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The Manager (Review)

Books about football managers are a dime a dozen these days.  It seems like everyone has become an author or the subject of a book.  Whether you coached 20 games or 20 years, there is probably a book out there.

Cover Art Courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing

Mike Carson’s The Manager: Inside the Minds of Football’s Leaders is different and better than all the others for several reasons.

First, you hear from dozens of elite managers from the EPL.  You will learn from the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsène Wenger, Harry Redknapp, José Mourinho, and Brendan Rodgers.  Most books give you just one, but here you get many different and unique perspectives.

Second, the book has the blessing of several major organizations.  Officials from Deloitte, the League Managers Association, and Barclays all offer their thoughts in the opening pages of the book. We call that instant credibility.

Third, Carson is not your traditional footballing author.  He is indeed one of us as a devout Man City fan, but he is also known worldwide as a leadership expert. His company is known for transforming organizations and people.  A great choice for authoring this title, Carson does everything right with this text.

The best part of the book is what you take away from it. Every coach, every chapter, every part gives you something that you will remember for a long time.  It doesn’t matter if you are a player, coach, or just a fan.  There is indeed something for everyone.  This is a great read for everyone.

This Love Is Not For Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juárez

“Soccer and sportswriting at its best”

Can the beautiful game survive in the murder capital of the world? Well Robert Andrew Powell transported his life to Juárez, Mexico to find out as he followed the city’s miracle team, the Indios.  The club rose to the first division in one of the biggest surprises in Mexican soccer history.

They would come to represent hope and goodwill in a place where the body count never seemed to stop.  They gave the fans and citizens a place to forget that their city was home to a drug war between battling cartels.

This Love Is Not For Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juárez has to be one of the best soccer books I have ever read even though I learned just as much about life as I did about Mexican soccer.   We heard about heroes and villains, angels and sinners, and players and fans.

We meet Marco Vidal and Francisco Ibarra, two people who believed in the power of the Indios.  Marco loved his club no matter what, understanding that the club is a powerful thing in a city plagued by violence.  Francisco believed the team can be a transformative entity, a pseudo-social program, something that could potentially save a city from itself.  But we also heard about J.L. and El 35, cartel leaders that have the blood of thousands on their hands, people who have turned a beautiful city into a war zone.

El Kartel, the club’s dedicated supporters’ group, put their lives into the club amongst the highs and lows of a rollercoaster season.  The club experienced the worst start in Primera history, but ends up beating some of the country’s best along the way.  Everyone figured that Indios would be relegated after just a season, but no one expected wins over the big boys in Mexican soccer.

Powell is eloquent in his descriptions of life in Juárez, showing that borders and political lines do make a difference.

El Paso, Texas is literally miles away, but they do not have the same issues with crime, corruption, and murder.  El Paso is America, while Juárez is a city that many Mexicans don’t want to even call one of their own.

But Powell’s new home is one full of incredible hope and optimism despite all of the problems.  Powell embraced his new life and learned to survive and even love Juárez.  The food, the people, the natural beauty of the place sometimes is enough to forget that you are living, working, and playing in a deadly, deadly city.

Simply put, this title is a truly powerful read.  Powell crafts incredible stories of dreams lost and hope gained in a very dangerous locale.  I am sure the author was changed by these experiences, but it is safe to say that the reader will have a similar experience.