REVIEW: Making The Arsenal

Making The Arsenal by Tony Attwood
Published by Hamilton House

Writing a football novel is a risky business; few are readable, littered with cliches. Even fewer are believable. A risky business then taking on the formative years of Arsenal Football Club. Thankfully this one is that rarest of books, a football novel that is well-written and thought provoking, something which you might expect from the author of Untold Arsenal.

One of the reasons that the book works well is the unusual angle chosen. Whilst based in fact, the story is contextualised with the main political events of the time brought into play. Covering the twelve months from January 1910 to January 1911, the protagonist is Jacko Jones, a journalist. Our hero is on the trail of Sir Henry Norris’ motivations for eventual takeover of The Arsenal, the twists and turns of the move, opposition and nefarious deeds captured.

The chapters are on a monthly basis, the story broken down further, almost diarised on a daily basis. The language keeps in with the times without becoming stylised. Try as I might I could not find a “Cor blimey Guv! You’re a toff and make no mistake“. Perhaps that is the greatest success of the author; the book captures a sense of the time in which it is based.

The research is thorough. A work of fiction based on fact is a matter of interpretation. On this basis, the story is a success, avoiding the pitfalls of making illogical leaps of assumption or leaving the reader wondering how a theory was reached without having gaping chasms in the deductions applied.

As for the story, we know the ending in Arsenal terms but for the actual book, I wholeheartedly commend you to purchase a copy, which you can do by clicking here

Posted on December 17, 2009, in Arsenal, Book Review, Football, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 41 Comments.

  1. have you ever done a review in which you have largely critisized the book?

  2. The Arsenal team is now made up heartless, overpaid foreign average players who will never win anything even after hundred years together.

    I can count only Arshavin, Vermaelen, Gallas, Song and Cesc as the only fighters in the team.

    Another trophiless season and fight for fourth place is in sight.

  3. Country mile…country mile. Just watch.

  4. I think the country mile might just be a much smaller margin Frank

  5. Great, everyone is now coming round in the matter of Almunia.

    Almunia has been average from day 1. Some of us have been complaining about Almunia since 2007 and got shot down. If Almunia leaves Arsenal, he can’t get a top club in France, Spain, Italy or Germany to play for. He will revert to self, a second division club in Spain on the same level as old club Celta Vigo.

    With Almunia in goal including players like Sylvestre, Diaby, Eboue, Denilson, Walcott, Nasri, Eduardo all playing regularly for the club, there is no way we can win anything in the near future.

  6. no, Henry’s foot you are a dipshit so f*ck off

  7. Thanks for the review Yogi, I’ve had the book on my Christmas wish list, but it looks like I’ll have to buy it for myself! Santa has obviously put me on the naughty list!

  8. Passenal

    Naughty…but nice, surely?


  9. You will see at the end of January….country mile.

  10. ‘How can you make a GK No.1 when he started playing competitive football only at 26?’

    This was Jens Lehmann speaking but no one listened. Well, with Almunia in goal we can only fight for fourth.

  11. You a bit simple, Henry’s Foot in Your Mouth?

  12. The current Arsenal team has no fight, don’t win anything but get paid better and have contracts extended without any problem.

    Often injured and has scarcely played 50 games for the club since he joined in 2006 yet has an improved contract ready for signature.

    Crocked and hardly got the fitness and physicality to succeed in the EPL. Missed two sitters against Spurs, one against Sunderland and another yesterday against Burnley. Got contract extended on better terms.

    Eboue, Walcott, Denilson, Almunia all average players not good for any of the Top Four but have got their contracts extended on very good terms.

    The name is poor management and mediocrity.

  13. Henry’s foot you are a prick, if you’re not happy then don’t support arsenal you cunt

  14. Henry’s foot please don’t bother

  15. i dont think the contract situation is the reason behind the poor performances of some players…although in walcotts case he gets paid far too much for his limited ability…ppl keep saying hes only then he should be only given a youth wage then if hes still a baby..not a superstar wage… hes one of the top earners at the club so why are the club paying him so much now if he isnt ready?? doesnt make sense..the club obviously expect alot from him..not only the fans..

    rosicky and dudu still have alot to offer so im not bothered about them being given new contracts…

    owens one of the biggest crocks there is and manure get the benefit of him being in the squad still…

    eboue and denilson are decent backup players even though i wouldnt cry myself to sleep if either of them are sold and walcott and almunia need to be transfer listed ASAP cos they are wasting everyones time..

