The Grudge by Tom English
Full title The Grudge : Scotland vs. England, 1990
JIM Telfer often said that if he’d been knocking about in the 1930s he’d have been a communist.
Did you know that 1990 was twenty years ago. Twenty! That’s a long time. I always sort of feel that the ninties were just a couple of years ago, but no, it is 2010 now. Almost 2011. That means that the 90’s happened a long long time ago. And that is what reading this book feels like. Rugby was a very different game back then. It wasn’t professional for one thing. There were no video refs, no citing commisioners, and things could get very nasty. But it was also the end of something politically. In Britain Margaret Thatcher was on her way out. People were rioting over the poll tax, and Scotland felt especially hard hit. Stir that political hatred for the “damn English” into the mix alongside sporting rivalries, the desire to win, a growing nationalist movement, and you end up with a grudge match to beat all grudge matches.
This was a surprisingly entertaining read. Obviously I was rooting for the Scottish through the read. Show Spoiler ▼
But I have to say that Telfer’s coaching methods seem ever so slightly old-school! But he got results, so I suppose it worked for him and for Scotland.
With interviews and plenty of annecdotes from the players and coaches, there is loads of interesting little tidbits and what not to keep a rugby fan interested. But at the same time it almost didn’t go deep enough.
If you aren’t a rugby fan, well, it might be an interesting glimpse at the psychology behind sports players. But I’m guessing you wouldn’t really want to read it If you are a sports fan it is a very good read.