Book review of Watford FC book Tales from the Vicarage by Lionel Birnie

Book review for Tales from the Vicarage

Book review for Tales from the Vicarage

First published in Watford FC News

Below is a review of Watford FC book Tales from the Vicarage by trainee sports reporter and Hornets fan Colin Cowan.

Hornets fan and journalist Lionel Birnie has pulled together a number of talented writers to produce a Watford FC book which is a must-have for any Golden Boys followers and a perfect stocking filler.

Tales from the Vicarage consists of 11 authors from different sections of the media and is an enjoyable read which appeals to all - if one chapter doesn't take your fancy then there are plenty more to choose from.

This is the fourth Watford book from Birnie, who used to work at the Watford Observer, following the success of Four Seasons, Enjoy The Game and The 100 Greatest Watford wins.

The book starts with a chapter by former England and Watford goalkeeper David James, where talks about his struggles whilst in the Hornets youth team. He also reveals the identity of the club he supported as a boy, which might shock and disappoint some readers. I really enjoyed this chapter and it is a great way to start to the book.

Simon Burnton of the Guardian looks at a period of considerable change at Vicarage Road; with a change to the colour of the kit, the badge and also the club's nickname. It is an interesting and time-sensitive chapter considering what has recently happened at Cardiff City. I was not aware of why Watford are now called the Hornets and Simon Burton's section would be worth reading just for that story alone..

What would it be like if Graham Taylor released an autobiography? Could Graham Taylor actually be God? Olly Wickens writes a fictional version of what he thinks Taylor would write in an excellent chapter. This is one of my favourite chapters in the book and it will bring a smile to any Watford fan's face.

Watford have supporters around the world and many are unable to attend matches at all, let alone on a regular basis. John Anderson discusses how moving away from the area early on in his life and also his work has resulted in a lack of visits to Vicarage Road. I found myself relating to this chapter in particular as I spent all of my childhood in different countries so had very few trips to Vicarage Road.

In a fascinating chapter, Sky Sports News presenter Adam Leventhal interviewed two former Watford managers who split opinion following their departures. Current Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay discuss their time at Vicarage Road and their subsequent departures. One of the men admits he made a mistake and should have stayed for longer.

This great chapter may change people’s perceptions of the duo and is one of the best sections in the book in my opinion. Many fans may see that it includes both Rodgers and Mackay and feel that they don’t want to read on but I encourage you to do so as you may be in for a surprise or two.

Former Watford press officer Andrew French discusses what it was like to be around the club in the 1999/2000 season when the club were in the Premier ship. In a great behind the scenes view, French reveals what it was like following and reporting on the Golden Boys home and away in the so called 'promised land'. This is another great look at how the club is run behind the scenes, especially as they prepared for their first season in the Premiership. I found this a very interesting chapter as it tells the story of what wasn’t published during the 1999/2000 season.

Tim Turner talks about how important the community spirit is at the club. Being part of the Watford family is vital and it is one of the reasons so many people come back. Turner writes that you are never alone at Vicarage Road. This chapter shows how important the club's family values are to all of its fans and how welcoming the club is to new supporters. This chapter shows the real reason about what supporting Watford is really about and is an excellent read.

Former Watford Observer sports editor Oliver Phillips looks at the last six decades of the Hornets' history. In a chapter that has in-depth information on the history of the Hertfordshire side, Phillips looks at a time when he was watching the side as a school boy right up to when he was covering them for the Watford Observer. Having not been around for many of these seasons, it was a great read to see what the club was like before I supported the team. For those who followed the club during that era, it is a great nostalgic read.

Kevin Affleck looks at Aidy Boothroyd's reign when he was covering the club for the Watford Observer. This chapter is a great insight in to what happened behind the scenes during the latest Premier League season and reveals what went on off the pitch. This was probably my favourite chapter and is one that I would highly recommend.

The author of the book, Lionel Birnie, looks at the last time Italian's were involved at Watford prior to the recent takeover by the Pozzo family. Birnie talks to the one of the success stories of the Gianluca Vialli reign - defender and European Cup winner Filippo Galli. This is an interesting look at the Vialli season and how the Hornets dealt with life after Graham Taylor.

As a producer at the BBC, Stuart Hutchinson has spent hours searching for Watford-related footage in the BBC archive. Hutchinson talks about how this became an obsession for him and it is another good chapter.

Tales from the Vicarage is another excellent book by Birnie and it is a must have for any Watford fans. It is an excellent read and reveals some exclusive information that Hornets fans will find intriguing. This would make an excellent Christmas present for any Watford fan and I highly recommend adding it to your list for Santa.

The book is £9.99 and is available now in Waterstone's in The Harlequin centre or from lionelbirnie.com/books.

Comments (14)

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8:22am Wed 12 Dec 12

Holly68 says...

Well worth buying
Well worth buying Holly68
  • Score: 0

9:34am Wed 12 Dec 12

Travelling Hornet says...

I enjoyed every chapter.
I enjoyed every chapter. Travelling Hornet
  • Score: 0

9:53am Wed 12 Dec 12

jasonwatford says...

on my list hope father christmas gets me it !!!
on my list hope father christmas gets me it !!! jasonwatford
  • Score: 0

10:25am Wed 12 Dec 12

lutondown says...

Poor Kevin paid the price for that rotten regime. Kabba, Ellington, missing millions, seems like the real truth can never be spoken.
He's been vindicated
Poor Kevin paid the price for that rotten regime. Kabba, Ellington, missing millions, seems like the real truth can never be spoken. He's been vindicated lutondown
  • Score: 0

10:32am Wed 12 Dec 12

Wimbledonhorn says...

