England Expects: A History of the England Football Team by James Corbett
The story of the England football team is much more than the tale of eleven men and a succession of 90-minute international matches. It is the story of how a nation, perhaps more than any other in the world, vests its hopes and dreams to a quite colossal, and colossally unfair, degree in a small group of individuals, and sees their almost inevitably disappointing fortunes as somehow symbolic of national weakness, amateurishness and decline. It is a tale of how particular individuals - usually England managers, from Alf Ramsey through Bobby Robson and Graham Taylor to Kevin Keegan - are crucified merely for failing to repeat England's single greatest porting triumph, of winning the World Cup in 1966. And it is the fascinating story of how individual players brought their very different temperaments and skills to the England team's finest hours, from World Cup victory to the mercurial brilliance of Paul Gascoigne and from the delicate finesse of Glen Hoodle to the brute aggression and intricate technique of Wayne Rooney. Kames Corbett's book is the first to tell the history of the England football team, from the inaugural international matches at the and of the nineteenth century to the twilight of Sven-Göran Eriksson's reign. It is an engrossing and graphic narrative, full of compelling games, intricate football politics, social history and astringent and trenchant commentary.