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The Damned Utd

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,630 Ratings  ·  261 Reviews
Overachieving and eccentric football manager Brian Clough was on his way to take over at the country's most successful, and most reviled football club: Leeds United, home to a generation of fiercely competitive but ageing players. The battle he'd face there would make or break the club - or him. David Peace's extraordinarily inventive novel tells the story of a world chara ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 5th 2009 by Faber & Faber (first published August 17th 2006)
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Jul 04, 2015 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit, football
A remarkable piece of historical literature that just so happens to be centred in the world of English football.

David Peace is clearly an exceptionally talented writer of semi-noir stories. His Red Riding Quartet being the darkest, bleakest, deepest black that the modern take on the genre gets. And on the face of it a fictional tale of a high profile sports personality from 1970s England doesn't automatically lead you in that direction. His portrait of Brian Clough however ticks the majority of
David Williams
Nov 27, 2012 David Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having once briefly worked with Cloughie in the late 1970s when I was promoting a series of football talk-ins and he guested ('Shave your beard off, young man' were his first words to me) and having enjoyed the uncannily accurate characterisation of this controversial figure on film by Michael Sheen, I was particularly interested to catch up with David Peace's fictional portrayal, the novel that inspired the film.

So glad I did. Peace nails the self-obsession, the paranoia, the manipulative but c
Jul 05, 2014 Eleni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That the story would read as brilliant as it is to a stubbornly romantic football fan like me, was expected. That Peace's writing would go all the way down a dark, haunting, decadent poetic road with such elegance and soul, such music, was not.

Apparently, Brian Clough was an impossible person. He was arrogant and he was angered. He wouldn't take criticism. He was vengeful and bitter. Perhaps unforgiving. Definitely annoying!

And he was isolated, isolated, isolated. It nevertheless didn't feel li
Apr 15, 2016 Manveer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: football, movie-too
I am writing this two years after I actually read this book. The reason I remembered this book is nothing more than Leicester's glorious rise to the top this season, which has been nothing less than a fairy tale.

Well, Derby's rise was nothing less than a fairy tale either, only made possible by the genius of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. They took a team hanging by the threads, struggling at the bottom of the second division to the top of the first division. Why? Because of Clough's obsession w
Maria Thomarey
Jan 06, 2016 Maria Thomarey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Αυτό ναι . Ηταν ένα εξαιρετικό βιβλίο . Αγαπώ το ποδόσφαιρο και το χάρηκα πραγματικά
Jan 18, 2009 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all Nottingham Forest fans (but they probably have it already)
Shelves: fiction, history
With a pace as fast as ol big ed's mouth and as much fags and booze as a working man's club, this is the no-holds-barred story of how Brian Clough went to Leeds United. And left in no time flat. On his 1st meeting with the team he told them they had won the previous league through cheating, and they should just throw their medals away because with him they would win it fairly. From there it went rapidly downhill, helped along by a fair amount of boardroom backstabbing and dressing-room betrayal. ...more
A m i r
کتاب غیرقابل تحمله. تعجبی نداره فارسیزبونای گودریدزم نخوندنش انگار. روایتش اینجوری که داره داستان خود نفر اصلی داستان رو برای خودش میگه. تو میروی آنجا. این کار را میکنی. اینطور خواهد شد. یک بار سر صدر سر اون کتاب مزخرف در قاهره خواهی مرد رکب خورده بودم. حالا فهمیدم صدر این مدل تخمی روایت رو از همین کتاب یونایتد نفرین شده الگو گرفته. جملههای بریده و خورده شده. تکرار کلمات. تصویرها ساخته نمیشن بیصاحاب اصلن. ...more
Ian Young
David Peace has a very characteristic writing style, favouring first tense, brief sentences, strong structure. This book features in alternate short sections the story of Clough's 44 days at Leeds and his earlier career as background and explanation. Sports fans and football fans with a literary inclination will love this book, but it is not in reality a book about football. It is a book about a man of ruthless ambition destroying what he loves and almost destroying himself in the process. Cloug ...more
Jul 20, 2014 Vishaal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In Your Face.
Despairingly Painful.
Breathtakingly Awesome.

Brian Howard Clough!
Marc Nash
Jun 26, 2012 Marc Nash rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Forget the movie, this came first. It's the best damn book looking inside the mind of a single human being I've ever read. An obsessive man, an anxious man, worrying and fretting about the same things over and over again as Peace writes a human mind as non-linear set of concentric circles closing in on itself. The language and voice drive you through this book and you come out the other end knowing this character better than you know yourself. You don't need to know anything about football eithe ...more
Constantine Melios
The Damned Utd is a fictional depiction of a real story. Or to be more specific two stories!
Brian Clough is the central character in both of them.
The author unveils the stories together from the perspective of the hero consciousness. A self-destructive hero. Alcoholic and arrogant. Trapped between his ambitions and his disgust for the system governing 70’s English Football. That creates a “noir” novel feeling. Although we don’t have a hardboiled detective a Football Manager instead.

The first st
Mar 16, 2015 Payam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You chose the right book, if you're interested in football history mixed with fiction.
"Damned United" is about Brain Clough management in English football leagues accompanied with his friend/assistant Peter Taylor.
it's written from Clough's point of view, started with commence of his career in Leeds United club -which was under management of Clough's biggest rival, Don Revie for 13 years- interspersed with some flashbacks that gives you some hints about his successful days in Derby County and h
Jan 31, 2014 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Occasionally, it's a good idea to pick up a book for which you have no frame of reference. It can serve as an education, a corrective to bad assumptions, or just a nice diversion from your usual reading. I know very little about European football (soccer) and have virtually no knowledge of the English leagues, which was why David Peace's novel was not only an introduction but also as something much deeper. It also serves as the basis for a movie starring Michael Sheen.
Peace, more well known perh
Matthew Kresal
Jul 25, 2011 Matthew Kresal rated it really liked it
Having seen the film The Damned United some months back, I was intrigued to read its source material: the novel The Damned Utd by David Peace. Often this can put the reader at a disadvantage because this can leave the reader knowing what's to come in the novel. The Damned Utd though is a much different case though. Even though both as fictional accounts of famed British football (soccer to most of us Americans) manager Brian Clough's 44 day reign over the Leeds United football team in 1974 and t ...more
Sian Wadey
I am a lover of David Peace, but I've not read many (if any!) football novels.
I'd heard of the film, The Damned United, and I knew Michael Sheen played Brian Clough, but I knew nothing about the actual man himself. I wasn't born until 1992, so most of the references to footballers went straight over my head, apart from Kevin Keegan, George Best and Peter Shilton.
The story follows Brian Clough during two periods of time, simultaneously. The first part covers his managing of Hartlepools, then De
Aug 06, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I started reading this book on the basis that my boyfriend lent it to me and it's his favourite book. I wasn't too sure what to expect, not because his taste in books is questionable (even if he doesn't like shadows of the wind...) but because it was a book about a manager of a football team and although I don't hate football I'm also not the biggest fan. However, the book was an enjoyable surprise. I loved Peace's writing style, it felt like poetry with the repetitions of phrases and the way ...more
Aug 14, 2010 Ty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i chose to read this book while in England so i could truly appreciate the story line. apparently the author is one of the UK's brightest young novelists, but i guess i am not much of a "modern novel" reader. to me, it was liking reading a book written like an MTV music video is edited...the author splices together the story of Brian Clough's glory days at Derby County with his bizarre 44 days at Leeds United. much of the novel is written in stream of consciousness style, with the author apparen ...more
Oct 03, 2012 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 1990s
I enjoyed it - especially for Peace's rhythmically repetitive prose style, which gives the narrative drive and intensity, quite appropriate for the story of a man who was both driven and intense - but felt that it was dragging on a bit by the end. I can also understand why the family felt aggrieved with the fictionalised portrayal of Brian Clough - there's too much focus on his character flaws (he comes across as extremely arrogant) and his heavy drinking, and although the bare facts of his achi ...more

Se suele decir de “Maldito United” que es la mejor novela jamás escrita sobre fútbol o sobre deporte en general, y probablemente sea verdad. De hecho, puede que lo sea en un doble sentido; por una parte, su aproximación al mundo del fútbol es muy honesta, no trata de modificarlo para hacerlo más atractivo o más épico, no le otorga ningún elemento poético forzado, como suele ser habitual cuando la literatura se ocupa de asuntos deportivos. N
Jul 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is` was, Trainer?

In der Saison 74/75 wird Brain Clough Trainer bei Leeds United, dem amtierenden Meister der englischen Fußballliga. Bei seinem vorherigen Verein entlassen, ist das des Trainers Chance weiterhin für die erste Liga zu arbeiten. Doch seine Verpflichtung bei Leeds scheint von Anfang an unter einem schlechten Stern zu stehen. Nach dem Motto „Neue Besen kehren gut“ will er die Spuren seines Vorgängers, der zum Nationaltrainer berufen wurde, beseitigen. Damit allerdings stiftet er Unfr
Adam Fitzroy
I really didn't enjoy this book. The stylistic tricks got on my nerves, but of course its main flaw is also what will be the great attraction to many people - the personality of the central character himself. I have no way of knowing whether or not it's an accurate portrayal but it's certainly persuasive - and we've all met people like that, driven and manipulative, essentially hollow inside, and perfectly capable of rewriting history to suit themselves.

