red card roy
Sports book review
Red Card Roy. by Roy McDonough with Bernie Friend
Sportsbookofthemonth.com price: £9.09 saving 30% on rrp
This book’s dust jacket sets the scene for what sounds like the tale of a particularly successful military group on home leave, a story, it exclaims, of “thousands of beers and 400 women”.
In fact, the beers and the women were consumed by one man (admittedly over more than two decades), a guy who happened also to have played for seven league football clubs in more than 650 matches, during which he notched 150 goals. Oh, and during what is best described as a lively football career, Roy McDonough managed to get himself sent off on 22 occasions.
Ably assisted by sports journalist Bernie Friend, the pair have produced a hugely enjoyable mix of tabloid-esque anecdotes and daring-do tales, mostly from the lower divisions, all leavened with a surprising poignancy. Throughout, the language could be considered ‘industrial’.
Yet McDonough was no out-and-out thug. He maintains that he wasn’t a bad player (he still harbours resentment at being released by Aston Villa) and did play in the top flight for Birmingham City. His description of his league debut at Sunderland, when he talks of the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end, is so good, you feel as though you’re stood next to him in the tunnel.
However, he acknowledges that throughout his career, he made a succession of pretty poor decisions which resulted in him meandering through the lower leagues instead of playing at the highest level.
His temper didn’t help matters, although he says that off the pitch, while he was definitely a party animal, he wasn’t all overt aggression and head-butting. It was only when he ‘crossed the white line’ that he had a problem with opponents who ‘took liberties’ and what he considered incompetent referees. Roy tended to get his retaliation in first and suffer the consequences – usually an early bath.
Given his record number of dismissals, it will come as no surprise to learn that Roy doesn’t pull any punches; his forthright honesty is in complete contrast to some autobiographical efforts which read more like sycophantic eulogies. It certainly contributes to a terrific read.
Last year, one of Roy McDonough’s former teammates, Mick Rathbone, enjoyed unexpected success with his football cult classic, The Smell of Football. This year, Red Card Roy could be heading the same way.
We’ve teamed up with Sports Book of the Month & have two signed copies of Red Card Roy to give away.
To win this week’s sports book, go to their website (www.sportsbookofthemonth.com) and answer the following question:
In which city was Roy McDonough born?