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tomclare 14th April 2009 14:01

Forever a Babe
'Forever a Babe' is the story of my early years, growing up alongside the emergence of the 'Busby Babes'. It tells of my early years growing up in inner city Manchester just after WWII, and how I came to fall in love with Manchester United Football club. The story relates the rise of the 'Babes' and ultimately of their tragedy. The book took me over 3 years to complete and will be available from April 21st.

ISBN 978-1-60145-781-3

For people in North America it can be obtained from:

For UK it can be ordered from W.H. Smith, Waterstones, etc plus
(This link earns MUST a small commission)
For the rest of the world it can be obtained from

Andrea Barton 14th April 2009 18:23

My copy ordered!

tomclare 10th June 2009 22:10

From Red News

Evening Gents

Nothing on the telly just some crap team playing a bunch of milkmen…..anyway…
I got hold of Tom Claire’s book-Forever a Babe-from your link to amazon and read it on holiday. I have got to say that it is the best book about United’s history and the rise of the Babes I have ever read. Tom obviously loves the team and his recollections about the Babes and how they interacted with the fans and his tales of getting tickets for the early European games are absolutely brilliant. His match descriptions are better than any I have read. If you haven’t read it-try and get a copy-Excellent stuff.

Bob Harris

TanyaT 11th June 2009 16:26

he's right

tomclare 6th December 2009 23:25

Review of “Forever a Babe” – by Nicolas Romani (London)
This is the story of boy growing up in a working class family in post war Manchester surrounded by poverty, hardship and a football club being rebuilt almost from scratch.
From his first days as a pupil at St. Augustine’s right up to the horror of the Munich Air Disaster, Tom Clare chronicles the highs and lows of his family life together with Manchester United Football Club as they embarked on a new strategy of playing the game to and taking that Gospel to other borders.

Notwithstanding the Munich tragedy, Tom describes the hardship suffered by his father upon losing his sight, the love of the game of football encouraged and engendered by his grandfather and the difficult relationship between the former and latter which typified proud working class men of the period. Tom also reflects on the disturbing effects caused by the Manchester Education Committee’s insistence that he leave home for 6 weeks due for a period of convalescence at the tender age of 9.

But this is not Angela’s Ashes. This is a story with as much humour here as tales of escapades with fellow urchin Brian Walsh are related to the reader. The discovery to Tom at such a young age that football was not only escape from the drudgery of the day, but the gateway to another life is vividly told, and in doing so the landscape and imagery of the period is uniquely captured in the narrative. From how families living on top of each other survived in the harshest of conditions by being streetwise, to the messianic pull of a football team on the rise.

It’s a commitment to detail which truly makes this a remarkable book. From anecdotes about goalkeeper Jack Kelsey to describing Jack Irons, the United mascot walking around Maine Road on those famous pioneering European nights, it these things that put the reader at the centre of the action. But the centrepiece of this book is Tom’s match going experience and his almost Pepys’ like recounts of individual games from the emergence of the Busby Babes to their final destination. The chapter on the game against Bilbao at Maine Road in 1957 raises hairs on the back of your neck.

Other highlights are the anecdotes about the players and the human face that this book gives them, players that were accessible, unassuming and naturally gregarious, particularly among fans that idolised them.

And too, the lengths that Tom and Brian would go to procure tickets for Catholic priests raised smiles. It is said that pictures tell stories. On the rear cover, there is a picture of the author as a goalkeeper for St. Gregory’s Under 13 team. It was suggested that David Pegg was a young Victor Mature. The urchin looking goalkeeper could have been an extra alongside Cagney in Angels with Dirty Faces.

The book concludes with a personal homage to a team decimated by tragedy and it starts with the rebuilding process by Jimmy Murphy, his creation of The Fourth (and forgotten) Great Team, a personal tribute to Duncan Edwards and a final tribute to those heroes. As much as Manchester United fans will learn more about those times by reading this book, I found myself wanting to know more about the Author and his journey beyond his own heartbreak at the sudden loss of his heroes.

Manchester United fans with a real desire to gorge in the history of the club will want this book, but more than that, this is a man’s love of the game as it was and a period document of the city formerly known as Cottonopolis.

It’s an extraordinary read, and I look forward to the next chapter.

TanyaT 7th December 2009 00:13


Originally Posted by tomclare (Post 305763)
It’s an extraordinary read, and I look forward to the next chapter.

=D> =D>

sums it up perfectly

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