The Worst Of Friends
Before the Thai millions and Abu Dhabi billions, Manchester City was always a club that attracted fierce controversy.
July 1965: Manchester City are on the scrapheap, managerless and languishing in Second Division mediocrity. Desperate to reverse the club’s fortunes, the board turns to Joe Mercer, a respected football veteran hungry for a final chance to achieve management glory. Yet age and ill health are against Joe: he needs an assistant, and volatile, ambitious coaching genius Malcolm Allison is his man. Recently sacked from managing Plymouth for sleeping with a director’s wife, Malcolm is out to prove that his innovative tactics can breathe new life into the staid English game. City is the perfect opportunity to show off his talents – especially since Joe promises him the manager’s job in two years’ time . . .
July 1970: City rule supreme, having just won their fifth trophy in as many seasons. The Mercer-Allison partnership is the most successful management team in the club’s history. But, unwilling to let go of his success, Joe breaks his word and refuses to step aside. In order to fulfil his self-proclaimed destiny as the greatest manager in English football, an embittered Malcolm engineers a boardroom takeover that risks everything he and Joe have worked for.
Based on real events and set against a British society changing rapidly in the ’60s, Colin Shindler’s novel explores the clash of personalities that led to the spectacular rise and fall of Manchester City’s ‘Golden Age’. Malcolm and Joe’s story is a cautionary tale of how ambition and betrayal brought down two men who had the world at their feet but let greatness slip through their fingers – of how two of the greatest management partners in British football history became the worst of friends.