  16. You know f*ck all about football Henry’s Foot. Piss off already you backwards c*nt.

  17. You too, KnobKnob. You leech. Get off Walcott’s back already. It’s becoming boring. The kid is just coming back from injury and starting to get a run of games.

  18. not really NJN

    hes had 4 games on the trot now..including weeks of full training…hes fully fit…so i dont buy that excuse really..

    torres has been out for while too but has already started banging them in…thats a real quality player..someone who deserves his place straight from injury…

    for what the club pays theo hes expected to produce alot more and he isnt becuase he cant…did you see the performance he gave last night??? it was always..

    we needed a goal and hes supposed to be one of our dangermen and wenger took him off…AA has been playing 90minutes with a dodgy foot but wenger chose to take theo off cos he cant cut the mustard…

    anyone who thinks theo is a class act is seriously deluded…wengers face was a picture last night..wengers got a real headache now with theo…hes turning into the next jeffers..

  19. I find Henry’s Foot arguments totally sound!certainly discussable ,what’s the bad blood here? why the foul mouth of some of the hyper active dudes in this blog?.

  20. The only thing that would make JonJon cry himself to sleep is Arsenal winning the league.

  21. There is a consensus about Almunia, nice guy , but very deficient keeper, always was, that for awhile did ok, but now exposed. better keeprs like robinson kirkland recently chech got exposed like that and never recovered; the turn of the tide in the game was serries of total miscommunications between defense and keeper, lack of trust, panic huffing and hoofing, players not playing their game because every back pass was a disaster waiting to happen, no distribution..enough said about Almunia. there are a whole string of players the hernryfoot names, ( one can name others, one can dispute couple of names) that can be cute on an irregular basis, but no more then backups. this is not new. and it is boring to repete but still true.

  22. poliziano..

    just so you know ive said from the start of the season that i think we will win it this year..i said it from the minute we sold ade…and i still think we will…if you blogged with me regular you would be aware of this..but of course this blog isnt my ‘local’ so it makes me a target for anything and everything i say…

    but when theres something to discuss i will discuss it and not just stick my head in the sand or sit on the fence and pretend everythings hunky dory..

  23. good point about almunia, robespierre..

    hes one of the issues that falls into my not so hunky dory category…

    ive heard a few excuses that mannys poor kicking was down to the fact burnleys pitch is small..which is pure tosh…his kicks were going out of play in our half and they were going into row z…they could have played on two pitches last night and those kicks would have still gone into touch..

    the truth is he has lost it..and hes at a time in his career where he should be peaking,he’ll never be better than waht he is now but he’s making schoolboy errors still..not just once a game either like many keepers do,lets be honest all keepers make errors…..but 4, 5, 6, errors a game is too much for a side challenging for the title and not little errors either..pure howlers..hes going to cost us too many points if he stays in the first team…time for a change…let fab have a go…cant be any worse than manny and he’s at an age where he can improve…

  24. Almunia is not good enough but Wenger made the mistake in bringing him back to the team after dropping him earlier in the season.Now Fabianski is fit he still picks Almunia that shows Wenger has no faith in Fabianski as Almunia has been really poor this season.And what is it with him that he keeps kicking the ball into the crowd????

  25. I absolutely totally agree that Almunia is somewhere else at the moment. I have never seen a more amateur performance by an Arsenal Keeper than what Almunia produced at Burnley. Enough said about that.

    I am another of those fans who think that Walcot is lacking. The broadcaster of the game on Setanta mentioned that he felt “sorry” for Walcot because he is a player who is still learning his trade. Walcot is more or less, as you might think about it, a player who does not have the football skill for someone who is playing in the Premiership. He is defended very easily. When he attempts to dribble around a defender, Walcot almost always fails!!!!!!!!! Sell him now Wenger this kid is a piece of flabowskie.

