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Thou Shall Not Pass: The Anatomy of Football’s Centre-Half (2021)

English | ISBN: 1472972910 | 2021 | 224 Pages | EPUB | 4 MB

‘Superbly insightful’ FourFourTwo

‘Hugely enjoyable.’ Henry Winter, Chief Football writer, The Times

‘A brilliant read.’ Jamie Carragher

‘About time we got some recognition! A great read.’ Mark Lawrenson

‘One of my favourite football writers and a keen observer of the game who never fails to entertain.’ Patrick Barclay

Complex, overlooked and misunderstood, football’s centre-halves rarely take centre-stage. Leo Moynihan’s long overdue celebration of this much-maligned position explores the unique mindset and last-ditch, bone-crunching tackles of the traditionally bruising hard man, hell-bent on destroying glory.

Football is often romanticised as ‘The Beautiful Game’. If that’s true, then the game’s centre-half might be considered the unsightly pimple on the end of its otherwise perfectly formed nose. The stopper is the last line of defence, the big man with small ideas, the lump who lumps it.

Thou Shall Not Pass (from a command England captain Terry Butcher shouted before every match) celebrates the football position where brutal characters are loved for their hard-hitting tackles and bruising mentality, and yet laughed at for their apparent lack of skill.

Covering the long and illustrious history of the centre-half, Thou Shall Not Pass takes the reader into the muddy penalty area frequented by our protagonists, into their domain. The places they head the ball, the places where they tackle, the places in which they will stop at nothing to stop a forward. What makes a defender approach the game the way they do? What makes them different from those whose sole purpose is flair?

Featuring exclusive interviews – including those with Virgil van Dijk, Jamie Carragher, Terry Butcher, Mark Lawrenson, Darren Moore, Steph Houghton, Tony Adams, Frank Leboeuf and Dion Dublin – and packed with rich and highly entertaining anecdotes, the book explores all aspects of the position and investigates the mentality of those who ply their trade there.