Grovel!: The Story and Legacy of the Summer of 1976 Info

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When England cricket captain Tony Greig announced that he
intended to make the West Indies "grovel," he lit a fire that burned as
intensely as the sunshine that made 1976 one of the most memorable
summers in British history. Spurred on by what they saw as a deeply
offensive remark, especially from a white South African, Clive
Lloyd’s touring team vowed to make Greig pay. In Viv Richards,
emerging as the world’s most exciting batsman, and fast bowlers
Michael Holding and Andy Roberts they had the players to do it.
Featuring interviews with key figures from English and West Indian
cricket, Grovel!: The Story and Legacy of the Summer of 1976
provides a fascinating study of the events and social issues surrounding
one of the sport’s most controversial and colorful tours—as
well as addressing the decline of West Indies cricket and its loss of
support in the new century.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.44

89 Ratings

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Reviews for Grovel!: The Story and Legacy of the Summer of 1976:

5

Jun 18, 2014

I enjoyed this book immensely. It took me back to the long hot summer of 1976 when as a young boy not yet in my teens my life was endless football and cricket.

That year it was even more sporty as I watched the Olympics - including the stunning performances by Nadia Comanechi - as well as playing and watching (on tv) my favourite two sports.

Vividly do I remember the West Indies team and genuinely being scared by the speed and venom with which Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Wayne Daniel and I enjoyed this book immensely. It took me back to the long hot summer of 1976 when as a young boy not yet in my teens my life was endless football and cricket.

That year it was even more sporty as I watched the Olympics - including the stunning performances by Nadia Comanechi - as well as playing and watching (on tv) my favourite two sports.

Vividly do I remember the West Indies team and genuinely being scared by the speed and venom with which Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Wayne Daniel and Vanburn Holder ripped the England batting order - and batsmen - to bits. I watched in awe as Viv Richards and Gordon Greenwich with Clive LLoyd and Alvin Kallicharan knocked the balls to all points in and out of the park. I remember playing with my mates as Viv, Gordon, Andy and Michael and also as David Steele, Dennis Amiss, Alan Knott and John Snow.

What I don't remember, or even being aware of, was the story behind the title of the book: Grovel. As aboy I wasn't aware, or at least I don't think I was of the comment by England and Sussex captain Tony Grieg made in saying that he would make the West Indies grovel.

The truth of that test series was far different. The West Indies side that came to England in 1976 was mentally stronger than the one who fell apart in Australia the winter before - and where Grieg's comments were aimed.

Clive Lloyd, the West Indies captain, had four world class, ferocious and physically strong fast bowlers who could and did bowl at speeds just below 100 miles per hour. Their armoury of deliveries included bouncers, yorkers and occasional beamers to punish batsmen's bodies, minds and averages. Moreover, he came with batsmen who were superb and capable of scoring runs-a-plenty with strokes that cricket experts and young boys alike craved to watch (and try and play like).

The West Indies team had some confidence issues (problems) in Australia. Clive Lloyd used his excellent management and captaincy skills to meld this team and Tony Grieg unwittingly bonded and bound these black men of slave roots closer through his grovel comment.

The book is highly readable and incorporates comments from the key players from that wonderful and historic series. Mr Tossell is very good in describing the before and after of matches whilst his descriptions of the play itself is enjoyable and just about right for this reader on detail and action.

The backdrop to 1976 in cricketing, social and political is also drawn out and what one is given is a solid mix of sporting history coupled with players' memories and views.

I have read few cricket books (circa 10) and even fewer books on other sports in my adult years but for me this is fine writing. I would recommend for any cricket fan, and also for the reader with a very basic understanding of cricket who has an interest in 1970s Britain and how sport was played, especially with such sheer brilliance by young black West Indian cricketers.

The appendices include all the team scorecards, bating and bowling averages as well as short biography details on what happened to the men who played for either side. The final chapter also laments the state of modern West Indies cricket and how young talent has drifted to other sports (Basketball) and music. ...more
3

Oct 28, 2012

An enjoyable trot down memory lane as Clive Lloyd forges the team which will go on to dominate the game for 2 decades. This book is about Tony Greig's stupid comment about making the West Indies 'grovel' and how they responded on the field!

