Who Invented The Stepover? (And Other Crucial Football Conundrums) by Paul Simpson and Uli Hesse

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Who Invented The Stepover? (And Other Crucial Football Conundrums) by Paul Simpson and Uli Hesse

Category: Sport
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Chris Bradshaw
Reviewed by Chris Bradshaw
Summary: Impress your football supporting friends with some top trivia about the beautiful game.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 276 Date: November 2013
Publisher: Profile Books
ISBN: 9781781250006

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In 1982, second division Charlton Athletic staged an unlikely transfer coup by signing former European Footballer of the Year Allan Simonsen. If the thought of the Danish superstar forsaking the glamour of Barcelona for south east London seemed unlikely then consider that Simonsen had previously faked his own death during a World Cup qualifier.

Director Tom Hedgegaard was making a movie in which a militant activist wanted to warn the public about the dangers of nuclear power by bumping off a number of high profile Danes, top of the list being the midfield maestro. Hedgegaard didn't have the funds to re-enact a football match but amazingly got Simonsen to take a dive as if shot by a marksman during a crucial match against Poland. The film flopped at the box office (just like Simonsen in the penalty area) and the Danes failed to qualify for the 1978 World Cup finals but the fact that a player could do something so audacious seems inconceivable now.

Simonsen's unlikely shot at movie stardom is one of the many great bits of trivia to be found in Who Invented The Stepover (And Other Crucial Football Conundrums). Co-authors Paul Simpson and Uli Hesse cover plenty of ground from tactics (Who invented the 4-4-2 formation?), records (Who is the world's leading goalscorer?) and skullduggery (When did teams first agree to fix a match?) to music (What was the first football song?) and cliches (Who coined game of two halves, early doors and sick as a parrot?).

More interesting though are the subjective categories such as who was the best dressed coach? (definitely not Gary Megson), who was the hardest manager? (surely Ron Saunders) or just how effective is drinking as a motivational aid? (ask Brian Clough).

Just why did Neil Armstrong leave a pennant from Argentine side Independiente on the moon? Which England international sang on the same bill as The Beatles? Did UFOs really stop play during a Fiorentina match in Italy in 1954? How did a Uruguayan invent Brazil's famous yellow and blue kit after enterting a competition for a laugh? You'll learn the answer to these tales as well as many more.

Who Invented The Stepover debunks plenty of received wisdom about the game and will provide football fans with plenty of trivia to impress/bore their friends down the pub. There's the odd misstep, Brazil didn't win the World Cup in 1978 as I'm sure the authors are well aware and the Everton legend is Dixie Dean and not Dixie Deans (who played for Celtic in the 1970s). That aside, there's plenty to enjoy, certainly enough to improve your footballing knowledge and start a heated debate or two while sampling a pre match tipple.

If this book appeals then have a look at A History of Football in 100 Objects by Gavin Mortimer.

Buy Who Invented The Stepover? (And Other Crucial Football Conundrums) by Paul Simpson and Uli Hesse at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Who Invented The Stepover? (And Other Crucial Football Conundrums) by Paul Simpson and Uli Hesse at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Who Invented The Stepover? (And Other Crucial Football Conundrums) by Paul Simpson and Uli Hesse at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Who Invented The Stepover? (And Other Crucial Football Conundrums) by Paul Simpson and Uli Hesse at Amazon.com.


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