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City Centre
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Simon Halliday has tackled everything that life has thrown at him, be it on the rugby field, or in the City. He has been hit hard in his time, now he is hitting back. In his candid and lucidly written autobiography City Centre, Simon Halliday, a former England rugby international takes the reader on a roller-coaster trip along Twickenham's corridors of power and lifts the lid on the departure of, not one, but two chief executives, as the game's rulers fought among themselves for control of the RFU. He is scathing about England's descent from World Cup heroes to zeroes after proving they were the best in 2003. He slams the game's rulers for driving Sir Clive Woodward out of the game and for eschewing the opportunity to welcome him back to Twickenham a few years later. Halliday transcended the world of amateur and professional and he delivers a crushing analysis of the twin pressures of existing at the top of business and international sport. In addition to analysing his rugby career, City Centre is also a personal account of the fateful morning in September 2008 when Lehman Brothers collapsed, triggering a global financial crisis. Except that Halliday tells it from the inside, on the trading floor where he worked with thousands of others. Halliday also details the truth behind the ruthless mid-90s merger of the Swiss banking giants UBS and SBC, and the appalling behaviour of Credit Suisse in their ill-fated acquisition of his beloved DLJ at the end of the tech boom. It was while he was playing for Bath's all conquering rugby team of the 1980s that the double Oxford Blue in cricket and rugby suffered a horrific injury a week before his England debut. He describes the injury and talks movingly about how he was able to put this into perspective while lying in his hospital bed. That he played again is testament to his indomitable will - and his reward was to wear the Red Rose of England. In City Centre Halliday talks about some of the greatest players he has played with and against, and provides a shrewd analysis of the genius coach Jack Rowell, who transformed the fortunes of Bath, turning them from a minor West Country club into one of the best outfits in Europe. There are also assessments of Will Carling, a close friend, and the brilliant Jerry Guscott. Today Halliday is a parton of Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) and Help For Heroes and used his business and sporting profile to raise awareness of both these charities. This book does not pull punches. Halliday talks honestly and unashamedly about key people in his playing and business careers. This is an open book - just like the man.
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In City Centre Simon has successfully managed to capture the heady and intoxicating allure of top level rugby in the final years of the amateur era, through his varied experiences as a player. Rugby's friendships, the selection highs and lows, the desperate struggle with the inevitability of injuries and trying to start a family and a career in the City are issues Simon deals with openly and honestly. Simon is a thoroughly loyal, intelligent and talented individual. He is the right type of 'rugby' person to take the professional game forward and I would have loved to work with him at international rugby level. -- Nick Mallet This book is an interesting read for all rugby and business followers alike. From a fellow centre, and from someone who shares many of Simon's rugby values, I offer my congratulations on an often lighthearted expose of his many experiences. As he rightly said, he is very much an open book. With Simon, what you see is definitely what you get, -- Sir Clive Woodward

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