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Apart form its current publications, John Blake Publishing has a sizeable back list of acclaimed sporting titles. These include biographies of stars such as Roger Federer, WG Grace, Fernando Torres and Frankie Dettori. For more information, visit www.blake.co.uk



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Eibar The Brave The Extraordinary Rise of La Liga’s Smallest Team By Euan McTear

Release date: 01st September, 2015
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: £9.99
Our Price: £7.99
You Save: £2 (20%)
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There’s an increasing weight of evidence to suggest that the average football fan has grown tired of a constant, force-fed broadcast diet comprising the Premier League and the Champions League, particularly as only a couple of clubs are now capable of winning either competition.

The surfeit of football ‘stories’, little more than gossip or details of a midfielder’s latest tattoo, or how another feigned ‘injury’ has been miraculously cured overnight, have left millions of us jaded. Meanwhile, we’ve bought the nonsense about how foreign players are good for the English national side, yet rarely see any evidence of this: indeed, when Everton played an all-English back four recently, it was deemed newsworthy.

So when tales of genuine footballing glory emerge, they provoke understandable interest because they offer fans an opportunity to remember what attracted them to the game in the first place.

Euan McTear has written such a tale about Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, a football club that hails from a tiny Basque town around one third the size of Camp Nou.

It is, he says, a fairytale, “a story for football’s frog princes, beanstalk scalers and sleeping beauties,” an account of a footballing miracle, one which, according to the author, “Hollywood script writers would discard for being too far-fetched”.

Furthermore, this fairytale is not one backed by the ill-gotten gains currently in the possession of an east European gangster, oil magnate or sugar daddy. In fact, Eibar’s president, Álex Aranzábal describes in the book’s foreword just how challenging it was for the club to raise less than €2 million to ensure that Eibar, an outfit with no debt, could be permitted to play in Spain’s top flight. To put that sum of money into context, it’s the equivalent of what an average Premier League full back could expect to earn in a year.

McTear takes us on a brilliant, season-long ride, split into five acts and building to a remarkable crescendo as six consecutive defeats are book-ended with a draw and final-day, 3-0 victory which nonetheless consigns Eibar to relegation. But wait! The football fairies had other ideas, raising the spirits of jaded football fans everywhere and providing a truly uplifting story. Read it.


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