford City’s FA Cup winning season. To commemorate this remarkable event, an exhibition – When the FA Cup Came Home – will be held at Bradford Industrial Museum from Saturday 19 March 2011 until Sunday 12 June 2011.

Through archive images, film footage and original objects, the exhibition will illustrate how the club achieved arguably the most famous and popular triumph in Bradford’s footballing history. A victory made even more remarkable by the club becoming the very first recipient of the current trophy, designed and produced by Fattorini’s of Bradford.

When the FA Cup Came Home will chart the footballing journey to FA Cup success – from a cold January afternoon in New Brompton to a grand day out and disappointment in a Crystal Palace Final against the mighty Newcastle United, culminating in victory at Old Trafford, Manchester, in a hard-fought replay.

It will also tell the fascinating stories of the players: their origins, how they came to be part of the club, their part in the victory and what became of them in the ensuing years. The lives of several cup heroes and millions more were to be cut tragically short on the battlefields of Europe in the Great War that began a mere three years later. Of the rest, some went on to make significant contributions to club and community, while others disappeared into relative obscurity.

A tangible reminder of the great day, apart from the cup itself, was the medal presented to each member of the victorious team. While many of these medals have remained within the families of respective players and passed down the generations, the whereabouts of others is less clear. Bradford Museums & Galleries has secured the loan of no less than six of them. These will be on display in the exhibition and the aim is to discover the location of as many others as possible before it begins. Think how wonderful it would be to have eleven medals, most likely not seen together since the great day itself a century ago!

Through retelling the story of this epic event, When the FA Cup Came Home will provide a glimpse of Bradford life at the beginning of the twentieth century and show how these echoes from the past still have resonance for us today.

Further details about the exhibition can be found on the following website: