Nemanja Vidic is one of the best defenders playing in the English Premier League today, a cult figure among Manchester United fans he has enjoyed a meteoric rise to football stardom. Born in Serbia in 1981, Vidic began playing football at the age of just 7 and was quickly spotted by local clubs. By 15 he was signed to Red Star Belgrade's youth system and by 20 he had won the Yugoslav Cup. The captain's armband soon followed and he led his Red Star team to a domestic double in 2004 -- that was to be his last season with the club as he moved into the Russian Premier League and Spartak Moscow. His outstanding play and no-nonsense style soon caught the attention of foreign clubs and in 2006 he signed for Manchester United joining Rio Ferdinand in defence to form one of the most formidable partnerships in English football. Loved by the Old Trafford faithful Vidic was short-listed for the PFA Player of the Year in 2009 and was named Manchester United fans' and players' Player of the Year.
Javier Hernandez - better known to legions of Manchester United fans as Chicharito - is one of the most exciting young talents in football today.Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Hernandez joined his local club C D Guadalajara at the age of nine and signed his first contract at 15. Making his full debut in 2006, he impressed in the Mexican league so much that he caught the eye of a Manchester United scout in 2009. He signed for United on 8 April 2010 and scored on his debut in the MLS All-Star Game on 28 July. Since then, Hernandez has continued to light up the Old Trafford pitch, becoming a firm favourite with fans (who voted him Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year in 2011) and scoring vital goals for the club. He became the first player since Ruud van Nistelrooy to score more than 20 goals in his debut season as United clinched a record-equalling 19th Premier League title, and despite some injury concerns in the opening half of the 2011/12 season, he has continued to be a major player for United. Still only 24 years old, the 'little pea' has committed himself to United until 2016 and looks set to help the Reds to yet more glory. This is his fascinating story.
Ryan Giggs is the ultimate Manchester United legend. The most decorated player in English football history, with 13 Premier League title, two Champions League victories and four FA Cup winner's medals to his name, Giggs is truly an astonishing player with an unparalleled football career.Giggs frist found fame with Manchester City's Scholl of Excellence before Sir Alex Ferguson spitted his prodigious talent, turning up at his home to sign him on his 14th birthday. By the time he made his United first team debut aged just 17, many considered him to be the greatest talent in English football since George Best. Famed for his pace and skill on the ball, Giggs has scored vital goals throughout his career, most notably his incredible solo effort in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final replay against Arsenal, where he picked the ball up in his own half and embarked on a mazy run around the entire Arsenal back four before lofting the ball into the net. He was an integral part of the historic Treble-winning side in 1999, and is the only Manchester united player to have played in both the 1999 and 2008 Champions League victories.Having committed his entire career to United, Giggs eclipsed Bobby Charlton's record in April 2009, when he made his 800th appearance fort the club. On 26 February 2012, he marked his 900th United appearance by scoring the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Norwich. Giggs has scored over 160 goals for united and his incredible record has ensured that he will go down in history as one of United's greatest ever players. The is the amazing story of Manchester United's legendary number 11.
Gareth Bale is one of the most promising young talents in the Premier League, and is regarded as one of Europe's hottest football properties.Born in 1989, Bale first attracted the attention of Southampton FC at the age of just nine. At secondary school, he was such a prodigious talent that his PE teacher, Gwyn Morris, had to impose special restrictions on him to make it fair for the other pupils. After completing his GCSE exams, Bale became the second-youngest player ever to sign for Southampton on 17 April 2006.The Premier League soon came calling and in 2007 Bale signed a four-year deal with Tottenham Hotspur. His career at White Hart Lane didn't get off to the best start, but in late 2009 he seized his chance to secure a regular place in the first team and has since proved to be a top-class footballer with a stunning hat-trick in Tottenham's Europa League tie against Inter Milan at the San Siro and a man-of-the-match performance in the return leg.Bale has unsurprisingly also made several appearances for Wales, and his talent has been compared to that of the legendary Ryan Giggs. He's fast, he's strong, he's an excellent and he scores goals. This is the fascinating biography of Tottenham's latest superstar player.
