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Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
Brian Laws "Laws of the Jungle" Book Review
By: Rob Sedgwick
AS a rule I don't generally read footballers' biographies because they tend to be repetitive, ghost-written affairs. A few like Steve Claridge's or Gary Nelson's are classics which transcend the genre and are worth reading in their own right. Others I generally only read if I have a specific interest in the player's career.
Although I have watched and follow other clubs to some extent in different parts of my life, I am only really interested in Grimsby players, and not many of them write biographies. Even if they did then today's players tend to stay with Town for such a short time that I'm not sure I'd bother reading it if they did make the effort to write their memories in the future when their career had ended, by which time I'd probably have forgotten about them anyway!
Players from the eighties and nineties are different however because in those days hardly anyone played for more that 2 or 3 clubs in their career, plus maybe one or two more as they got older and dropped down the divisions.
Let me say first of all that Brian Laws's autobiography does not comes into the classic category. It's ghost written, largely from transcribed conversations with the well-spoken Laws. It's not a classic and it will be of interest mainly to Burnley, Forest, Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Sheffield Wednesday fans. However it is competently written and a good read.
As it happens I have followed Laws's career closely so am very interested in his story. I went to university in Nottingham when Laws was a player under Cloughie and used to watch Forest semi-regularly, so was well aware of him even before he took the job at Grimsby.
I've always liked Laws as a player and as a manager. His passion for football and life you could see on the pitch, and can still pick up in his interviews. It comes through into the book as well. I have long forgiven him the "Ivano" episode, and would welcome Laws back to Grimsby if the chance arose in the future.
Undoubtedly the highlight of the book is the Forest years under Cloughie. It was central to Laws's career, he was an integral part of a great team under a great manager. Any recollections of Cloughie from those close to him are always entertaining, and these pages are no exception from someone who was very close indeed. The chapter on Hillsborough gives another perspective from the playing point of view in that match, something I don't remember reading before.
The Grimsby chapters are interesting and I remember all the Laws's years fondly until they ended so suddenly in that disastrous game at Luton when the spell was broken. There's a chapter on Ivanogate - I won't say more because you'll have to buy the book and read it to find out what his story is.
I have followed Laws's career closely since he left Cleethorpes, and the chapters on Scunny and Wendy reveal how he has progressed as a manager since the early days as Town (which those Town fans who can't forgive and forget should heed). His short spell at Burnley in the Premier League didn't last long so there's not much to say! The second career at Scunny happened after the book was published but he does say how he has adopted Scunthorpe as his home and loves it!
The book covers Laws's football career and that's it. There's hardly a mention of his family or his life outside football. Even the obligatory childhood memories are very brief, so don't buy the book unless you are interested in anything other than his football career. One exception is when Laws does mention a parachute jump he was roped into late in the book, and that was a very amusing story - I wish there was more! There's no doubt Laws was a central part of some of the key events in football in the eighties and nineties, and if you were there are want to know his perspective on things, then it's a very good read.
You read buy the book from Amazon.
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