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Leagues: EPL

“Manchester – the City Years” — Book Review

“Manchester – the City Years” is simply the most comprehensive history ever written about the reigning champions of England. Gary James, a renowned football historian and City supporter whose previous works about City have been impressive, has written a masterpiece that football fans of any English club would appreciate. James’s previous comprehensive history, “Manchester, the Greatest City,” was an impressive work, but this new book has raised the bar with extensively enhanced research from James’ earlier works. Over 600 pages in length, this book is a must-have for any City supporter like myself and a good read for anybody interested in the game.

I’ve read almost everything Gary James has written about the club over the years and have always learned from his writing. But this book is far more exhaustive and enjoyable a read than his previous books about City. The book also serves to dispel several misconceptions about the club, its supporters and its history that have been filtering through football fandom the past few years.

Having previous written a biography of Joe Mercer and extensively written about Malcolm Allison, the sections from 1965 through the 1972 takeover are perhaps the most gratifying portion of the book for City supporters as it’s the period where the club captured every major domestic trophy as well as European glory, which is captured vividly.

The post 1972 coverage is complete with new research and interviews including discussions with every club Chairman including Peter Swales, Franny Lee, David Bernstein and Garry Cook. James also critically analyzes the impact of financial mismanagement and clumsy leadership on the club’s worst period in history in the 1990s. The details of these transgressions are woven together intricately with the on-the-pitch failures to pain a clear picture of a club that was struggling to regain its historical legacy and fulfill its massive potential.

The club’s rebound under David Bernstein and Kevin Keegan are page turners and allow City supporters to relive the most critical years in stabilizing the club again in the top flight and making the move to Eastlands after nearly a century at Maine Road.

The period from 2007, when Thaskin Shinawatra bought the club, through the decisive title deciding tilt with QPR last season is brought to life with vivid new details. I bought my copy from the City Shop online, but the book is also available on Amazon and is a must-read for any City supporter on the planet.

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  1. Gary James

    September 24, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Thanks to the reviewer, EPL Talk and the others who have commented. Much appreciated. I’m glad you like the book and I do think your review is excellent.

    For anyone in the USA the only US outlet for the book appears to be via There are some sellers who will supply to the States on there. Unfortunately none of the main US Stores are stocking the book in the stores at the moment, so best to buy via online retailers.

    It’s a very heavy book (1.75kg, 608 pages, 500,000 words, over 400 illustrations, £25).

    Thanks again for the comments. Much appreciated. Gary James

  2. Christian

    September 21, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I’ll have to hope this comes out in the states and made available for download.

  3. Alex Wolcott

    September 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Got this myself. A good book about all aspects of the sport and would still be interesting to me if the subject was another one of the clubs.

    I particularly liked the material about the years prior to when I started following the game (and City) – more or less everything prior to the EPL era.

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