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Saints And Sinners ! A New Book On The Shelves
Wednesday, 9th Nov 2016 10:21

There is a great new book on the shelves in time for Christmas, here we take a look at it and suggest it will make a great addition to Saints supporters book shelves.

Over the years there have been painfully few books on Southampton Football Club, however in recent years that has changed and no thankfully the Club's history is being charted for posterity a lot more often.

The latest book to his the stores is from former Daily Echo journalist and employee of Southampton Football Club Graham Hiley.

If anyone is qualified to write about the club it is Graham, he covered the club and it's matches for over 13 years during his time at the Echo and he then worked at St Mary's as programme and website editor for 7 years including the glory days of the 2003 Cup Final as well as during the turbulent period after relegation in 2005.

Now he has written another book about the club to add to several other publications with his name on the cover, but this one is a little different from most of the books on SFC in that it covers some of the more volatile individuals to have played for the club and lifts the id on some of the incredible incidents that have gone on but in many cases have remained hushed up.

That makes it a great read and a book for those who like anecdotes rather than just stories of games and facts, of course there are plenty of room for more straightforward tomes and indeed no one does that type of book better than our friends at Hagiology publishing, but Saints & Sinners "tackles" the darker side of the game.

Hiley tackles his subject in chronological order, starting in the sixties and I suspect perhaps the fact that many of those players that went before that time are no longer with us and it would have been unfair to have tarred them with this brush has meant that Hiley has chosen to start at a point where he can research is subject well and get the information from the horses mouth so to speak has set the start date.

It starts with Denis Hollywood and Brian O'Neil and then works its way through the years to end with Rickie Lambert with many stops in between.

Some of the names will be obvious, some less so, but each chapter will have Saints fans of all ages grimacing and laughing in equal measure as they remember the good old bad old days.

What we will also discover is whether these guys where as nasty off the pitch as on it as well as that there is no stereotypical hard man in football, they all lived their lives differently off the pitch from the quiet guy family man Francis Benali who is perhaps the nicest professional footballer ever to have played the game, through to the more colourful characters off the field who lived life to the max when not kicking a football.

Some are sinners for different reasons, there are the obvious hard men, Denis Hollywood, Brian O'Neil, Neil Ruddock, Terry Hurlock o name but a few, some are sinners like Claus Lundekvam who struggled after retiring from the game, some are sinners like John Burridge who was just plain crazy and some qualify because they left the club under a cloud, James Beattie, Graeme Souness and even Rickie Lambert could qualify under that banner, find out why they did so.

Saints and Sinners features 26 star interviews in 24 chapters, including:

• Claus Lundekvam talks openly and honestly about his battle with drink and drugs and tells how close he came to committing suicide.

• Alan Shearer’s illustrious career nearly ended before it began as a drunken prank went horribly wrong. He and Neil Ruddock tell how the striker’s toes were left hanging by a thread.

• Mark Dennis knows he is lucky to be alive after being stabbed twice. “Psycho” looks back at his colourful life on and off the field.

• Without doubt the hardest man to pull on a Saints shirt was Jimmy Case. The “silent assassin” reveals some of the tricks of the trade.

• Like father, like son-in-law! Brian O’Neil and David Prutton both reflect on collecting then record bans with O’Neil also reliving a series of hilarious alcohol-related incidents.

• They say you have to be crazy to be a goalkeeper – John Burridge was sectioned! He talks about his depression after hanging up his boots at the end of an extrovert playing career.

• A goodwill visit to Jersey turned sour as Terry Hurlock and David Speedie had a bar brawl. Micky Adams tells how he tried to break it up – and ended up in the cells himself.

• Bruce Grobbelaar gives his version of the infamous “match-fixing” trial. There are also interviews with Terry Hurlock, James Beattie, Rickie Lambert, Iain Dowie and many more.

All in all it makes a great Xmas present for any Saints supporter or indeed essential reading now for anyone who cant wait until the 25th December.

It's on sale now at all good book stores as they say at a bargain price of £16.99 or alternatively from Amazon for around £12 including postage.

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