Man of the Match
Dan Freedman

Jamie Johnson starts the season on fire. He's playing for his beloved Hawkstone - and he's the top scorer in the country. But when a rival from an Italian club joins his team, everything changes. Jamie's temper gets the better of him, and he's sent on loan to a much smaller club. Will Jamie be able to make it back into the big time - or has he blown his chances for good?
Elli Maia, from The Mount School

Being a football fan and having read many football books, I have to say this was by far the best.


Jamie Johnson is an optimistic and fun character with a heart of gold. Now putting a teenager in the shoes of a professional made the book all the more enjoyable.


In some parts I didn’t want to put it down but in other parts I felt the plot lacked character. However with technical views aside it is an extremely good read.


This book is interesting counting that you have to keep reading despite the mistakes you think Dan made while writing it. As this is the fourth one in the series just being able to pick it up and grasp the story right away is a very important quality, especially if you have not read the others.


If you’re a footy fan like me you will LOVE Man of the Match. Because like Ryan Giggs said “Jamie Johnson is my type of footballer!”

Emma, from Queen Elizabeth's Girls' School, Barnet

Jamie is a talented football player. He is inspired by JoJo to carry on with his football dreams. Then Jamie’s Dad unexpectedly turns up on his doorstep, Jamie has to make a choice between becoming a professional football player with his Dad behind him or playing football at school and having his whole family behind him.


I enjoyed this book and felt involved and interested in the characters lives. I would recommend it and give it 10/10!

Garima, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

I liked the book; the story line was simple yet effective. However I think it was meant for someone slightly younger than me as it was quite an easy read, and not written with a wide range of vocabulary.  My personal interest is not really in football. I thought that the character Jackie could have been developed more. I think that Jamie Johnson was developed fairly well.


I think it is good, as it may inspire young children to believe that even if something looks glum for the moment, it will always sort itself out. Generally as we grow up, we tend to loose the ability of thinking about things in an optimistic way and Man of the Match, managed to remind me to have a positive outlook.

Jeronee, from Queen Elizabeth's Girls' School, Barnet

Jamie Johnson is 17 years old, and plays for Hawkstone United (a team which is at the top of the Premier League), which he has supported since he was little. However, a story containing an interview with his absent father ruins his reputation. This was an enjoyable book but sometimes it lacked character.


Read this short but appealing book to find out what happens to this star footballer.

Loic, from The Elmgreen School, Southwark

Man of the Match is the best football book I have ever read, because it is quite easy to read and it is exciting. The book is about a boy who moved football teams from Seaport to Hawkstone. Jamie Johnson and his team are heading towards victory but the rival team are getting in their way. Hawkstone United and Foxborough are head to head in the title race. When Foxborough are winning 2-1 and it looks like it is all over for Hawkstone, Jamie shows his magic and wins it for Hawkstone, just as it looked like it was all going down hill.


In Man of the Match, Jamie Johnson is a main character with his granddad and his manager Harry Armstrong, not forgetting the other player he struggles against, Ashley Blake. The story is told in the third person and it is the story of a footballer’s dream.  It inspired me to be the type of footballer that Jamie is. I think the writer loved football a lot, and perhaps was the type of footballer that Jamie Johnson was too.

Nathan, from Jewish Community Secondary School

In this book, Jamie Johnson, a premier league footballer, gets sent on loan to a team a couple of divisions down. He gets sent there as he discovers and unveils a plot to fix a match, and when his coach doesn’t believe him, he tries to kick the leader of this plot.


In the start of the book, Jamie Johnson is arrogant and thinks he could take on the world and win. When he reaches the end, he doesn’t think he could take on the world, but he is still arrogant. If Dan Freeman is trying to make a huge contrast in personalities, then he has made a mistake. There is one simple sentence which tells it all: “and then something that had never happened before happened; Jamie Johnson got there second.” I think that either the author should go for the complete contrast or no contrast, no halfway between.


The plot of the book doesn’t work, unless you are maybe nine or ten, as it is too unbelievable. You are not wrapped up in the story enough to ignore these extremely unlikely things. If, it was written in a way that made you want to believe the story, as in a film or a magic show, then the plot would work.


So all in all, it is not the greatest book ever written, but it does have its high points. If you are nine or ten, then you will probably like this book. If you are older, it will be too childish and if younger, then too complex. And personally, a book has to be for a wider age group than that.