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‘The ever-readable Wilson explores the psychological pressures of being cast in the role of the scapegoat … Thought-provoking and full of interesting detail … this book scores on every level’ INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

Aloof, solitary, impassive, the crack goalie is followed in the streets by entranced small boys. He vies with the matador and the flying aces, an object of thrilled adulation. He is the lone eagle, the man of mystery, the last defender’ Vladimir Nabokov

Albert Camus, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Pope John Paul II, Julian Barnes and not forgetting Nabokov himself … it’s safe to say the position of goalkeeper has over the years attracted a different sort of character than your average footballer.

In this first-ever cultural history of the ‘loner’ between the posts, Jonathan Wilson traces the sometimes dangerous intellectual and literary preoccupations of the keeper, and looks at how the position has secured a certain existential cool. He travels to the Bassa region of Cameroon, which has produced two of Africa’s greatest keepers, and also to Romania to talk to Helmuth Duckadam, who saved four penalties for Steaua Bucharest in the 1986 European Cup final. His absorbing tactical and technical insights into football history even take us back to the days when matches were contested without a man between the sticks.

THE OUTSIDER is the definitive account of that most mysterious of footballing personalities – the goalkeeper.

Reviews

A splendid history of the goalkeeper, whose lot has tended to be a thankless one (just ask Joe Hart). Wilson tells tales of violence against goalies, both verbal and physical, along with the burden of psychic stress carried by these singular players
SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
From Albert Camus to John Paul II, and all points in between - a superb account of the men who wear different shirts and play be different rules from everybody else.
READERS DIGEST
A splendid history of football's complicated scapegoats
DAILY TELEGRAPH
In THE OUTSIDER, Jonathan Wilson offers an ebullient history of the goalkeeper and tries to work out what it is that attracts the spiritual, the quizzical, the odd and the reflective to the position ... Wilson offers a picture of the goalkeeper as an outsider, but also more of an everyman than you might think
INDEPENDENT
From the obese to the heroic and the corrupt, goalkeepers provide endless anecdotal material. Wilson weaves it together skilfully, from Victorian times to the present, from Charterhouse to Cameroon. The case for the position provoking a kind of existential unease is elegantly made
LITERARY REVIEW
The ever-readable Wilson explores the psychological pressures of being cast in the role of the scapegoat ... Thought-provoking and full of interesting detail ... this book scores on every level
INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
From Albert Camus to John Paul II, and all points in between - a superb account of the men who wear different shirts and play be different rules from everybody else.
READERS DIGEST
A splendid history of the goalkeeper, whose lot has tended to be a thankless one (just ask Joe Hart). Wilson tells tales of violence against goalies, both verbal and physical, along with the burden of psychic stress carried by these singular players
THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH