The Last Champions

The Last Champions
The Last Champions

Thursday, 31 May 2012

What they're saying about The Last Champions

"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" - STEVE JELBERT, THE WORD

"Fascinating story" - THOM KIRWIN, YORKSHIRE RADIO

"A really, really good read" - KATHERINE HANNAH, RADIO LEEDS

"Excellent book" - CHRIS BOND, YORKSHIRE POST 

"This excellent book evokes what increasingly seems like a golden age" - CHOICE MAGAZINE

"A fantastic book about Leeds United and that era, beautifully written detective work" - MARTIN KELNER, RADIO LEEDS

"Great memories of players who played with pride and passion, the last ordinary people to win the league before the Premier League brought astronomical salaries and billionaire foreign owners" - JAKE KATBORG, RADIO LEEDS

"Highly recommended" - PHIL HAY, Yorkshire Evening Post

"Will appeal to loads of Leeds United fans and those who are just nosy to know about that particular era of football" - JON COWAP, RADIO YORK

"Really enjoyed the book - it's a great read" - LEE "CHAPPY" CHAPMAN, LEEDS UNITED centre forward, League Championship winner, 1991-92

"A great read" - TONY DORIGO, BROADCASTER, 2012, LAST CHAMPION, 1991-92 


When the Leeds United players celebrated winning the championship in April 1992, they could not have had an inkling of how momentous the occasion was. Manchester United, losers at Liverpool that sunny Sunday afternoon, had now gone 25 years without winning the league. Howard Wilkinson's side, promoted just two seasons ago, could bring back the glory days to Leeds. But Wilkinson would prove to be the last English manager to win the league. In 1992, football changed beyond all recognition.

Twenty years on, The Last Champions looks back at the roots of that success and the amazing cast of characters who came together to fashion the triumph. As in his acclaimed book The Fallen, Dave Simpson's quest to catch up with the protagonists of the era, from the visionary Sergeant Wilko, top scorer Lee Chapman and unsung heroes like Mike Whitlow and Carl Shutt (not forgetting Eric Cantona, of course), sees him unearth some extraordinary untold stories.

And he finds that The Last Champions were also the last ordinary people to win the league, before the Premier League saw skyrocketing wages, billionaire foreign owners and the dictates of television taking the game away from the fans. It is the brilliantly told story of the end of an era.

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