"We'll Always Be Pals" are the last words my father said to me before he died. The youngest of his six children, he taught me everything there is to know about how to be a man in this world. He should know, after the life he lived. Born in 1920, Gene McManus witnessed some of the most historic events in our country's history. A product of the Great Depression, he was a football star, a boxer, and a B-24 Liberator pilot and POW during World War II.
My story is a small one. Out of football for two full seasons after a glorified college career, I had left my football dreams behind me until I got a call out of the clear blue sky. The man who taught me how to play the game was all the inspiration I ever needed to realise a life long held dream.
"We'll Always Be Pals" is ultimately the story of a father and son who were fifty years apart in age yet ended up best of friends.
"We'll Always Be Pals": The Last Words of a Dying Father and a True Hero! is part memoir, part biography, as Tom McManus tells both his life story and his father's. It's a potentially touching story—McManus’s brief career in pro-football was hampered by injury, and his father was a prisoner of war—but I'm afraid that it didn't engage me. The writing is clunky and pedestrian, I found several sentences which didn't quite make sense, there were a few oddly-capitalised words and a whole rash of extraneous commas. I read just eleven pages of text out of a total of 281 pages in order to find my fifteen errors, and wish that this story had been more strongly told.