Dunphy: A Football is not a just book for football fans, though they will certainly enjoy it, it is more of a character study, aiming to give insight into one of Ireland’s most vocal and divisive public figures. Jared Brown tries to get behind the hype, polarity and controversy the surrounds Dunphy to objectively assess his views and the many stands he has taken throughout his career as a player, journalist and pundit.
Browne lays out the book in terms of Dunphy’s interactions with players, peers, managers and the press, assessing the actions of Dunphy in each case to look at the reasoning behind them, from his infamously dogged support of Roy Keane during the Saipan affair to their eventual falling out. There are also chapters dealing with Dunphy’s relationships with successive Irish managers and the highly respected RTE Panel; Bill, John and Liam.
Impartiality was vital to this book and Browne manages to remain objective throughout. Browne is always careful to separate the facts from the opinions and is very clear when offering his own evaluation to offer evidence to support his stance. Browne’s aim was always to ‘to join in with the football conversation that Dunphy has been a part of since the 1970s whilst still evaluating his each and every position along the way’.
As mentioned, you do not need to be a football fan to enjoy this book. Dunphy, as a public figure, transcends the sport. He is a divisive figure who everyone seems to have an opinion on. In terms of understanding some of the biggest sporting issues to grip the country in the last 30 years and attempting to understand a complex character such as Dunphy, I cannot recommend this book enough.