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A seminal Irish sports book turns 40 this week

Renowned journalist Brian Glanville has described it as “the best and most authentic memoir by a professional footballer”.

Eamon Dunphy explores life as a professional footballer in 'Only a Game'.
Eamon Dunphy explores life as a professional footballer in 'Only a Game'.
Image: ©INPHPO/Donall Farmer

A SEMINAL IRISH sports book is 40 years old this week.

Eamon Dunphy’s Only a Game, edited by Peter Ball, is considered a classic of its genre.

Written in diary form, Dunphy gives an account of the highs and lows of the season as a second tier player with Millwall.

Widely acclaimed by critics, renowned journalist Brian Glanville has described it as ”the best and most authentic memoir by a professional footballer”.

Speaking on 2fm’s Game On last night, Dunphy said: “I think it’s a book that everyone can relate to.

The reality of the job was what I tried to convey — how good it can be and how disappointing it can be.

“I’m delighted that people still read it.”

The RTÉ soccer pundit added that one of the aspects of Only a Game that resonated most with readers was his admission that he hoped the team would do badly whenever he was left out of the starting XI.

“When I was dropped, I was desperate for them to lose,” he recalled.

I think that’s something that might have struck a chord with a lot of people.”

The book has been reprinted to mark its 40th anniversary and you can buy it here.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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