I felt it could have been much more in-depth and detailed with interviews from many other players but it was an enjoyable and fun quick read. Recommended for cricket fans in general and West Indies' ones in particular!



4

Jun 04, 2016

Much as I love watching cricket, I've always found it hard to warm to full-length books on the subject, which tend either to be self-serving and poorly-written autobiographies by practitioners, or detailed accounts of matches I never saw, set out in the game's inimitable and - even to a dedicated cricketophile - occasionally tedious jargon.

However, the tale of West Indies' 1976 Test tour of England - which I did see (albeit via the lamented medium of live public service TV) - can hardly fail to Much as I love watching cricket, I've always found it hard to warm to full-length books on the subject, which tend either to be self-serving and poorly-written autobiographies by practitioners, or detailed accounts of matches I never saw, set out in the game's inimitable and - even to a dedicated cricketophile - occasionally tedious jargon.

However, the tale of West Indies' 1976 Test tour of England - which I did see (albeit via the lamented medium of live public service TV) - can hardly fail to be fascinating, for all sorts of reasons which are both tangential to, and intimately bound up with, this unique and culturally-complex sport. The obvious one in this case is the incident which gives the book its title: a statement, in the year of the Soweto riots, by the (white, Apartheid-era South African) England team captain to the effect that he intended to make the (black, African-Caribbean) tourists "grovel". It was a spectacularly ill-judged remark by any standards, and even though its author, Tony Greig, almost immediately apologised for the unintended offence he had caused, it was typical of the kind of utterances, in racial politics at the time, which were not sufficiently thought through.

However, Grieg's words also came against the background of a newly-resurgent West Indies team under the great captain Clive Lloyd. Determined to build a world-class unit exhibiting regional and racial pride, Lloyd had done away with the stereotyped casual approach to match strategy which had made WI inconsistent and prone to the kind of patronising attitudes exhibited by Greig. Having learnt from the Australian approach to fast bowling, he developed a deadly front line pace attack in Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Wayne Daniels, et al, who specialised in furious speed and aggressive short-pitched delivery - fury and aggression which was only fuelled by the memory of the opposition captain's taunts.

The rest, of course, is history - and this series has become history, not only in a sporting context but also political, international, and defining of how people of West Indian heritage in the UK see themselves. England were the ones who were made to grovel, old assumptions and practices shattered - along with the nerves and, occasionally, bones of her players - by the West Indian uprising. And not only were the bowlers devastating, but Viv Richards, the greatest batsman I ever saw, rose for the first time to the pre-eminence as stroke player and run-scorer that was to be his for the next 15 years.

I doubt we'll ever see another series like this one, and thus is a fine and gripping account of it. ...more
5

Feb 05, 2018

1976 was the summer of the drought and the summer of the West Indies. For someone whose first clear cricketing memory was this series this book was a fantastic wander down memory lane. I was pleased by how much I remembered, but fascinated by how much I'd forgotten in terms of the details. Every page elicited an 'Oh yes, I remember' or an 'I didn't realise that'. The interviews with the players of that series were fascinating, particularly David Steele a real favourite of mine who was treated 1976 was the summer of the drought and the summer of the West Indies. For someone whose first clear cricketing memory was this series this book was a fantastic wander down memory lane. I was pleased by how much I remembered, but fascinated by how much I'd forgotten in terms of the details. Every page elicited an 'Oh yes, I remember' or an 'I didn't realise that'. The interviews with the players of that series were fascinating, particularly David Steele a real favourite of mine who was treated shamefully by England. My other favourite of that era was the late great Tony Greig and his comments from the viewpoint of 30+ years later were never less than thought provoking whether you agreed with him or not. An absolute must read for any cricket fan! ...more
4

Jan 22, 2015

Enjoyable read of a series nearly 40 years old now! Mixes nostalgia, humor and the nitty gritty of test cricket in an easy to read style. The descriptions of the games are excellent, but even better are the side stories of the people involved.
4

Nov 24, 2019

This is a book about a grudge cricket series between England and the West indies in 1976.
Well written, well researched.
The build up hooks you in the beginning.
The language kept you going on, following the series page by page. Not once was I tempted to go on the net and check the scores in the archives, lest I should lose the fun.
Highly recommended.
This is one book that can be judged by its cover

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