"Extremely entertaining and fearlessly erudite" Evening Standard
The penalty shoot-out is the greatest set piece of sporting drama ever conceived. Cruel, arbitrary, tortuous and unfair, it has also presented the England football team with a new and infinitely more punishing manner in which to lose. Three times in the past decade the nation has sat on the edge of its collective sofa and watched the seemingly inevitable unfold as Stuart Pearce, Chris Waddle, Gareth Southgate, Paul Ince and David Batty have selected the wrong shots in the lottery of international championship shoot-outs. Except it's not a lottery. There is an art to scoring penalties, which calls upon a unique combination of physical prowess and psychological strength. Score and few will remember, miss and, as the above list of names testifies, no one will forget.The author explores the growing significance of the penalty from its stilted arrival in 1890 to its spectacular, scene-stealing climax at the end of the 20th century. Talking to some of the game's most successful players and managers, the question the book seeks to address is simple: can England overcome their fear of the penalty?
Praise for On Penalties
A wonderfully entertaining readNew Statesman
A tour de force of narrative journalismObserver
Extremely entertaining and fearlessly eruditeEvening Standard