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Featured Publisher: John Blake
Apart form its current publications, John Blake Publishing has a sizeable back list of acclaimed sporting titles. These include biographies of stars such as Roger Federer, WG Grace, Fernando Torres and Frankie Dettori. For more information, visit www.blake.co.uk



Football Book Reviews

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Check out our football book archive, sorted in date order.

The Love of the Game: The Agonies and Ecstasies of Parenting and Sport By Mark Chapman

Release date: 10th June, 2017
Publisher: W & N

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We have a copy of THE LOVE OF THE GAME to give away. To win this prize, simply answer the following question: Who won Great Britain’s first swimming gold at the 2016 Olympic Games? Send your answer to comps@sportsbookofthemonth.com no later than 28TH June 2017 (read review)

The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory By David Bolchover

Release date: 01st June, 2017
Publisher: Biteback

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Béla Guttmann could justifiably be called football’s first ‘super coach’, a man acutely aware of his own worth, but the tactical abilities which saw him employed by more than twenty clubs during a career that stretched well into his sixties, was only part of his incredible story. His willingness to travel in order to further his football career earned him the nickname “Wandering Jew” (too rarely used in jest), yet his Jewishness is integral to this remarkable and well-researched tale. (read review)

Quiet Genius: Bob Paisley, British Football’s Greatest Manager By Ian Herbert

Release date: 04th May, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Sport

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No British football manager has lifted three European Cups, yet it’s fair to say that Bob Paisley, who did so at Liverpool, has never received the praise he deserved. He never complained, but just got on with his job, nurturing and recruiting outstanding footballers, almost all of whom were leaders and ensuring they played simple football. “Play the way you’re facing,” was a standard Paisley refrain, an effective tactic that often produced scintillating football and remarkable success. (read review)

No Hunger In Paradise The Players. The Journey. The Dream By Michael Calvin

Release date: 27th April, 2017
Publisher: Century

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Most readers will have experienced unwarranted or unreasonable behaviour, or even downright dishonesty at work. And so it is with football, yet because it’s our national sport, we take greater interest in its murky machinations and unfairness. No Hunger In Paradise is Calvin’s beautifully-crafted take on football’s aspirations and the dreams of those seeking to make the big time. (read review)

Quiet Leadership By Carlo Ancelotti

Release date: 13th April, 2017
Publisher: Penguin

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Carlo Ancelotti’s Quiet Leadership is one of the very best books on football management ever written. His style has never been described as tyrannical or demonstrative; nor is he an advocate of what might be called the ‘drama queen approach’ to managing a football team. (read review)

Dr Socrates: Footballer, Philosopher, Legend By Andrew Downie

Release date: 09th March, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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Very few people, especially footballers, warrant an obituary in The Economist, the high-brow weekly founded in 1843. Presidents, Prime Ministers and seriously rich entrepreneurs tend to be the folks about whom The Economist writes once they’ve died, but in 2011, Brazil’s former midfielder and captain, the outrageously skilled Socrates, justified his inclusion on several fronts as Andrew Downie’s excellent biography confirms. (read review)

Above Head Height A Five-a-Side Life By James Brown

Release date: 09th February, 2017
Publisher: Quercus

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What keeps us coming back to play five-a-side? Dressing room banter; a prolonged moan about an injury incurred the previous week; playing ‘up front’ (a joy for perennial defenders); the prospect of a few pints afterwards, or perhaps lashing in a goal from four yards? (read review)

The Illustrated History of Football By David Squires

Release date: 06th January, 2017
Publisher: Century

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A large number of readers are likely to be emerging from a dry January fully intent on enjoying themselves again, in which case obtaining a copy of David Squires’ Illustrated History of Football will complement their rediscovered bonhomie. Squires has produced a lively, tongue-in-cheek history of the beautiful game, accompanied by some excellent illustrations. (read review)

Gus Honeybun, Your Boys Took One Hell of a Beating By Simon Carter

Release date: 04th January, 2017
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

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On several occasions during the current football season, Sky Sports’ comparable Premier League viewing figures have been down by 20 percent, while BT’s Champions League audience has plummeted by up to 40 percent. This is hardly a surprise, given that the Champions League magic evaporated years ago when a contrived group stage format was introduced to ensure a comfortable passage to the knock-out stages for the same ‘big’ clubs every season. As for the Premier League, well, only three or four teams can realistically win it. Leicester City was a ‘Black Swan’ event. (read review)

