St. david's press - Football

October 2017

128pp

£14.99

pb

978 1 902719 689

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THE GREAT ESCAPE 

Newport County 2016-17

Andrew Penman

Foreword by Michael Flynn

“Nothing compares to this – I will never forget this moment” Mark O’Brien

“If you were making a film this is the script you’d use” Gavin Foxall

“I was trying to talk to the team after the match and I was getting emotional. I could feel tears coming because I knew what it meant. We were so close to getting over that line” Michael Flynn

 

The Great Escape: Newport County 2016-17 tells the amazing story of how local boy Michael Flynn and his team beat the bookies’ odds and confounded their critics to secure their place in the English Football League.

On March 4, 2017, Newport County AFC were bottom of League Two and a massive 11 points from safety - with just 12 games left to play - after a 4-0 thrashing at home to closest rivals Leyton Orient.

Five days later, experienced manager Graham Westley was sacked with the club seemingly doomed to return to the non-league wilderness where they had spent 25 years before winning promotion in 2013. ‘The Exiles’ looked dead and buried before hometown hero Michael Flynn was appointed caretaker manager and tasked with the ‘mission impossible’ of salvaging their season.

Written by South Wales Argus football reporter Andrew Penman and featuring all-new interviews with those at the heart of the story, it is essential reading for all County supporters and Welsh football lovers.

A remarkable six wins in the next 11 games saw the Exiles climb out of the bottom two ahead of a final-day showdown with Notts County at Newport’s Rodney Parade on May 6.

With the match level and relegation rivals Hartlepool United winning, County were destined for the drop with just 90 seconds of the season remaining.

But there was one more twist worthy of Hollywood itself as defender Mark O’Brien volleyed in a spectacular 89th-minute winner and Newport’s biggest football crowd since 1983 poured onto the pitch to celebrate an incredible end to an incredible story.

 

Andrew Penman is the football reporter for the South Wales Argus in Newport.

 

CONTENTS

Foreword by Michael Flynn

1. There Will Be Blood

2. A Bridge Too Far

3. Help!

4. A New Hope

5. Casualties of War

6. They Were Expendable

7. Back to the Future

8. Apocalypse Now

9. The Third Man

10. Mission Impossible

11. Three Kings

12. The Longest Day

13. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

14. High Noon

15. A Hard Day’s Night

16. Escape to Victory

 

 

 

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