Media & Reviews

Reviews for Rise of the Invincibles



Michael very kindly sent us a copy, and it really is a treat – not just for PNE fans, who I’m sure will be delighted by this history of the club, but also Michael’s impressive research into the wider history of early football, Preston’s past and the insights into the wider events that impacted the city and the club, all of which combined deliver a very special graphic novel, with some lovely art from David Sque, to boot (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun).
The Rise Of The Invincibles is an enjoyable book, presenting the days of the Invincibles. Even if you’re not a PNE fan, there’s plenty that will appeal within its pages, not least the social history alongside that of the football club itself. It may even prove a template for similar projects for other clubs, and the quality of this project is testament to just how how adaptable the comics form can be to tell a story that will garner plenty of local interest but, I think, also has a wider appeal.
Downthetubes, by John Freeman
Full review:

Every decision regarding the visuals and presentation is clearly done so with loving and tender care. The story itself is a belter too with Barrett laying the social and political groundwork of the establishment and rise of the club before the climax of the inaugural football league season.
PNE’s story is, of course, real Roy of the Rovers stuff which makes this book a perfect and triumphant storm of form and content.
The Football Pink, by David Marples
Full review:

Given the historical significance of the story for the development of professional football and the great detail that Michael Barrett includes in his account, this book should be of interest to football supporters well beyond the boundaries of Preston.
Bear Alley Blog, by Steve Winders
Full review:


Amazon Verified Purchase reviews

What A Wonderful Book. I bought the book with great anticipation, and I was not disappointed when it arrived. In fact it is beautifully illustrated and it really captures the essence of Soccer in Victorian times.
It is that good I cannot put it down.
Michael James Talbot

The first thing that strikes you is the quality of the book. It feels good and heavy in your hands and when you open it it is just an amazing read with beautiful illustrations. It took me back to reading Roy of the Rovers and I found out all sorts of details about the history of football and of my home town club, Preston North End. As somebody who missed the original heyday of PNE, it took me there and felt the atmosphere like I was part of it. It is a great read and it is my favourite present of this year.
David Ainsworth

Brilliant written book, full of the story of soccer’s beginnings, and very interesting historical facts. The illustrations are superbly done and easy on the eye. Once I picked up the book I could not put it down until I had read it. A must have for every true Preston North End fan.
Mike Reeves

A very entertaining book that is well researched and beautifully illustrated. A must for all PNE fans – although saying that, a friend of mine who doesn’t even support PNE couldn’t put it down!
Anne B.


Comments + messages from the Pebblers Football Forum

Got my copy and it is great! Originally, it was for my Grandson to learn about the History of the great PNE. The format is a great idea and it is really a very good book and an historic document, well put together. Fantastic, and I recommend it to all you Pebblers.

My copy arrived today absolutely brilliant invincible takes me back to my younger days with Roy of the rovers how its laid out with the speaking balloons magic.

I too can endorse the book. I read it on my flight to South America to visit my daughter and couldn’t put it down as soon as I’d opened it.

Thank you so much for this invaluable book and historical document that should be promoted in club shops and book shops all over the country and the wider world. At times I have read that some scribes criticize the club for living too much in the past, however without the proud historical heritage of our great club PNE just wouldn’t be the club that we all adore. Plan for the future but always glance back at the pioneering achievements of the Invincibles and the greats that have adorned the white shirt of our club. I do think this story would make a great tv serial with its attention to detail and cinematic detail of the dark Victorian, Dickensian streets of northern England that the Beeb could do so well. In fact I’m surprised it hasn’t already been done for the humble beginnings of Newton Heath, it’s probably because football history only began with the advent of the Premier league. All young North Enders should have a copy of this great book in their Christmas stocking, it certainly takes me back to the football comics and magazines of my youth. Thank you so much, when is the follow up in the shops, this is just the beginning?
Sudell Sudell give us a wave.

My mum got the book today and is planning on taking my brother the the Harris for the book signing. For the man who loved one, grew up on Roy of the rovers and raised a new generation of one fans it’s the perfect gift.



Hello Michael, I just want to say how much I enjoyed the ” Invincible’s” book. It caught my initial interest when I discovered on your website that David Sque was the artist. As a fan of Roy of the Rovers I was familiar with his artwork and he is a huge talent. However the book is not just about the great art and the football it is also a beautifully written social commentary of industrial England and people who lived in those hard times. Can I pass on my congratulations to you in creating a marvellous book which should take pride of place on any bookcase. It was such an enjoyable read and already one of my favourite books ever.
Actually I have no connection with Preston North End at all (I’m actually a Newcastle Utd supporter from N.Ireland). Mind you I think it’s a reflection of the quality of the “Invincibles” book that you don’t have to be a PNE supporter or indeed even a football fan to enjoy it. I first came aware of its existence in March on a website called “Down the Tubes” which promotes British comics and graphic novels and of course the art by David initially caught my eye. However the art was more than complimented by what is a great tale told in such an entertaining way. Personally I loved the genuine Victorian feel to the book.
Many thanks and I hope the book is a success.
Ian Wilson

Hi Michael, I have just read the book and found it really interesting and although this is my 50th season supporting North End I still learnt some facts about the club in its formative years. I found the pictures to be excellent…
All in all a great, informative book and I would certainly recommend it.
Ivor Holden


Facebook + Twitter, messages/tweets

I have spent a most wonderful afternoon and early evening reading your book. It was an amazing insight into The Invincibles. I cannot thank you enough for the hours you must have taken you to put it all together. I am somewhat a buff on North End facts but there were many I didn’t know, that you have put in the book. I wish you every success with the book.
I also enjoyed the way you set the scene for the book. A fantastic read and the illustrations of it is a work of art. Many thanks for the time you took over it. I had been following the series in the North End programme but as soon as I saw in the club I had to buy it.
Thank you.
Eddie Mayor  

Superb book, illustrations and so much more than just football. Quality. Loved it.
Young John B.   

Just finished the book! Got it for Christmas and it’s safe to say that it’s the best thing I got this year! Absolutely brilliant book, really brought the story back to life and it was amazing to read, I’m gutted it’s over now to be honest!
I’ll most definitely be recommending this book to people! Massive congratulations.

Thrilled to find this beautiful book at my doorstep this morning! Great text and stunning images. I’m blown away. Congratulations!

Spent the afternoon reading #riseoftheinvincibles. What a great book.
Ben Astley  

@benjastley @InvincibleBooks I’ll second that, read it in two days and half way through second read,great book well put together.
Dave Hogg  

Not just educational on PNE history but eye-opening in terms of professional football’s earliest days, class in Victorian sport etc.
JG Byrne @Fustar