Cristiano Ronaldo The Biography By Guillem Balague

Release date: 01st December, 2016
Publisher: Orion

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s timing on the football pitch has always been impeccable. As we planned to review his latest biography this week in anticipation of him winning the Ballon D’Or award, it appears that his timing away from the pitch is pretty decent too after he pipped Lionel Messi to collect the accolade of the world’s best footballer for the fourth time. (read review)

The Man in the Middle The Autobiography of the World Cup Final Referee By Howard Webb

Release date: 10th November, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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It probably began a few years ago when the dome-headed (and extremely good) referee, Italian Pierluigi Collina, was amongst the first to be instantly recognisable. Whether he set out to do this is a matter of conjecture, but recently, we’ve seen Premier League referees such as Mark Clattenburg and Michael Oliver differentiate themselves from their peers, knowingly or otherwise. It’s difficult to imagine Howard Webb being so ostentatious. (read review)

The Football Ramble By Marcus Speller & others

Release date: 01st November, 2016
Publisher: Century

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Despite its chapter on football’s history, The Football Ramble, a spin-off from the podcast of the same name, suffers from a bias which favours discussion regarding more recent events, players and managers. With a little more digging, we could have been spared the thankfully short section on Pep v José and perhaps compared Sir Matt Busby to Bob Paisley; Bill Nicholson to Brian Clough. (read review)

Saturday 3pm 50 Eternal Delights of Modern Football By Daniel Gray

Release date: 20th October, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury

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Saturday 3pm could have stretched to hundreds of pages; instead, it’s not much longer than a match day programme, but still sufficient to make us understand why we’ll never fall out of love with football.. (read review)

Box To Box From The Premier League to British Boxing Champion By Curtis Woodhouse

Release date: 19th October, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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For a variety of reasons, most sports fans never get close to making it in one professional sport, yet Curtis Woodhouse reached the top in two. That he would go from playing football in England’s top flight (winning four England under-21 caps en route) to British light-welterweight boxing champion within 28 professional fights is a remarkable feat, one for which he has never received the recognition he deserved. (read review)

My Turn: The Autobiography By Johan Cruyff

Release date: 07th October, 2016
Publisher: Macmillan

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We live in an age when, thanks to websites such as YouTube, memories can be instantly recalled, a state of affairs which means that unless an incident was particularly special, we can soon reach memory overload, a videoed saturation point few of us wish to encounter. (read review)

Home And Away Round Britain in search of non-league football nirvana By Dave Roberts

Release date: 27th August, 2016
Publisher: Bantam

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Meander away from the flimsy veneer of top-flight glamour and you discover less cynicism, greater enthusiasm amongst supporters who appreciate their club is unlikely to drop £50 million on a new striker and, joy of joys, indigenous footballers who have a chance of getting a game. It is into this world that Dave Roberts, author of the wonderful 32 Programmes and long-term Bromley fan, takes the reader in his latest book. (read review)

OptaJoe’s Football Yearbook 2016 That thing you thought? Think the opposite By Duncan Alexander

Release date: 19th August, 2016
Publisher: Century

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“Opinions are the lifeblood of the game, the self-perpetuating essence that has allowed 90 minutes of action on the weekend to dominate the news cycle seven days a week,” writes Duncan Alexander (aka OptaJoe) before taking us on an often engrossing journey littered with odd, peculiar, or plain brilliant statistics and numbers likely to have readers backing their opinions up with more than hunches. (read review)

Angels With Dirty Faces The Footballing History of Argentina By Jonathan Wilson

Release date: 14th August, 2016
Publisher: Orion

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“No country loves [football’s] theories and myths more than Argentina,” writes Jonathan Wilson in his comprehensive, but immensely readable and wonderfully-researched history of a nation and its long-term love for the beautiful game. (read review)

Lost in France By Spencer Vignes

Release date: 01st August, 2016
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

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When picking sides at school, the boys chosen to keep goal were almost always amongst the last to be selected. They remained against the wall usually because their peers considered them less competent footballers, though this wasn’t always the case. (read review)

