By Ashley Birch
TITLE: The Manchester City Quiz Book
AUTHOR: John Maddocks
PUBLISHER: Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Ltd. 7 Albany St., Edinburgh EH1 3UG, Scotland.
ISBN: No 1 85158 196 0
PRICE: £4.95 (1988)
This is a card-backed A5 book of 142 pages, containing 38 black & white photos. The format is basically what you would expect; a brief foreword by Colin Bell leads straight into a total of 1000 questions which are grouped into sections, with the answers similarly grouped at the rear of the book. The book covers in the main, the post-war period up to the 1987-88 season. A few examples of the sections serve to give a taste of what’s on offer: Début Days, One League Game, Anagrams, Photo Quiz, Welsh Internationals, The American Connection, Arrivals and Departures etc. There is a wealth of information here, much of which would probably remain buried if it were not for a book like this. It’s not a book for reading, more for browsing through a little at a time, testing your knowledge. Be warned though, many of the questions are rather difficult! I knew Kazi Deyna had been in the Polish Army and that he had been in two World Cups but I had absolutely no idea how many caps he had won! It was 102 (Does this make him City’s most capped player?).
There are two things I must criticise and almost certainly these are down to the publisher rather than the author. Firstly, the curious practice of printing a photo which takes up the top 40% of the page and then three or four questions which relate to the photo beneath it. This might not seem odd until I reveal that the whole takes up only half the page, the bottom being left completely blank (this is done several times)! Surely a larger picture could have been used or perhaps a more efficient layout employed, publishing basics I would have thought. Secondly, the pictures are occasionally of very poor quality indeed; there is an almost ridiculous one on page 48 where we are supposed to answer some questions on the player depicted. Most of these are cases where you scratch your head trying to remember his name but in this case the print is so bad, it’s almost a lottery trying to guess who he is. I’m fairly certain that this was not what the author had in mind when he set the question. Strangely, the answer is Colin Bell but I’m afraid I just don’t buy it; my personal guess is that it’s the wrong print and that in fact, those chunky thighs belong to one Joe Royle esq!
This book is very reasonably priced, contains a plethora of interesting facts and should make an interesting read for any Blue. Perhaps we shouldn’t expect too much in the way of quality from a book which is aimed at a specialist market with consequent low volume sales. I do however, feel that Mr Maddocks’ unrivalled knowledge of the club deserves a better quality product than this. Let’s hope that he plans to do a definitive history or something similar.
As it appeared in MCIVTA 20