‘Feeling the way I do now, it’s not a feeling I ever want to have again.’ Andrew Flintoff speaks for a nation.

The Ashes, 2006/07: Australia 5 England 0. The nightmare returns.

For twenty years, Australia has produced competitors so gritty they order sandwiches with sand in, and not just at cricket. Fourth in the medals table at the Athens Olympics, Tour de France contenders, Davis Cup champions, and the Socceroos 3–1 winners over England. For Richard Beard, the football was the last straw.

So, on the well-established principle that if you want something doing …, he travelled down to Australia for seven rounds of hand-to-hand sporting combat, to find out just what makes the Australians so good, and how to beat them.

UK paperback edition of Manly Pursuits

‘Beard has some previous form in the area of rubbish sport: his Muddied Oafs, published three years ago, is one of the funniest rugby books you will find. He retains his comic form on his Australian quest . . . Beard and his Manly pursuits clearly saved England in 2005. Where the bloody hell is he now?’
– Andrew Baker, Daily Telegraph

‘I’m not sure he found what he wanted, but he had plenty of fun not finding it.’
– Independent Best Sports Books for Christmas

‘Because Beard is a writer rather than a sportsman, it’s actually a fine read, combining social history with humour, travelogue with sports biog … Perfect for when we’re struggling at the MCG.’
– London Evening Standard

‘Despite being written by a Pom, it’s (whisper it) a hilarious and thoughtful book.’
– Time Out

‘Peculiarly English . . . going to Australia to take on the locals at sports . . . Beard does this with dry humour and aplomb.’
Irish Times

‘An extremely funny part-travelogue, part-self discovery and part-investigation into how the 53rd most populous country became world beaters.’
– GQ

Richard Beard, writer, author, novelist, Sad Little Men, The Day That Went Missing, Acts of the Assassins, Becoming Drusilla, Manly Pursuits, UK