Peter Scott

Frankly, Mr Shankly

Red or Dead

By

Faber & Faber 720pp £20 order from our bookshop

Until this year’s Champions League semifinal, Barcelona looked to have the system cracked. Press high, keep possession, pass, pass, pass. At times, it seemed, no one could touch them. Then better tactics, better players, better luck and even, perhaps, more desire, drove Bayern Munich to victory this May, as they beat Barcelona and went on to win the tournament. There is nothing like success to guarantee failure, but while the Spanish club swept all before them, it was easy to believe that we were seeing something genuinely new: a style of football based on repetition and replicability; one which rendered Plan B irrelevant because, with the players and the execution in place, Plan A was invincible. But of course, it wasn’t invincible; it never is. Even when Barcelona were at their best they got beaten from time to time. A system is not enough.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Her favourite design included a body in the shape of a horse, with a steam engine inside ... The passenger would t… ,
    • Sign up to our email newsletter below! Get free articles, highlights from the archive, and chances to win theatre… ,
    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,