This latest book review is very much a retro one as it goes back over 30 years to 1985 and Steve Coppell’s autobiography Touch and Go. At the time of reading this book it was also the 40th Anniversary of Coppell’s Manchester United 1st team debut in March 1975, whilst they were in Division Two.
At United Coppell was an exciting player to watch, especially as a part of Tommy Docherty’s side of 1975-77 that reached 2 successive FA Cup Finals. Off the pitch Coppell also stood out as one of the most intelligent players to have been at United having gained a University Degree in Economics whilst playing at the same time.
From reading the book, which covered Coppell’s life up to 1985 when he had then become Crystal Palace Manager, it is clear that Coppell worked hard for everything that he achieved in his life and fully deserved the success that he got. Sadly for Coppell, an injury sustained playing for England on International Duty would ultimately end his playing career far too early. The fact that he still managed to play on for a time after the injury shows the determination of the man. Prior to that injury, Coppell had been an ever present in the United team and to this day still holds the record of most consecutive United 1st team appearances. A club record that is unlikely to be broken with modern day squad sizes and player rotation.
Coppell also did well for the England team and was a part of their 1982 World Cup Finals team. His international career is covered well in the book. The parts about his University Education are interesting too, especially the fact that at United he continued to study at University and attend lectures whilst being in the United 1st team, with the full support of manager Tommy Docherty.
Coppell’s views on his team mates, his managers, his opponents and his analysis of the overall game of football back in 1985 seem honest and well thought out. Reading the book you definitely feel respect for him. It is no surprise having read the book to see why Coppell went on to do well as a Manager at clubs like Crystal Palace and Reading. The book also contains extracts from Coppell’s personal diary that he kept whilst being out with what would be his career ending injury. You get a real sense of frustration and then heartbreak as he is forced to retire from playing.
I would definitely recommend this book to United fans interested in the history of the club in the 1970s and 1980s. It is still available to buy from Amazon Pre-owned and from vintage bookshops.