My Turn: The Autobiography
By Johan Cruyff
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We live in an age when, thanks to websites such as YouTube, memories can be instantly recalled, a state of affairs which means that unless an incident was particularly special, we can soon reach memory overload, a videoed saturation point few of us wish to encounter.
Fortunately, most of us have enough inherent discipline to ensure we don’t watch those special moments over and over, ostensibly because we want to experience that thrilling mix of awe, excitement, wonder and admiration for what we recall seeing ‘live’, such as Gary Sobers’ hitting six sixes, Liverpool coming back from 3-0 down to win the Champions League, or the outrageous ‘Cruyff turn’.
Thankfully, however, Johann Cruyff was no one-trick pony. His influence on football matches was plain to see; he was an incredibly powerful, inventive, forward with Ajax and Barcelona, but it was behind the scenes that his reputation was burnished even further.
Think of the phrase ‘Total Football’ and it’s impossible not to think of Cruyff in his heyday, a serial winner both as a footballer and one of the very few capable of translating major success on the pitch to the dugout when he became manager.
To say he had an eye for talent is an understatement. He won 11 trophies in 8 seasons as manager of Barcelona where he recruited players such as Ronald Koeman, Michael Laudrup, Hagi, Romario, Stoichkov and fast-tracked a gangly Pep Guardiola into the first team.
Guardiola was present at this book’s launch last week and his comment (“I knew nothing about football before knowing Cruyff”) adorns its bright orange cover. The Manchester City manager acknowledges Cruyff’s influence, not just on those who were fortunate enough to see him play, but on those he coached.
This is not a particularly well-written book. It’s style is clunky and laboured in parts, not charges you could ever level at Cruyff himself, but if you want to wallow in the memory of a footballer many folk (including your correspondent) believe was better than Pelé, then you should read My Turn, but if you haven’t seen it already, watch that video on YouTube first.
We’ve teamed up with www.sportsbookofthemonth.com and have a copy of My Turn to give away.
To win this prize, visit the www.sportsbookofthemonth.com website and answer the following question:
Against which team did Johann Cruyff famously execute his ‘Cruyff turn’ at the 1974 World Cup?
See full story in the Chester Leader