On Days Like These: The Lost Memoir of a Goalkeeper

Tim Rich, Joe Sealey

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From the publisher:

'Emotional, insightful, beautifully written. A story of making saves and being saved. The best football book I have read this year.' Henry Winter

Joe Sealey was watching his son play for Manchester United's Under-14s when a man came up to him and said: 'I've got your dad's book.'Joe's father, Les, had been Manchester United's goalkeeper but had died of a heart attack in 2001 at the age of 43.

His death tormented Joe, who had been West Ham's reserve keeper. Joe had given up on football, slipping into an alcohol and drug addiction that almost killed him. He had forgotten what his father's voice sounded like.

Now, here it was in form of a Tupperware box full of cassette tapes. The centrepiece of the tapes is the most important game in the modern history of Manchester United, the 1990 FA Cup final. After three barren years at Old Trafford, Alex Ferguson was on the brink of dismissal.

There was just the FA Cup final left. He knew that, if it was lost, he would almost certainly be sacked. After the first game against Crystal Palace was drawn 3-3, he dropped his goalkeeper, Jim Leighton, who had been with Ferguson for most of his managerial career, and replaced him with Sealey, who had played just two matches in a year.

The replay was won and by the time Sealey left Old Trafford in 1994, Manchester United had become the dominant force in English football. On Days Like These is an intimate portrait of a club dragged from the brink. It is also the story of Joe Sealey's journey to the edge and back.

Many years later Joe met Ferguson. 'Your father saved my career,' Ferguson said. 'And you saved his,' was the reply.

On Days Like These is a story of two rescues. 'Brings alive early 90s #MUFC & the mad genius of Ferguson' Sam Wallace

About the author: 

Although he began his career in sports journalism as a cricket writer for the Sunderland Echo, Tim Rich has been captivated by football for half a lifetime. Working for The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and The 'i' Paper, he has covered Newcastle United under Bobby Robson, Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson and, latterly, Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool. On Days Like These is his third book and follows his acclaimed biography of Marcelo Bielsa, The Quality of Madness, which was shortlisted for The Daily Telegraph Football Book of the Year. He lives in Cheshire with his stepdaughter, Rose and their three cats.


20 x 13 cm
336 pages
May 2024