If you don’t read the Daily Mirror, or have much interest in football, you may not know of columnist and commentator Brian Reade. In which case you have a real treat in store and should pick up a copy of this book and immerse yourself in it immediately. No really, stop reading this review and do it now. From its title, drawn from a kerbside conversation in Garston before a mural of Spanish Civil War veteran and trade union leader, Jack Jones, and its subtly adapted John Lennon lyric subtitle, Reade launches into a powerful and principled analysis of why, as a nation, we have been duped into the reverence and recognition of the supposedly great and the good, when all too often it is those of more humble backgrounds who are the true heroes. To crassly paraphrase Mr Reade, have you ever thought for a moment why the NHS staff who risked their lives and worked obscene hours in the toughest of conditions got a national clap and yet still fight for a modest pay rise, while many of those who sold dodgy PPE goods ended up with millions in the bank and big slaps on the back from our political classes? In drawing on his deep knowledge, superb research and award winning articles, and ranging across illustrative chapters on Dennis Skinner, Barbara Castle, Doreen Lawrence, the Hillsborough Mothers, Muhammed Ali and many more, Reade paints a picture of the corrupt, unspoken and all too often hidden systems that suppress real social mobility, hinder justice and prevent true heroes from receiving the credit they so richly deserve. As Ali put it to Reade in a 2001 interview at his Berrien Springs, Michigan home, “Service for others is the rent we pay on earth.” Reade has done us all a great service with this heart-wrenching, anger-inducing, truth-telling book that will make you weep with frustration while making you profoundly aware of the true nature of heroism and those who really deserve the statues, medals and infinite praise of grateful nations. It is the most affecting and truest hymn to stalwart, silent - and too often silenced - heroism that you will read this year, and for many years to come.
The years between 1850 and 1900 were the vintage years of a discreet homosexual culture in England. In this period, educational, personal and foreign influences all contributed to the establishment of a trend expressed in the works of authors such as John Addington Symonds, Walter Pater, and A.E. Housman, and in those of lesser writers, now largely forgotten. This book, first published in 1970, is an anthology of English prose and verse, either homosexual in tone or providing a vehicle for homosexual emotions, and in several examples even overtly and experimentally frank. The book includes an introduction by Brian Reade explaining the network of friendships and associations which underlay this development and tracing some of its origins.
AN EPIC SWINDLE is the inside story of how Liverpool FC came within hours of being re-possessed by the banks after the shambolic 44-month reign of American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett. It is the tale of a civil war that dragged Britain's most successful football club to its knees, through the High Court and almost into administration. Players Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher tell of their anger at the broken promises, as well as their pain at watching loyal fans in open revolt. Manager, chief executive, board members, leading fans and journalists reveal the turmoil at a revered sporting institution run by two men at war with each other, who trampled Liverpool's cherished traditions into the gutter. No story sums up the naked greed at the heart of modern football quite like Hicks' and Gillett's attempt to turn a buck at Liverpool. No-one has had as much access to the truth, or tells it with as much passion, wit and insight as Brian Reade. AN EPIC SWINDLE is the riveting story of how close one of the great football clubs came to financial implosion.
There have been football books which have told their tale through the partisan heart of a besotted fan, and those that have dissected their subject through the scientific mind of an objective writer. But rarely does one fuse the blind passion of a lifelong supporter with the cold eye of an award-winning journalist in the way 44 Years With The Same Bird does. That bird is the Liver Bird, and on the surface this book is a pitch-side view of the entire modern era of Britain's most successful football club. It is Brian Reade's take on the extraordinary stories behind the 48 trophies he has seen Liverpool lift since watching them en route to their first ever FA Cup win in 1965, right through to the Champions League defeat in Athens in 2007. It takes in all of the big nights that propelled the club to five European Cups, three UEFA Cups, twelve titles, countless domestic cup triumphs, bitter failures, the tragic disasters in Sheffield and Brussels, as well as the barren years of the late 60s and the 90s. But the book goes far deeper than that. It's about how football allowed a father who was separated from his son to forge a precious bond. How a football club can make a city that is dying on its knees keep believing in itself. How you should never, as a professional, get too close to your heroes. How being part of a disaster at a football match (Hillsborough) can leave you a mental wreck, unwilling to carry on, but how witnessing a miracle on a football pitch (Istanbul) makes you realize that no matter how low you sink, you should never give in.