REVIEW: 'Who Put the Ball in the Munich Net?'

  • December 16, 2014 | By Largehat
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Looking for a last minute Christmas stocking filler? Largehat reviews Chris Flanagan's highly acclaimed book, 'Who Put the Ball in the Munich Net?'.

'Who Put the Ball in the Munich Net?', a blow-by-blow account of Bolton Wanderers' forays into major European competition between 2005 and 2008, was clearly a labour of love for fan and author Chris Flanagan.

Painstakingly researched, it delivers not just as a record of footballing events, but also as a genuinely fascinating potted history of the clubs and regions visited by Bolton Wanderers in the UEFA Cup during this era.

Real insight is provided into a landmark era for the club by first hand accounts from former players and club officials and by a fan who attended all eighteen games, home and away. The tone is heavy on candour and light on humour.

The writer's passion for Bolton Wanderers shines through, but I have to disagree with the way the book characterises BWFC as something of an upstart pauper dining at the Ritz.

BWFC's participation in the UEFA Cup was the culmination of a decade of continuous footballing growth, canny moves by successive managers, and sporting innovation within a club which has spent the majority of its history in the most famous and competitive league in European football. I found myself wincing after the seventh or eighth reference to 'Little Bolton'.

To be absolutely clear, though, this is an excellent read for Wanderers of all ages and at £11.99, it could come in handy as a stocking filler for the Trotter in your life.

Although lacking the 'tell-all' sensationalism which is characteristic of much contemporary sports writing, the book serves a more important purpose and provides a more enduring legacy. It can be used as a mirror which anyone associated with Bolton Wanderers can hold up to the club, now and in the future.

A mirror with which we can celebrate the past, reflect on the present, and maintain hope for the future of our famous old club.

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