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Jan 28, 2009

The Arsenal Miscellany

First things first. This is not the kind of book that you want to be taking on holiday with you, or passing on to anyone who is not an ardent Gunner. And yes, I got it for Christmas.

The word 'miscellany' conjures up images of Schott's famous original, but also of a book that contains a mind blowing number of lists, facts and figures.

In fact, this was a pleasant surprise in that it contains little anecdotes and tales from the club's history as well as information like the number of nationalities to have played for the club.

Why do Arsenal's shirts have white sleeves? What happened at the Battle of Highbury? And did you know that the club were originally called 'Dial Square'? If you need to know this kind of information, then the book is for you.

Gunners legend Frank McLintock provides the foreword, while there are some cracking quotes that will have you laughing. ''I started clapping myself, until I realised I was Sunderland's manager'' [said Peter Reid of a Dennis Bergkamp finish], to name but one.

Easy to read, and in compact sections that allows you to dip into it as and when you want to, the miscellany is also small in size, which is handy to carry around.

The best section by far is the 'Gunners legends' bit. The likes of Dennis Bergkamp, George Graham and Thierry Henry get the treatment (with some interesting caricatures thrown into the mix); while there is also information on less well-known stars of the past likes Alex James and Bertie Mee.

With a stylish 'redcurrant' cover based on the club's original colours, the book is packed with stats, lists, quotes, anecdotes and tables from the history of Arsenal FC. It includes an updated colour kits section and a complete history of home and away kits and, overall, provides a great, in-depth history of the north London club.

•  Pick up your copy here.

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