Gory Tales – The Autobiography
by John Gorman with Kevin Brennan

212 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-906229-86-3
RRP : – £18.99
Published by Green Umbrella Publishing
Published : 2008


John Gorman is not the stuff of heroes of other Spurs autobiographies, but, like many before him who had played for the club, it has a long-lasting draw for him. 

This book shows him not just to be a football man, but also a dedicated family man and someone who appreciates the sacrifices they made for him as his career unfolded.  And it is a long-travelled path that his career follows, starting off in Glasgow as a Celtic player, then moving slightly further south to Carlisle before getting his big move to Tottenham.  Sadly, that part of his playing days only lasted 32 matches before injury brought the decision to allow him to leave.  From there, he went to have a successful time playing in America, before returning to England when his playing days were over to begin a career in the game as a coach, then a manager.

The book starts and ends with his devotion to his late wide Myra made very clear.  Always there for him, her death hit him hard and put his life into perspective, walking away from jobs as he realised that football was not the ball and end all.  

Two things run through the book – getting the sack (as most managers are destined to do) and Glenn Hoddle.  When he first came to White Hart lane, one of the first people he met was Hoddle at the Cheshunt training ground and while they were of different generations, they struck up a friendship that has lasted the years and the various parting of the ways.  Gory (his nickname when a player) has often teamed up with Hod as his assistant at a number of clubs and for England.  The stories from behind the scenes of those jobs are enlightening and shine a different light on the way some stories hit the newspapers (as they did in those days).

The constant moving when a new club takes him on can be disruptive, but Myra unflinchingly made the move to a new home with the children, being his rock when things weren’t going so well.  Realising that there was a responsibility on him to support the family, he turned his hand to a number of other occupations when it was needed and his skill at drawing caricatures also found their way into the Spurs programmes.  Friendships within the game also helped him take on new roles and while the end of those sometimes came by his decision, the sack was always in the offing, but most times he took it stoically and moved on.

There’s not a huge amount of glory in this autobiography.  It’s not all cups and big clubs, but it is a good read and one that is in contrast to some books of high-profile players, as to how the majority have to manage their lives to stay in the game for as long as they can.  But along the way there are tales of players who make a difference and some whose impact is made by their early passing.  However, the human tale of the one person missing in Gorman’s life that mattered the most was that of the woman he had known since a teenager and this book details how he coped with her passing after battling against cancer.

Marco van Hip