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Toddy: The Colin Todd Story

Colin Todd's bio is a fine piece of escapism when your team's gone from bottom of the Premier League to bottom of the Championship. Charlie Hurley's foreword labels Toddy a natural and a class act, and there's not a lot to argue with there.

Toddy skips through the highlights, when you need the comfort of knowing what it's like to win, game by game. He starts laboriously, using "all in all" twice in two paragraphs, pages 10-11, followed by a redundant "it", the second in the sentence: It is difficult now to put it into perspective the living conditions we had then, only 50 or so years ago. Yes, it's bath tub on the carpet, outside toilet, ice on the inside of the windows. I remember it well, so no surprises.

Guess what? Football was a means of escape. Yes, so is this book, I did not imagine finishing the review with the Rams on one point from four games, in the relegation zone. By page 20, he's on £7.50 a week (seven pounds ten shillings if you must) and Cloughie's coaching the youth team, and has spotted him, even provided a philosophy to live by: "Toddy, remember this: it's not where you start in life that counts, it's where you finish that matters!"

There's not nearly enough nostalgia to distract from today's Rams fighting relegation. Toddy's left the Rams by Chapter 4. He starts for them in a winning 2-0 over Arsenal, wins the League while on holiday in Spain, and the Texaco Cup, and the Central League, gets into the European Cup in Chapter 3, gets out of bed for Cloughie - it is not a request - to stay up and celebrate instead of having an early night, and even retaliates once, to find it's a wind-up.

Chapter 4 is "Glory Days" - must read - as is Chapter 5 "England, England."

By Chapter 9 his knees are deteriorating, he's at Oxford, and the Bald Eagle's looking a bit under pressure. Before that, there's some info on a little-known team called Nottingham Forest - apparently Cloughie had some dealings with them too. Then before you know it, Toddy's managing sides that have to play Forest, and giving son Andy a hard time. It's an incisive insider's instruction manual at best, Cloughie again: "There's no grass 30 feet in the air, Toddy! If God had wanted you to play there, then there would be grass, believe me!"

Then he brings you not quite up-to-date, but certainly back to reality, when expanding on his son: 'I was fortunate enough to be able to watch quite a bit of his football at Blackburn, where he performed exceptionally well, before he moved to Derby County following their promotion to the Premiership in May 2007. At the time of writing, things are looking pretty bad for Derby...'

Buy someone this book for Christmas, it's genuine gold, whether you're from Derby, Nottingham, Everton, Middlesbrough, Birmingham, Bradford, Oxford, and lots more in England - or even Vancouver. • Toddy: The Colin Todd Story is published by Breedon Books.

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