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Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2017
An extraordinary and compelling account of the life of football coach Bela Guttman.
William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2017 is Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire by Andy McGrath, publsihed by cycling specialist Raph Editions
Other shortlisted books for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2017 were:
The Greatest Combeack: From Genocide to Football Glory by David Bolchover (Biteback Publishing)
Ali: A Life by Jonathan Eig (Simon & Schuster)
Quiet Genius: Bob Paisley, British Football's Greatest Manager by Ian Herbert (Bloomsbury Sport, Bloombsury)
Swell: A Waterbiography by Jenny Landreth (Bloomsbury Sport, Bloomsbury)
Centaur by Declan Murphy and Ami Rao (Doubleday, Transworld)
Breaking Ground: Art, Archaelogy and Mythology edited by Neville Gabie, Alan Ward and Jason Wood (Axis Projects)
Last year the prize was won by Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan (Corsair)
Before Pep Guardiola and before Jose Mourinho, there was Bela Guttmann: the first superstar football coach, and the man who paved the way for the celebrated coaches of the modern age.
More extraordinarily still, Guttmann was a Holocaust survivor. Having narrowly dodged death by hiding for months in an attic near Budapest as thousands of fellow Jews in the neighbourhood were dragged off to be murdered, Guttmann later escaped from a slave labour camp. He was one of the lucky ones. His father, sister and wider family perished at the hands of the Nazis.
But by 1961, as coach of Benfica, he had lifted one of football's greatest prizes: the European Cup - a feat he repeated the following year. Rising from the death pits of Europe to become its champion in just over sixteen years, Guttmann performed the single greatest comeback in football history.
This remarkable story spans two visions of twentieth-century Europe: a continent ruptured by barbarism and genocide, yet lit up by exhilarating encounters in magnificent cities, where great players would strive to win football's holy grail. With dark forces rising once again, the story of Bela Guttmann's life asks the question: which vision of Europe will triumph in our times?
Packed with insight and interesting debate, The Greatest Comeback is both deeply poignant and extremely topical. David Bolchover has expertly woven one huge, tragic strand of twentieth-century history together with a great footballing story. - Henry Winter, Chief Football Writer, The Times;
David Bolchover has produced a remarkable work: as a history book alone, it carries the reader though a hideous chunk of the twentieth century in the most deft and compelling way, while as a biography of a great football coach it is both original and definitive. - Patrick Barclay, football journalist, London Evening Standard
Moving, original, full of insight, this is a gripping tale told by a skilled storyteller. You don't need to be interested in the Holocaust to find this fascinating account of some great footballing moments absorbing. And you don't need to be interested in football to want to learn about this tale of survival. But if you are by chance interested in both, you will find this book extraordinary. - Daniel Finkelstein, associate editor, The Times
A fascinating, brilliantly told biography of Europe's first superstar football coach, The Greatest Comeback is a moving, terrifying and inspirational story of survival and triumph. If you're a football fan and Bela Guttmann is just a name you have seen in the lists of European Cup-winning managers, take the time to read about the man. It is an astonishing journey. - Oliver Holt
Publication date: 28/04/2017
Publisher: Biteback Publishing
|Publication date:||28th April 2017|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Sport,|
David Bolchover is an author and commentator. He has published three previous books, including the bestselling 90-Minute Manager, which explored the various management styles of the great football coaches. He has written for a number of leading newspapers, such as The Times, the Telegraph and the Financial Times, and has frequently appeared on the BBC, Sky and other broadcast outlets.More About David Bolchover