Newcastle United Book Club: I'm Rivelino: A Life of Two Halves

 

I was recently gifted a Kindle reader, which is cool.  I'm a little in awe of how the display can mostly look like a real book.  Embarrassingly, I have just finished the first book that I have read cover-to-cover in a matter of years... which is not so cool.  When I got the device, the first thing I searched for in the Kindle store was a good book about Newcastle United... hopefully a comprehensive history text or something similar.  What I found (besides that there are not many Newcastle United books that have been converted to Kindle format) was an historic text, just not of the sort I was intending to find.

 

 

My abiding memory of those days, and indeed pretty much up to the present time, were of the lads attacking in waves and being shite at the back.  From Arthur Cox's three musketeers up front, through Willie McFaul's Goddard and Beardsley combination, taking in the mighty Quinn and the much underrated David Kelly and Gavin Peacock and all the way through the Keegan years we have usually had a go.  As a team we've never won owt in all that time and have consistently shot ourselves in the foot BUT we always had a go and as fans we were entertained and heartened by the efforts being made in our name.

I'm Rivelino:  A Life of Two Halves is the story of Andy Rivers, Newcastle born and bred and an ardent supporter of the Toon.  It follows him through his very earliest experiences in support of Newcastle United up through the relegation season of 2008-09.  The narrative is organized by specific matches or away trips, with a healthy dose of booze mixed in for good measure.  This episodic nature is reminiscent of Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch- without the London polish and a very healthy dose of real adversity regarding employment and income.  Rivers writes in the Geordie dialect, which lends an earthiness to the narrative that contrasts completely with the eschewing of dialect in Hornby's book.

The interesting part of the book for me is that it spends a lot of time dealing with a fan's perspective of some of the uglier episodes in recent Newcastle United history-- the Graeme Souness years, the end of the Sir John Hall chairmanship and the very very early days of the Mike Ashley regime.  Rivers got his start in writing through Fanzines and other less formal writing, and he brings a lot of that conviction of fandom into his writing because of that, I would think.

If you are an owner of a Knidle, you can pick this up for $2.99 with instant download, and the read and perspective is, for me, well worth the price.


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