1966: My World Cup Story By Sir Bobby Charlton

Release date: 13th June, 2016
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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A brilliantly-written tribute to leadership - that of Sir Alf Ramsey - and the often ruthless manner with which he applied his vision to English football. Oh for some of Sir Alf's (and Sir Bobby's) magic... (read review)

Fifty Years of Hurt: The Story of England Football and Why We Never Stop Believing By Henry Winter

Release date: 07th June, 2016
Publisher: Bantam

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Twenty years ago, comedy duo Baddiel and Skinner employed a catchy tune with singalong lyrics to remind success-starved England fans that it had been three decades since the national team lifted any silverware of note. (read review)

And the Sun Shines Now: How Hillsborough and the Premier League Changed Britain By Adrian Tempany

Release date: 02nd June, 2016
Publisher: Faber & Faber

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There have been a surprisingly large number of books written about Hillsborough and the preventable disaster that resulted in 96 Liverpool supporters losing their lives in April 1989, but few are as gut-wrenchingly well-written as And the Sun Shines Now. The book opens with a compelling eye-witness account of the author’s brush with death at Hillsborough, a dramatic start-point to what could be described as a modern social history, with football at its core. Post-Hillsborough, money flooded into the game as people you wouldn’t trust as far as you could throw them were allowed to acquire our most iconic football clubs, in contrast to the situation in Germany, where, as Tempany shows, fan ownership is more prevalent and matches significantly less expensive to attend. (read review)

Forever Young By Oliver Kay

Release date: 19th May, 2016
Publisher: Quercus

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A disappointingly large number of promising teenage boys fail to break through into first team football at every club in the land, but according to Giggs himself and an impressive list of others who know something about football, including Sir Alex Ferguson and Gary Neville, Adrian Doherty was something very special indeed. (read review)

Mister By Rory Smith

Release date: 07th April, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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Another of the half dozen books you can win in our brilliant Christmas competition. To enter, see the competition section below. (read review)

BARCA: A people’s Passion by Jimmy Burns

Release date: 02nd March, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury

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Barcelona’s mesmerising Champions League victory over Arsenal simply added more sex-appeal to the world’s biggest club which employs the world’s most talented player in Lionel Messi. (read review)

66: The World Cup In Real Time By Ian Passingham

Release date: 01st March, 2016
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

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Given that those of us sporting more grey hairs than we ever thought possible will have selective memories of the 1966 World Cup finals, it’s a surprise that no-one has thought to fill in the gaps by reminding us of what else was going on as just 16 nations competed for the World Cup trophy. Author Ian Passingham, a journalist, has pieced together the equivalent of short newspaper reports to recreate the build-up and the tournament itself as though we were reading about events in real time. (read review)

Another Bloody Saturday By Mat Guy

Release date: 05th December, 2015
Publisher: Luath Press

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Mat Guy is much more interested in watching Bangor or Accrington Stanley than subjecting himself to made-for-TV displays of foreign mercenaries kissing their employers’ badge. Considering the author lives and works in Southampton, his dedication to exploring football’s unsung venues is impressive. (read review)

Shankly’s Village By Adam Powley & Robert Gillan

Release date: 01st December, 2015
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

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The name of Glenbuck, now a deserted, overgrown former mining village situated in south west Scotland, is one that resonates with football fans of a certain vintage. (read review)

The Crazy Gang by Dave Bassett and Wally Downes

Release date: 01st December, 2015
Publisher: Bantam

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Everyone loves a big FA Cup upset where David slays Goliath-and they don’t come any more shocking than on that May day in 1988 when the uncouth “long ball” upstarts from Wimbledon beat mighty Liverpool in the Wembley final. (read review)

Living on the Volcano By Michael Calvin

Release date: 01st November, 2015
Publisher: Century

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After reading this absorbing book, no-one will want to automatically pin culpability for indifferent performances upon the man on the sidelines. (read review)

Leading By Sir Alex Ferguson with Sir Michael Moritz

Release date: 30th September, 2015
Publisher: Hodder & Staughton

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“Leadership is accepting responsibility for being a leader,” says Sir Alex Ferguson about his new book, Leading, co-authored by a man who knows a thing or two about business success, Sir Michael Moritz. It’s a fascinating read, not least because, rather controversially, the Scot maintains he only ever managed four truly world-class footballers: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Eric Cantona. (read review)

