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The Official Football Yearbook 2008

Release date: 17th July, 2008
Publisher: A & C Black

List Price: £19.99
Our Price: £13.75
You Save: £6.24 (31%)
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Conventional wisdom would have us believe that when it comes to providing statistics or other sporting data, the written word has been superseded by the internet's instantaneous nature and willingness to provide everyone with everything.

Yet there is a mountain of unsubstantiated information available online and given that many of us increasingly use computers in our everyday work, employing them again during our leisure time can sometimes be a chore. Readers with more than a handful of grey hairs will understand what I mean. Thankfully, browsing through record books remains a perfectly acceptable pursuit

No doubt every one of the stats and records referred to in The Official Football Yearbook is available online, but nowhere will they be as professionally displayed or as well arranged as in this marvellous book.

I suspect the publishers have identified a niche, for as the Sky Sports Yearbook (formerly Rothmans) has dominated the pre-season football book market for almost 40 years, it is difficult for new or competing titles to find their place. However, the OFY complements Sky's veritable tome by focusing on a different set of stats and records and by a liberal use of colour which brings its huge collection of entertaining graphics to life.

For example, you would need to spend hours meandering through the ether to find information regarding how every league team's goals were scored so well presented. The PA Sport team behind this book's production must make for great pub quiz team companions as OFY is rammed with such information and more - from shots on target and corners won, to goals scored inside the six yard box and the number of red cards received.

Similarly, while it's straight forward enough to list the XI who played in each competitive match, OFY provides fans with details of each side's on-field formation - for the top flight at least.

Apart from a month-by-month record of the last football season, resplendent with quotes and details of which sides were top or bottom of their respective league (interesting that Irn Bru have phenomenal managers and players of the month, not ordinary ones) there is, as might be expected, a comprehensive statistical section which focuses upon the Premier League.

The top flight produced 1,002 goals last term, 80 of which were scored by Manchester United; as Sir Alex Ferguson's men also topped the charts for the most shots on target (360), this meant they found the net every 4.5 shots. By contrast, relegated Reading had exactly half (180) the number of shots as the champions, a record which perhaps explains their respective final league position.

There are enough such data to satisfy the cravings of statto junkies; moreover, ordinary fans can unearth little-known figures here safe in the knowledge that unlike much unverified online material, the wealth available on the OFY is accurate.

While the internet will continue to churn out sports-related information which often needs to be double-checked, thank heavens for books such as the OFY, surely an early contender for lavatory book of the year.


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