8 May 2013: the day Manchester United fans had dreaded for nearly three decades. Sir Alex Ferguson announced he was to step down as manager of the world's biggest football club after 27 years in charge. The Scot signed off in style with an honours list that confirmed him as the most successful manager in British - and world - history. He would leave United at the age of 71 having won 38 trophies with them, and he would now become a director and ambassador for the club he had served so well.The story of Sir Alex Ferguson is a true rags-to-riches fairytale. Born in Govan, Glasgow in 1941, he played for Queen's Park, Dunfermline and Rangers before retiring in 1974 to begin his managerial career. Before joining Manchester United, he led a struggling Aberdeen side to the league title and the 1983 European Cup Winners' Cup and, although he struggled initially at United, his bargain-signing of Eric Cantona secured their first league title in 26 years.An incredible run of success followed, shaped by the emergence of 'Fergie's Fledglings' - Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Nicky Butt. His finest moment was in 1999 when United romped to an unprecedented Treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League trophies. Ferguson was knighted the same year. This in-depth biography charts Fergie's unstoppable rise and pays tribute to the greatest manager the world has ever seen.
‘When a man walks on to a pitch there’s always a chance something magic can happen, that’s what keeps us coming back...’ In A Man Walks On To a Pitch, Harry shares a lifetime’s experience of obsessing over football, during which he has seen it all first hand – the good, the bad and the unbelievable. Harry started in an age where players were ordinary blokes who might live on the same street as you and earn a similar wage. Now he manages in an era of player power, multi-million pound wages and teams assembled from around the globe. As he shares stories of some of the legends and journeymen he played, coached, argued and drank with, Harry picks a team for each decade from the 1950s to the present. He gets to the heart of what was right and wrong with each era and explores the changes in the game from lifestyle to tactics. He weaves his choices together with unforgettable tales from the training pitches, boot rooms and card schools. There are tales of the untutored genius of Duncan Edwards and Tom Finney, legendary tough Scots like Bobby Collins, Dave Mackay and Billy Bremner, the world-beaters of 1966, unpredictable one-off wizards from Sir Stanley Matthews to Matt Le Tissier, natural-born goalscorers from Greaves to Dalglish and the greatest foreign players to grace our game from Trautmann to Bergkamp. It is one of the best informal histories of the British game you’ll ever read.
On the Road With Football's Outsiders: A World Cup Odyssey
Author: James Montague
Publisher: A&C Black
Category: Sports & Recreation
In a tiny, decaying aluminium smelting town in southern Tajikistan, a short drive from a raging war zone, Afghanistan take on Palestine in the first Asian qualifier for 2014's World Cup in Brazil. Every player on both teams is risking something by playing: their careers, their families, even their lives. Yet, along with thousands of other footballers backed by millions of supporters, they all dream of snatching one of the precious 32 places at the finals; and so begins a three-year epic struggle – long before the usual suspects start their higher-profile qualifying campaigns under the spotlight. Named after the greatest victory (and defeat) that the World Cup qualifiers have ever seen (Australia's 31-0 victory over American Samoa), Thirty-One Nil is the story of how footballers from all corners of the globe begin their journey chasing a place at the World Cup Finals. It celebrates the part-time priests, princes and hopeless chancers who dream of making it to Brazil, in defiance of the staggering odds stacked against them. It tells the story of teams who have struggled for their very existence through political and social turmoil, from which they will very occasionally emerge into international stardom. From the endlessly humiliated San Marino to lowly Haiti; from war-torn Lebanon to the oppressed and fleet-footed players of Eritrea, in Thirty-One Nil James Montague gets intimately and often dangerously close to some of the world's most extraordinary teams, and tells their exceptional stories.