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For thousands of people from the North West of England he is a hero. For everyone else he was a headline story on the news that has probably been long forgotten. For me personally he certainly falls into the first category. As a Carlisle fan it is possibly one of the most important goals anyone has ever scored for the club. Jimmy Glass will always be remembered by Carlisle fans as the man who quite possibly saved our club. It was his 94th minute goal on Saturday 8th May 1999 that kept Carlisle in the football league and its that goal thats prompted this autobiography.
With the help of Roger Lytollis, Jimmy Glass decided it was time to put his thoughts and feelings down on paper. The book doesnt just cover that memorable moment, but also covers the rest of Jimmys life as well. From his start at Crystal Palace where he fell out with Wright and Bright and his gambling addiction to his current life as a Computer salesman. The first real point that stands out is that not all footballers have a glamorous career that sees them with job security or even financial security.
Throughout his career Jimmy struggled to find a club that would grant him his real shot at first team football. During a career that started in 1989 and still dwindles on today Jimmy only made a total of 131 league appearances despite being on the books of 27 different clubs at various times in his career. He struggled with Injury and he describes how hard it was for him during those spells injured to just sit and watch. He also describes how gambling heavily effected his life and the amount of time he spent in casinos gambling away his wages.
The book deals largely with his time at Palace, Bournemouth and Swindon before his loan move to Carlisle and that goal. He struggled to secure himself a guaranteed first choice place just about everywhere he went. I was quite interested to read about the problems he had with some of the lower leagues better managers. But of course the main reason for me reading this book was the 3 games he played for Carlisle on loan.
He was signed on special dispensation after the transfer deadline and played in Carlisles last game of the season against Plymouth. For anyone unaware of the situation, Carlisle needed a win to stay up. A slight delay to the game meant they were running slightly behind Scarborough, who had just won. We were drawing at the time and got a corner in the 94th minute. He came up the pitch and scored the winner that kept the club in the League, something all Carlisle fans are grateful to him for.
The second part of the book after that goal reflects Jimmys life since and the intense media interest that followed that goal. His life was turned upside down for a short time until the next season and his struggle to find a new club started over again. The book is very well written and gives a great insight into Jimmy and how certain events in his life have affected him. Its evident throughout that gambling didnt aid his career and at times it makes you wonder if the gambling in fact hampered it.
This is very much a book for Carlisle fans and the die hard football fans out there. It does make very interesting reading and shows a different side to football than the one portrayed on the TV. This isnt footballers wives, life isnt easy for players in the lower leagues and Jimmys story certainly highlights that. I found his book to be incredibly interesting and even includes a few crossed paths and opinions on some of footballs big names.
As biographies go it is certainly on of the better ones Ive read. It kept me interested throughout and at times I found it very hard to put down. It will have a limited appeal as Im sure the number of people who remember Jimmy outside of Carlisle will be quite minimal. He was a decent goalkeeper and certainly an underused talent. He may be unknown to many but if I were to ever meet Jimmy in a pub Id certainly be buying him a drink.