Eibar The Brave The Extraordinary Rise of La Liga’s Smallest Team By Euan McTear

Release date: 01st September, 2015
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

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When tales of genuine footballing glory emerge, they provoke understandable interest because they offer fans an opportunity to remember what attracted them to the game in the first place. Euan McTear has written such a tale about Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, a football club that hails from a tiny Basque town around one third the size of Camp Nou. (read review)

The Ugly Game The Qatari Plot to Buy the World Cup By Heidi Blake & Jonathan Calvert

Release date: 28th April, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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As FIFA reels from accusations of corruption, bribery and racketeering, The Ugly Game explains just how the World Cup bidding process has made some FIFA officials very rich men... (read review)

Stuck On You By Greg Lansdowne

Release date: 09th March, 2015
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

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Youngsters have collected football cards since the late nineteenth century when John Baines of Bradford invented them around 1885. They were probably even more popular then than the modern-day Panini versions, particularly as they sold in packets of six costing a halfpenny. Today, Baines’ cards sell for up to £80 each. (read review)

Fathers of Football By Keith Baker

Release date: 12th February, 2015
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

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Britain has much of which to be proud - not a phrase you hear too often nowadays – particularly when we consider how pivotal Britons were in first codifying and then introducing organised sport to the rest of the world. (read review)

The Ugly Game By Martin Calladine

Release date: 12th February, 2015
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

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You wouldn’t think you could teach the people running such a hugely cash-generative operation anything new, but in The Ugly Game, Martin Calladine makes a cogent, often entertaining case for football to look west and discover what it could become, one capable of handling money and fame without compromising open, fair competition. (read review)

Football Clichés By Adam Hurrey

Release date: 07th December, 2014
Publisher: Headline

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Any book which describes itself as “a speculative effort, from distance, to translate the curious language of football” has to be worth reading. (read review)

O, Louis: In Search of Louis van Gaal By Hugo Borst

Release date: 01st December, 2014
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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If Hugo Borst discovered anything new during his search for Louis van Gaal, he’s not sharing much with his readers. (read review)

Roy: My Life By Roy Race

Release date: 08th October, 2014
Publisher: Century

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In a week when several publishers have spend small fortunes publicising three ghosted sporting ‘autobiographies’, there was only one literary effort that could possibly trump them. (read review)

Bobby Moore, the Man in Full By Matt Dickinson

Release date: 12th September, 2014
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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By identifying his faults, Dickinson makes Bobby Moore sound more human... (read review)

In Search of Duncan Ferguson The Life & Crimes of a Footballing Enigma By Alan Puttullo

Release date: 11th September, 2014
Publisher: Mainstream Publishing

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Everton fans, nurtured on outstandingly skilful Scots such as Alex Young, adored Ferguson’s aggressive manner and old-fashioned style which yielded 42 goals in 107 appearances during his first spell at the club. (read review)

Turning My Back on the Premier League By Lee Price

Release date: 19th August, 2014
Publisher: Blink Publishing

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If, like millions of football fans, you believe the Champions League to be the most misnamed, contrived competition in sporting history, or are increasingly annoyed at the way in which ‘big’ clubs undermine the FA Cup by fielding their reserves and treat the League Cup as a youth competition, you should read Lee Price’s excellent Turning My Back on the Premier League. (read review)

Sky Sports Football Yearbook

Release date: 14th August, 2014
Publisher: Headlline

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Published in paperback on 14th August, the latest Sky Sports Football Yearbook should, theoretically, be consigned to the dusty, inaccessible shelves of a museum, another victim of the internet’s galling omnipresence. (read review)

Sky Sports Football Yearbook 2014-15

Release date: 14th August, 2014
Publisher: Headline

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SSFY remains the football statistician’s Bible, the definitive word on everything relating to the game. (read review)

Shocking Brazil By Fernando Duarte

Release date: 05th June, 2014
Publisher: Arena Sport

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How a sports team or individual reacts to defeat, particularly an unexpected reverse, often tells us much about the loser’s mental strength. (read review)

