Saturday 11 February 2023

Guest Review: Big Ron: A Different Ball Game By Ron Atkinson

Ron Atkinson is one of English football’s most recognisable and popular characters, having been involved in management for a quarter of a century.

He remains the only Englishman to have won major trophies with three different clubs: Manchester United, Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa. At West Bromwich Albion, he was one of the first managers to promote black footballers, including Laurie Cunning- ham, who went to Real Madrid, Cyrille Regis, who became an England international, and Brendon Batson MBE.

After retiring from management, Ron evolved into one of the most familiar and forthright commentators on football. Yet that career came to an end in April 2004 with a single, unguarded comment about the Chelsea defender, Marcel Desailly. Atkinson was labelled a racist and driven from the game he loves.

Review: This is the autobiography, published in 1998, of the former footballer and football manager Ron Atkinson, a larger then life character universally known as “Big Ron”.

He played for a number of years for Oxford United, as they rose from non-league status up to the old Second Division of the English Football League. Following his playing career, he move into management with non-league Kettering Town and lower league Cambridge United, before managing a number of high-profile clubs such as Manchester United and Atletico Madrid. As a manager, he achieved the feat of winning three major trophies with three different clubs: the FA Cup twice with Manchester United, and the League Cup once each with Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa. Towards the end of his management career he spent some time as a TV pundit.

Throughout his career “Big Ron” was always a flamboyant and outspoken character, and this comes across in this book. There are numerous colourful stories about various characters on the field, in management and in the boardroom. These range from tales of a transfer deal in his Kettering Town days when a player was swapped for a lawnmower, to multi-million pound deals for players in the Premier League. His frankness comes across in the book, when he criticises certain players for their attitude, and there is a whole chapter devoted to certain individuals with whom he would not go on holiday.

Overall, this is an interesting insight into the world of football provided by a fascinating, if controversial, character and will appeal to all followers of the beautiful game.

To order your copy now, just click here!

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