Would highly recommend this book to Watford fans of any age. So many insightful and revealing stories. The chapter describing Graham Taylor as 'god' is simply brilliant.
Would highly recommend this book to Watford fans of any age. So many insightful and revealing stories. The chapter describing Graham Taylor as 'god' is simply brilliant. Wimbledonhorn
  • Score: 0

10:38am Wed 12 Dec 12

lutondown says...

lutondown wrote:
Poor Kevin paid the price for that rotten regime. Kabba, Ellington, missing millions, seems like the real truth can never be spoken.
He's been vindicated
Yep I got this as a present. The Dog bought it for me. I couldn't wait! He's got the hump that I didn't wait till Xmas day
[quote][p][bold]lutondown[/bold] wrote: Poor Kevin paid the price for that rotten regime. Kabba, Ellington, missing millions, seems like the real truth can never be spoken. He's been vindicated[/p][/quote]Yep I got this as a present. The Dog bought it for me. I couldn't wait! He's got the hump that I didn't wait till Xmas day lutondown
  • Score: 0

2:29pm Wed 12 Dec 12

AngelHornet says...

Half way through the book and enjoyed it so far.
Half way through the book and enjoyed it so far. AngelHornet
  • Score: 0

6:51pm Wed 12 Dec 12

big_doris says...

Wimbledonhorn wrote:
Would highly recommend this book to Watford fans of any age. So many insightful and revealing stories. The chapter describing Graham Taylor as 'god' is simply brilliant.
GT chapter is best thing ive ever read about watford, made me laugh, made me cry. genius.
[quote][p][bold]Wimbledonhorn[/bold] wrote: Would highly recommend this book to Watford fans of any age. So many insightful and revealing stories. The chapter describing Graham Taylor as 'god' is simply brilliant.[/p][/quote]GT chapter is best thing ive ever read about watford, made me laugh, made me cry. genius. big_doris
  • Score: 0

6:58pm Wed 12 Dec 12

buckler says...

lutondown wrote:
lutondown wrote:
Poor Kevin paid the price for that rotten regime. Kabba, Ellington, missing millions, seems like the real truth can never be spoken.
He's been vindicated
Yep I got this as a present. The Dog bought it for me. I couldn't wait! He's got the hump that I didn't wait till Xmas day
What the same dog that eat my present?
[quote][p][bold]lutondown[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]lutondown[/bold] wrote: Poor Kevin paid the price for that rotten regime. Kabba, Ellington, missing millions, seems like the real truth can never be spoken. He's been vindicated[/p][/quote]Yep I got this as a present. The Dog bought it for me. I couldn't wait! He's got the hump that I didn't wait till Xmas day[/p][/quote]What the same dog that eat my present? buckler
  • Score: 0

7:02pm Wed 12 Dec 12

HunsburyHornet says...

Sounds good to me and is on my list. Can't get to the Harlequin though as I live in Northampton and only come down for matches. Wonder if they could sell it in the club shop.
Sounds good to me and is on my list. Can't get to the Harlequin though as I live in Northampton and only come down for matches. Wonder if they could sell it in the club shop. HunsburyHornet
  • Score: 0

7:06pm Wed 12 Dec 12

gloryhornet4 says...

lutondown wrote:
Poor Kevin paid the price for that rotten regime. Kabba, Ellington, missing millions, seems like the real truth can never be spoken.
He's been vindicated
Kabba - a cricket stump moves more in a game.

Ellington - Google "BoginaBag" to find out what his contribution was to WFC.
[quote][p][bold]lutondown[/bold] wrote: Poor Kevin paid the price for that rotten regime. Kabba, Ellington, missing millions, seems like the real truth can never be spoken. He's been vindicated[/p][/quote]Kabba - a cricket stump moves more in a game. Ellington - Google "BoginaBag" to find out what his contribution was to WFC. gloryhornet4
  • Score: 0

7:09pm Wed 12 Dec 12

big_doris says...

HunsburyHornet wrote:
Sounds good to me and is on my list. Can't get to the Harlequin though as I live in Northampton and only come down for matches. Wonder if they could sell it in the club shop.
then order it online, address is at end of review, not difficult
[quote][p][bold]HunsburyHornet[/bold] wrote: Sounds good to me and is on my list. Can't get to the Harlequin though as I live in Northampton and only come down for matches. Wonder if they could sell it in the club shop.[/p][/quote]then order it online, address is at end of review, not difficult big_doris
  • Score: 0

7:09pm Wed 12 Dec 12

gloryhornet4 says...

big_doris wrote:
Wimbledonhorn wrote:
Would highly recommend this book to Watford fans of any age. So many insightful and revealing stories. The chapter describing Graham Taylor as 'god' is simply brilliant.
GT chapter is best thing ive ever read about watford, made me laugh, made me cry. genius.
GT was not "god" he's was a naughty boy.
[quote][p][bold]big_doris[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Wimbledonhorn[/bold] wrote: Would highly recommend this book to Watford fans of any age. So many insightful and revealing stories. The chapter describing Graham Taylor as 'god' is simply brilliant.[/p][/quote]GT chapter is best thing ive ever read about watford, made me laugh, made me cry. genius.[/p][/quote]GT was not "god" he's was a naughty boy. gloryhornet4
  • Score: 0

8:56pm Wed 12 Dec 12

Kingswoodhornet says...

Yep would definitely recommend. Stirred the old memory banks...some good memories and some i'd rather forget again. I'm sure there's plenty of material from the last few years to make volume two!
Yep would definitely recommend. Stirred the old memory banks...some good memories and some i'd rather forget again. I'm sure there's plenty of material from the last few years to make volume two! Kingswoodhornet
  • Score: 0

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