  26. If the topics he raised were as discussable as you say they are, Robespierre, the pri*ck wouldn’t be changing his name every week would he? He posts the same usual crap week in week out. He’s a sad no hope doomer who tries to spread his negative crap amongst a community that support and get behind Arsenal players, which by the way you won’t ever see that c*nt do. It’s always negative, even after victories. You can’t talk sense with people like him.

  27. I recalled the days when two mistakes by Lehmann brought in Almunia as No.1. There was one win against Fulham at the beginning of 2007/8 season, the score was 2:1. Then 1:1 with Blackburn away and hell broke lose on every blog against the German who had won cups and a title for us. In 2005, Lehmann single-handedly won the FA Cup for us against MANU.

    I questioned the faith in Almunia then, having seen him gave away two cheaps goals in the CL finals to allow Barca to win the cup.

    Almunia’s failure is not a flash but a consistent failure disguised by occasional brilliance. He’s okay, get the normal saves but can’t win you a game like Lehmann did against MANu in a league game at Old Trafford in 2006/7 season and Manonne’s Fulham performance.

    No surprise, he was a 2nd choice GK for Celta Vigo, a second division team and never a regular in any first division league team. He started playing competitive football at 26 so he’s really an average poor GK to play here at that high level.

    Last year he made a lot of howlers as well, Ronaldo’s 41 yards goal and Bentley and Lennon’s cheap goals easily spring to mind.

    Cheap things, they say, ends up costly and Arsene is paying for his mistake and stubbornness, trying to make him a good GK.

    I don’t trust Fabianski either but he’s worth some chances. The only GK with that quality is Szeczesny but he’s only 19 but capable. Iker Casillas started playing for Madrid at age 19 and now reputed to be the best GK in the world.

  28. henry’s foot

    do you like anything about this arsenal team? Anything?

  29. Almunia was 20 when he began playing for the Osasuna B team.

  30. Edwin van der Sar was the same age when he began his senior career.

  31. Almunia will win a trophy with us.

  32. Fuck off Howard you miserable little tit.

  33. Fancy being in Howard’s house on Xmas day. He would moan at his wife for using the wrong gravy granules (even though he liked them last Xmas).

    He would moan at his kids because they got him the wrong gifts (even though he wanted them a short while before.)

    But most of all he would moan about this Father Chrismas is not as good as the last one we had.

  34. maybe zap..but it wont be down to him..hes a passenger in a team of talent and the defence know it..they dont trust him..gallas wont pass back to him..TV feels the need to head the high ball even though its in our 6 yard box..the players have no confidence in him and neither do the majority of the fans..

    its ok sitting here and sticking up for him and pretending everythings ok…but what happens if a trophy is on the line and he makes his customary howlers and we lose a massive final (again)…??

    for the sake of the team he needs to be dropped..

    i like almunia and i respect him massively…he cut short his honeymoon to sign for us..but thats where it a person i feel sorry for him but as a footballer i think his time is nigh..

  35. Got the book for my birthday (11th), YW, have not got round to reading it yet, still on Unseen Academicals. Looking forward to it though.



  37. Henry foot like only one thing …ttrrooooopphyy.
    bunch of glory hunter like him don’t deserve Arsenal.why anyone only see trophy as success for a good season.How many clubs in world football have actually win anything in their history and lot of them have fan too who support them for the worst and best.i doubt they re complaining about be trophy-less.

    “The name is poor management and mediocrity”.what i call poor management and mediocrity are team like Newcastle,Leeds utd Nottingham forest playing outside the premiere league.not really a team sitting 3rd with 1 match to play.if our player and management are so crap how the hell we still in touch with the chav and Manure.
    we have a good team ,look even father christmass comment on arsenal forum πŸ˜€

    order the book asap. i ve got it and i love it. great present to any (ok not any dont offer it to troll)good arsenal fan

  38. @1LC

    That is massive!!!!!

    more please!!!

  39. By a country mile. By a country mile

  40. Can I thank you for such a wonderful review of my book. It was a labour of love for a year to research and write it, and when it was done I had no idea if anyone would like it at all.

    I really appreciate your kind comments.

    Tony Attwood

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