Category Archives: Sport

You’ll Never Walk by Andy Grant – A Book Review

When you read somebody’s personal journey, their highs, lows, triumphs and tragedies experienced, are vividly described and brought to life in your mind. Some make you laugh, cry, emotional and even inspired, as their journey is so engrossing that you cannot stop reading, which is like being on a rollercoaster.

I experienced this recently when reading a fabulous book called, You’ll Never Walk by Andy Grant. You’ll Never Walk tells his personal story from growing up in Bootle, joining the Royal Marines and overcoming adversity, to become a motivational speaker and runner.

As a Royal Marines commando, Andy served in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2009, Andy’s military career was cut short, when he was blown up by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) whilst on patrol, suffering serious injuries. These included nerve damage, two broken legs, a broken elbow and sternum, along with a severed femoral artery. I must admit reading Andy’s account and the subsequent aftermath was difficult, as I could not have imagined what must have been going through his mind, during those fateful and horrific moments.

Along with enduring the mental trauma and months of recovery, Andy was also told the devasting news, that he would not be able to have children. Yet from such harrowing adversity, Andy showed great character, courage, heart, and determination befitting a true Scouser and Royal Marine, by rebuilding his life and making a brave decision to amputate his leg. Since then, Andy has not only become a successful motivational speaker, but he also went on to be the fastest single-leg amputee in the world over 10k, along with winning double gold at the 2014 Invictus Games.

From the Royal Marines to motivational speaking and record-breaking running, Andy Grant has experienced and achieved so much, whilst overcoming adversity.

Reading the book, I was totally engrossed with Andy’s story throughout. Not only was it nicely written, but it was funny and extremely dark, with a raw honesty, plenty of Scouse humour and vivid imagery. There were moments in the book where I did laugh in places, and others which had a solemn tone that brought a tear, especially with Andy’s love for his family, and of how his late mother passed away from leukaemia, when he was twelve. Indeed, the theme of family is a constant thread, that links and illuminates his story beautifully.

Overall, I loved every minute reading the book, which took me two days as I could not put it down. Andy’s story is certainly an uplifting one, that is an honest portrait of a remarkable individual, who has endured and experienced plenty. Just reading the book’s closing words encapsulates the image of a proud family man, and an inspirational hero, for everyone to look up to.

I had the pleasure of meeting Andy at an event in Liverpool last year, where I was able to briefly chat with him. I found him to be very humble, kind, funny, and approachable, in other words a true Scouser. By reading Andy’s story, I was able to relate it to my own background with overcoming challenges, which for me being autistic, is overcoming my disability, graduating from university and working in IT. In addition, I discovered we also share similar passions, for running and supporting Liverpool Football Club.

There will be many others who will also relate to Andy’s story, as he is an example of how you can change your life for the better. I seriously recommend You’ll Never Walk, as it is of the greatest books, that I have ever had the privilege of reading, and the story of Andy Grant is one that deserves to be discovered by millions. Therefore, if you want to be inspired and be shown that anything is possible. this book is for you.

Finally, I would like to thank Andy for sharing his story, and to Phil Reade for ghost-writing the book.

You can follow Andy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can also listen to him on The Leg It podcast on YouTube.

You will not be disappointed at all!

World in Motion by Simon Hart – A Book Review

As a Liverpool supporter, I enjoy reading autobiographies of great players including Sir Kenny Dalglish, Steven Gerrard and John Barnes, as well as other football books that look at Liverpool’s history. In addition, I also enjoy reading about international football, including the England national team and the World Cup.

As I write this, the 2018 World Cup in Russia is currently taking centre stage, which has already seen a number of surprises. During matches, I have just finished reading World in Motion by Simon Hart, which looks at the inside story of the 1990 World Cup in Italy, and how its impact changed football forever.

Once I started reading, I was hooked and absorbed by how the book painted a fascinating and colourful picture of Italia 90. From Gazza’s tears, England’s journey to self-final heartbreak, to the emergence of Cameroon, Costa Rica and the Republic of Ireland on the World Cup stage, the book chronicles a tournament put to the memorable sounds of New Order’s World in Motion.

World in Motion is more than just about football. Instead it leads you on a journey through a period in history, before the age of the Premier League, and the evolution of the game into the billion-pound industry that we know today. Told through interviews with key players from Italia 90, the book explores and vividly describes the experiences, emotions and circumstances of the players, supporters and countries, at a time of change with the Cold War ending, the Berlin Wall falling down, and cultural barriers between East and West disappearing.

The interviews themselves are a tremendous collection of anecdotes, which are funny, entertaining, yet also poignant reminders of a different time. From all over the world, these interviews include several key players from Italia 90, including Cameron’s Roger Milla, Italy’s star striker and World Cup leading scorer Toto Schillaci, and also England’s Terry Butcher, team captain on that dramatic Turin semi-final against West Germany.

I found the players stories to be very interesting, with some making me laugh, and also thinking about what if results had turned out differently. Indeed there were several times, when I thought about those two words “what if”. These include what if Paul Gascoigne hadn’t been booked, what if Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle had scored in that heartbreaking penalty shootout, what if Cameroon had gone further, or what if Yugoslavia had beaten Argentina. Reading the book, there were so many moments that made me think about “what if”, which is one of the reasons why I loved World in Motion as a book.

Overall I found World in Motion to be a superb engrossing read, well researched and put together by Simon Hart, with the interviews giving this book a big heart, and a strong sense of nostalgia. If you are a football fan, I wholeheartedly recommend it, as it captures the spirit and essence of Italia 90. For those who remember watching the tournament, every one of the 384 pages will take you back in time, to those hot summer days of Italia 90.

To conclude this review, I would like to leave you with a montage of Italia 90, put to the memorable music of Luciano Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma.

Hope it brings back the memories!