by Jonathan Wilson
'Aloof, solitary, impassive, the crack goalie is followed in the streets by entranced small boys. He vies with the matador and the flying aces, an object of thrilled adulation. He is the lone eagle, the man of mystery, the last defender.'
Nabokov (quoted above), Camus, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, James Joyce, even Julian Barnes ...it's safe to say the goalkeeper hasn't always been a team player. In THE OUTSIDER, Jonathan Wilson traces the sometimes dangerous intellectual and literary preoccupations of the keeper, and looks at how the position has secured a certain existential cool, as well as taking a deep tactical and technical look at the history of goalkeeping. There has been the odd, minor work on goalkeeping in the past, but nothing like this in scope or depth.
The Outsider, A History Of The Goalkeeper is Jonathan Wilson's unique and well researched look into the history of the man between the sticks. Clearly a long time in writing with contributions from across the world, this fascinating book is the first of its kind and a 'philosophical gem.
The book follows the evolution of the goalkeeper since the invention of football and the ongoing development of the game. Contributions from the world renowned greats including Yashin, Zoff, Seaman and Buffon give a telling insight into the mind of the goalkeeper and their ongoing battle against chronic aloofness. Unlike any other book of this nature, The Outsider branches out and delves into the mindset of top players in the position.
For tFt the highlight of the book is without question the story of the battle for the number one position between the Cameroon keepers N'kono and Bell and the political sensitivity of their rivalry. A story that will make you contagious with a need to research it yourself, once you read Wilson's book you'll soon realise it's a rivalry that cannot exist in any other position on the pitch. In addition to the Cameroon story, Brian Glanville's contribution is typically bullish and frank.
This book is nothing sort of a masterpiece, full of wonderful stories and historical insight into the lonely nature of being a goalkeeper. The best football book we've read since Inverting The Pyramid, Wilson has delivered yet again. A magical gift idea - for yourself, of course.