Teams /  England  / Arsenal 
Arsenal have 24,074 Fans
True Storey by Peter Storey – review
Barney Ronay - 3 years ago

For those not familiar with the playing style of Peter Storey, a midfield fixture in the Arsenal side who won the Double in 1970-71, the best way to conjure him up is to picture the toughest, most uncompromising hatchet man of the present day; and then imagine him being decisively duffed-up by a relatively slight but undeniably ferocious figure in a stylish round-neck red-and-white shirt. Storey was one of those players: the Choppers and Nobbys and Bites Yer Legs who provided a convenient polarity with the headline gadfly act of their counterpart "mavericks", a double act that at times gives the impression that 1970s football was simply a combination of violence and dribbling.

Storey, as True Storey's subtitle, My life and crimes as a football hatchet man, suggests, is an interesting character in other ways. His life outside football involved divorce and roguery, a spell as landlord of a villainous London pub and a much-publicised arrest for smuggling pornography. Given that the challenge of every football autobiography is to make a play for an audience beyond club loyalties and special-interest fandom, these are promising materials.

And True Storey is a diverting read, albeit much of its humour is of the unintentional type. "Peter ... is a man at ease with life" we're told on the inside cover. The first page of the introduction has him growling: "I was slagged off unmercifully ... so much rubbish has been written about me, so many lies and half-truths peddled as 'fact'."

The first childhood fight comes on page 14 ("I dished out and suffered my fair share of bloody noses") and so, oddly thrilled, you wait for the action to kick off. Which it does eventually. After some nice detail about schoolboy football the teenage Storey is soon at his beloved Highbury signing professional forms. Suitably braced, we await the lurid tales. Storey buys a new overcoat. He moves into a bungalow with Terry Neill ("my abiding memory is going down the launderette for the first time"). Things pick up with our first proper onfield violence as Storey is head-butted by Jim Storrie of Leeds ("I reeled backwards, trying to stay on my feet") and, in truth, these are the best bits.

"I will never attempt to even begin to make excuses for what I did in football," Storey writes. But what did he do exactly? "The trick was to get in early as possible, hit them hard, give them a good wallop, make them feel as if they'd been in a car crash or hit a brick wall." This is full contact stuff and it would have been nice to have a few more specifics.

Some allegedly sensational detail follows about how Storey was nearly dropped for the 1971 FA Cup final ("It was as if I had spent ages making love to the most beautiful woman in the world only to be kicked out of bed five minutes before the climax," he says, a little unnecessarily). And before long we're into retirement and pub landlordship and encounters with Howard Marks and all the rest of it.

True Storey is an easy read and has a deal more charm and pep than most autobiographies by footballers of the era. Storey becomes more likable the more time you spend inside the book's covers, and this includes a final high‑speed litany of court appearances and tabloid splashes, where the bastard's bastard comes across as quietly penitent in what is, throughout, a compelling kind of mea culpa.

This is not a news report and may contain views expressed by the author which are not supported by GNM.

Share your thoughts
Sign in to comment

Latest News, Blogs & Podcasts

The club who need a goalscorer have signed a forward who doesnt score, but deserves a shot at being a leading man Arsenal complete deal for Manchester Uniteds Welbeck Video: Danny Welbeck joins Arsena ...
Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck picked up an ankle knock in England training at London Colney on Tuesday but could still be fit enough to play some part against Norway.
The England manager believes a move to the Emirates Stadium will give the 23-year-old more opportunities to progress and stake his international claim
Arsenal FC News Feed - 3 hours ago
Check out our exclusive images of the England international striker in club colours for the first time
Manchester United legend David Beckham believes it is 'sad' that Danny Welbeck has left the club and predicts he will be a 'great signing' for Arsenal.
It's not quite now or never for Danny Welbeck, but there's no escaping Monday's move to Arsenal is a watershed moment for the forward. He must now prove Arsenal were right to take the gamble.
Arsenal FC News Feed - 6 hours ago
Club to offer programmes where players will receive tailored coaching in small groups to help develop their game
Jack Wilshere has taken to Instagram to welcome his England team-mate and new Arsenal signing Danny Welbeck to the Gunners while on international duty with Roy Hodgson's squad.
Arsenal FC News Feed - 8 hours ago
Watch a bitesize clip from Sunday's Premier League game at King Power Stadium
Strikers can be the difference between Champions League qualification or twiddling your thumbs for the next season, so how do the Premier League big five shape up?
Arsenal - 9 hours ago
Manchester United selling Danny Welbeck to Arsenal broke part of the Old Trafford club's "identity", according to former Red Devils assistant manager Mike
Arsenal | The Guardian - 11 hours ago
Manchester United foward Danny Welbeck will join London club Arsenal under a £16m deal. The paperwork was still being processed by the Premier League after 11pm on Monday as the deal was finalised be ...
ADRIAN DURHAM: Danny Welbeck move from Old Trafford to Arsenal will upset all true Manchester United fans because he is the ultimate team player. Now Arsenal must get the best out of him.
Arsenal have signed England striker Danny Welbeck from Manchester United for a fee believed to be in the region of £15-16million.
Arsene Wenger has made a dramatic move to solve his lack of goal power by agreeing a £16million deal to sign England striker Danny Welbeck.
Arsenal - 21 hours ago
Arsenal have announced the signing of England international forward Danny Welbeck from Barclays Premier League rivals Manchester United for an undisclosed fee.
Arsenal | The Guardian - 21 hours ago
Late deadline-day deal will help flagging attack Champions League the key attraction for England player Radamel Falcao joins Manchester United on loan Interactive: how much have clubs spent?Arsenal s ...
Arsenal - 21 hours ago
Arsenal confirmed they had signed England forward Danny Welbeck from Premier League rivals Manchester United as the transfer window closed on Monday.
Arsenal FC News Feed - 22 hours ago
The 23-year-old international joins Gunners from Manchester United on a long-term deal for an undisclosed fee

Latest Photo Galleries

Champions League : Matchday five round-up
3 years ago
The best images from Tuesday's Champions League action including Arsenal's visit to Braga and Chelsea's match against MSK Zilina
Premier League: Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
3 years ago
Our award-winning photographer Tom Jenkins watches as Arsenal and Tottenham meet in the season's first north London derby
Marouane Chamakh
3 years ago
The Arsenal forward stars in Avatar, Casablanca and as a new addition to Jersey Shore
Kick4Life - changing lives through football