‘One of the best football books I’ve ever read.’ John Motson on Provided You Don’t Kiss Me
‘Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed by that attitude. I can assure you it’s much more important than that’ – Bill Shankly
What Shankly said isn’t even half-true. In fact, it’s bollocks. Football isn’t the be-all and end-all of everything. If nothing else, I know that much.
As a player, Thom Callaghan was defined by the winning goal he scored in an FA Cup final. The goal wasn’t the blessing he imagined it would be. His whole career was defined by that brief moment of glory.
With his playing days over, Callaghan, still a local hero, is tempted back to his old club as caretaker manager. His task to rescue it from relegation. He’s got the job solely on the recommendation of his former boss and mentor Frank Mallory, now desperately ill and responsible for the team’s precipitous decline.
Callaghan is pitched into the Premier League during the last months of the 1996-1997 season, where – among reputations more gilded than his own – he finds himself pitted against the likes of Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, chasing their fourth title in five years, and also one of the newest recruits to the English game, Arsene Wenger.
Can Callaghan save his club from what seems the inevitability of the drop? Does Mallory – eccentric, inspirational and manipulative – even want him to succeed? What if the prize of a personal triumph isn’t worth it in the end?
Injury Time is the first novel from the multiple award-winning sportswriter Duncan Hamilton.