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About this book

Vanguard Press
1843861968 [ISBN]

The Art and Theory of Goalkeeping

Another vanity fiction publication with a Leeds United focus. A new Kindle edition has been released this year.


SYNOPSIS of The Art and Theory of Goalkeeping. (from Amazon)


This is not a novel about football, goalkeeping or Leeds United. It is a novel about a schoolboy called Leslie who learns how to stand on is own two feet and stop living like a victim. The prologue is a summery of the plot but that is not what the novel is about. It is a story about a boy who feels nothing more than a bystander in his own life because he thinks that he is useless at everything. He has no special skills, or talent or ability for anything. No one pays him any attention, no one listens to him and no one respects him. He is at the bottom of the pile in the social pecking order. And nothing illustrates his lack of status among his peers more clearly than the fact that he is made to play in goal every time there game of football. 

It is only in his fantasy world that Leslie is able to visualise the kind of man he thinks he would like to be when he grows up and he longs to have the same fighting spirit, skill, tenacity and ruthless determination that Leeds United possess. In his fantasy he plays for Leeds United as a centre forward and is the kind of person he wishes he was; brave, resourceful, determined and talented; and a leader. So it was ironc that it was by playing in goal Leslie discovers all the qualities for success that he didn’t think he had. Leslie didn’t know it at the time but looking back on it now he realizes that the reason why he is a success is not because he studies hard at school or listened to his mother or even because he ate all his ‘greens’ it was because he learned the art and theory of goalkeeping.


The book is divided into three parts. 


We are introduced to Leslie and his friends. In particular we learn how Leslie and “Woolly” became friends. It’s odd because they have nothing in common and yet they are like a double act who seem to compliment each other. Just as important we come face to face with Leslie’s nemesis; John Trustler the school bully who makes Leslie’s life a misery. Sometimes his friends can be just as harsh but to be fair Leslie can be the author of his own misfortune as he has a habit of answering back with a sharp tongue when it would be wiser to be silent. Not everyone appreciates his sense of humour. That's probably why people keep telling him to shut up. He certainly does feel sorry for himself at times though. Not that he wishes he had never been born but he does wish he'd been born as someone else or perhaps in another century. 


Then his dream comes true. He is asked to join the school u/15 football team. But the dream soon turns into a nightmare. For one thing he is made to play in goal for another John Trustler is also in the team and finally; the team is useless and as the goalkeeper Leslie is blamed. His maths teacher and the Games master want to help him be a good goalkeeper. But Leslie doesn’t want to be a good goalkeeper he wants to be good at something else. If that wasn’t bad enough not only does he fail at everything Leeds United are failing him too. And just when he thought his life couldn’t get any worse he is trapped into fighting Trustler and inevitably he is thrashed and humiliated. There doesn't as if there is any way back for him. Yet much to his own surprise he challenges Trustler to a re-match. It seems that the skills he has learned as a goalkeeper have given him confidence and courage he never knew he had. He doesn't challenge Trustler to a fight he challenges him to a penalty shoot that is as dramatic as any gunfight in the wild west. 


The book ends with a brief Epilogue in which Leslie fantasises he is playing in goal for Leeds United but this time as a goalkeeper and it is only because of his brilliant and heroic display that they beat Ajax of Amsterdam to win the European Cup. Maybe a goalkeeper can be a hero after all.

If you've read or own The Art and Theory of Goalkeeping , by Ryan Hart, and would like to contribute to our listing of this book with a review, please contact us.
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