There has been so much razzmatazz about th
Mbanga Ka
I don't think it's the greatest spots novel of all time (as proclaimed by one of the blurbs on the cover); however, it does do a good job of showing is that many of the controversies of today's game -- diving, haranguing of referees, inflated transfer fees, bungs, and obsessions with Europe -- were there even in the supposed golden years of the innocent past. Plus, the characters spend most of their time smoking and boozing, which probably is a change from the top flight of today.
I thought it was rather brilliantly written once I got a grasp of how the author was switching between time periods, and just got a grasp of the basics of Brian Clough through Wiki. It is not an easy book to walk into with no prior knowledge of football in England or of Brian Clough.
Once I got a grasp I enjoyed the book more but it was always appalling because Brian Clough was an appalling sort of guy. His language was rough with F*** and bloody laced through everything he said unless he was ta
Peter Holz
The author called it, "another fiction based on another fact." It is a fictional account of Brian Clough's 44 days as manager of Leeds United football club in 1974. The story flits between the past and the present. The past is told in the second person and revolves mostly around his more successful time as manager of Derby. The present, at Leeds, is told in the first person as a stream of consciousness that felt disjointed at first, but I felt more comfortable with as the book progressed. I prob ...more
Lee Razer
An impressionistic and even poetic account of a doomed man, it seems a bit strange to say - given the high esteem it is held in - that it read to me as a practice run (albeit quite a good one) for Peace's actual masterpiece, Red or Dead. The repetitive style Peace used in this novel was developed and extended even so much farther in that novel, which of course exchanged one football manager for another. Meanwhile, Red or Dead has the advantage of a likeable central character and genteel, restrai ...more
Nick Davies
Difficult to assess - though I was impressed with the author's use of language and also found the storyline (an exploration of Brian Clough's short tenure as manager of Leeds United in the 1970s) interesting, I did have several problems with it in the end.

The central character's stubborness and arrogance meant I lost interest at times, and I never fully appreciated what made him that man - and whether it all should be excused for his successes. The format of flipping back and forth between Clou
Procyon Lotor
Le squadre hanno un carattere, come le persone. Pi un libro radio, che un libro tv. Ellroy che commenta Juve Napoli a tutto il calcio minuto per minuto, ovviamente gracchia dalla radiolina giapponese di plastica blu giocattolo. E Maradona appena partito per l'Argentina: non giocher. Un giocatore, bravo ma non furbo viene storpiato. Si storpia pure la sua vita e se la va a riprendere da allenatore, spesso ai limiti della slealt, frequentemente testa di cazzo pure con amici, calcolatore o generos ...more
Joe Stamber
Apr 03, 2014 Joe Stamber rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2000s
David Peace certainly has a style all of his own. Caustic and disjointed, he puts a novelist's slant on the appointment of Brian Clough at Leeds United in 1974. It's loosely based on fact, not a statement of fact, as some observers seem to have difficulty grasping. As a Leeds fan myself (now and at the time), I took the book for what it was. It's not pretty, but it's an interesting take.
Nov 30, 2010 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, modern
An interesting book written in an unusual style but one that on the whole I am glad to have finished! David Peace's portrayal of Brian Clough was agonising - a man obsessed. It was fascinating in a way and I was amazed at how many of the characters and events I actually remembered from the 70s. I liked the style of writing - punchy repetitive and almost poetic.
Andrew Cumming
Jan 14, 2015 Andrew Cumming rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Probably the best novel ever written about sport." -The Times

That's the quote on the cover of the edition of The Damned Utd. I read. I agree. But, to say this novel is just about "sport" is unfair. Yes, Brian Clough was a brilliant football manager. Yes, Brian Clough was outspoken. Yes, Brian Clough was not perfect. And that's what I loved so much about this book. Clough was really good at a few things and failed miserably at others. Just like all of us.

If you've ever started a new job or taken
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Goodreads Librari...: The Damned Utd 2 24 Oct 18, 2012 05:23AM  
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David Peace was born in 1967 and grew up in Ossett, near Wakefield. He left Manchester Polytechnic in 1991, and went to Istanbul to teach English. In 1994 he took up a teaching post in Tokyo and now lives there with his family.

His formative years were shadowed by the activities of the Yorkshire Ripper, and this had a profound influence on him which led to a strong interest in crime. His quartet of
More about David Peace...

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“Thank fuck!” 2 likes
“You wake up and for those few seconds, minutes, you forget; forget you are injured; forget you are finished.” 1 likes
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