News and reviews of Rock n Roll Soccer

ROCK N ROLL SOCCER: The Short Life and Fast Times of the North American Soccer League, by Ian Plenderleith. This is the blog to back the book hailed as "fantastic" by Danny Kelly on
Talksport Radio, and described as a "vividly entertaining history of the league" in the Independent on Sunday. In the US, Booklist described it as "a gift to US soccer fans". The UK paperback edition published by Icon Books is now available here for just £8.99, while the North America edition published by St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne Books can be found here for $11.98. Thank you.

Monday, October 6, 2014

TLS Review of "raffish" Rock n Roll Soccer

"Raffish? Me? I say!"
Well, I feel all grown up now that the Times Literary Supplement has reviewed Rock n Roll Soccer. As though I haven't just written a book about football, but I have written actual literature. The TLS doesn't have anything as vulgar as a Sports section, but it does, apparently, review books about sport on occasion, and in its edition of September 26, 2014, nicely summarized the contents of my book and, without giving me anything like a 'Read this NOW!' quote for publicity purposes, seemed to like it. In fact the reviewer tweeted that he "loved it", but what goes out on Twitter obviously would not be fit for the carefully honed print pages of the TLS. Here's an extract:

"Written with a raffish exuberance worthy of its subject, Rock n Roll Soccer offers a more generous take [than the common perception] on the ill-fated NASL. Yes, it was foolishly short-sighted to try to establish clubs in places like Las Vegas and Hawaii, but there was plenty to admire about the audacity and enterprise of a project that brought together footballers like Pelé, Eusebio, George Best and Franz Beckenbauer. In forcing Association Football onto the radar of US popular consciousness, it ultimately paved the way for the more sustainable, low-key success of Major League Soccer. If the enthusiasm of the American public during the recent World Cup is anything to go by, it hasn't all been in vain.

"Rock n Roll Soccer challenges the parochial assumptions that have skewed the NASL narrative in England - in particular, the idea of English football as a paragon of sporting authenticity. The English football culture of the 1970s was far from perfect: on the pitch, tactics were increasingly defensive and negative; off the pitch, as Ian Plenderleith correctly observes, the hooligan violence that blighted the decade 'no more reflected a passion for soccer than cheering teams of choreographed dancing girls and cheap hot dog promotions'.

"Plenderleith maintains that the NASL was actually ahead of its time, its showbiz trappings, a harbinger of the brazen commercialism that would come to dominate the English game from the 1990s onwards, with the advent of Sky TV and the English Premier League...."

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