Lovely review of The Last Champions in the June 2012 issue of The Word, by Steve Jelbert.
Already a seasoned tracker of northern burnouts - his The Fallen sought out every former employee of Mark E. Smith - Leeds fan Simpson is ideally qualified to track down everyone involved with the last team to win the old First Division Championship, before its "rebranding" as the Premiership. At times it's unbearably poignant - the recent suicide victim Gary Speed comes across, as he always did, as balanced and thoughtful, while at least two team-mates nearly went the same way. But there's humour too. Vinnie Jones giving way his theatrical leanings by turning up to training in wild outfits; the author's messy cocktail with Lee Chapman. It couldn't last. Manager Howard Wilkinson already had these men playing at their limits. But Simpson neatly captures football's key appeal, the way it can restore the simple certainties of childhood. These men are now postmen, pensioners, disabled, successful, travel agents and the seemingly lost (including "mad as cheese" midfielder David Batty). But they talk with equal wonder about their greatest season.