Twelve Yards by Ben Lyttleton

Release date: 05th June, 2014
Publisher: Bantam Press

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Even strong, mentally tough characters miss penalties – though not if they’re German – and Lyttleton’s timely psychological references complements a well-paced narrative that avoids descending into psychobabble. (read review)

Futebol Nation: A Footballing History of Brazil By David Goldblatt

Release date: 05th May, 2014
Publisher: Penguin

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Brazil, argues David Goldblatt, is not a distant temple dedicated solely to music and carnival, home to a form of “languid tropical hedonism” as portrayed in images of sun-drenched beaches and lilting palms. (read review)

Roy Mac Clough’s Champion By Roy McFarland with Will Price

Release date: 18th April, 2014
Publisher: TM Sport

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Roy McFarland’s expression on the cover of his engaging autobiography has an uncompromising, ‘don’t-mess-with-me’ air about it, although as a player he never needed to threaten opponents. (read review)

Pirates Punks & Politics By Nick Davidson

Release date: 17th March, 2014
Publisher: Sports Books Ltd

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Pirates Punks & Politics is one of the five books you can win in our great Christmas sports book giveaway. For details of how to enter, scroll down to 'Competition' below. (read review)

The Life and Times of Herbert Chapman by Patrick Barclay

Release date: 12th January, 2014
Publisher: W&N

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Author Patrick Barclay paints vivid pictures of society and sport from a bygone era in this wonderful, thoroughly researched work, which demands a place on the bookshelves of discerning football lovers. (read review)

The Lost World of Football By Derek Hammond & Gary Silke

Release date: 03rd January, 2014
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

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The authors of 'Got, Not Got'have built on their success and produced The Lost World of Football, a rare opportunity for greying supporters to remind themselves of why our national sport was once called ‘the beautiful game’. (read review)

Knocking Down Walls By Uwe Rosler

Release date: 15th December, 2013
Publisher: Trinity Mirror Sport

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A cult hero in the blue half of Manchester, where T-shirts light-heartedly proclaimed: “Rosler’s grandad bombed Old Trafford”, (read review)

MESSI By Guillem Balague

Release date: 11th December, 2013
Publisher: Orion

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TIME will tell if this is a watershed winter for Lionel Messi, or merely a hiccup in his progress to becoming, without question, the best footballer the world has seen. (read review)

How Not to be a Football Millionaire: Keith Gillespie

Release date: 10th December, 2013
Publisher: Trinity Mirror Sport

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EVERY aspiring young professional footballer should acquaint himself with the cautionary tale of Keith Gillespie – a man plagued by gambling as if it was crack cocaine. (read review)

The Numbers Game by Chris Anderson & David Sally

Release date: 15th November, 2013
Publisher: Viking

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The Numbers Game, following in the tradition of Moneyball, published a decade ago, and Soccernomics, re-issued with updated material in 2012, attempts to take football analysis a stage further. (read review)

Sir Alex Ferguson: My autobiography By Sir Alex Ferguson

Release date: 20th October, 2013
Publisher: Hodder & Staughton

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To say he changed the face of English football in more than two decades at Old Trafford is an understatement of colossal proportions. Had he not been hired by Manchester United, it’s likely the club would have continued what appeared to be an inevitable decline and would probably be playing in the Championship today. (read review)

Always Managing: My Autobiography By Harry Redknapp

Release date: 11th October, 2013
Publisher: Ebury Press

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By the end of an engaging read, Harry emerges as a thoroughly decent character, an attribute which complements his role as an accomplished football manager. (read review)

Fear and Loathing in La Liga : Barcelona v Real Madrid By Sid Lowe

Release date: 26th September, 2013
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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We’ve reached a time of the year when publishers’ offices turn into frenetic places as firms become desperate to ensure their books are prominent during the industry’s busiest sales period. More sports books are sold in December than any other month, so over the next two weeks, we’ve selected what we believe to be the year’s best of breed. Football books do not feature quite as prominently as in earlier years, but perhaps the best is Sid Lowe’s Fear and Loathing in La Liga, a truly outstanding account of an intense football rivalry which exists between Barcelona and Real Madrid. (read review)

Immortal: the Approved Biography of George Best By Duncan Hamilton

Release date: 15th September, 2013
Publisher: Century

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Dozens of books have been written about Best, but this is the first ‘approved’ biography as his sister granted Hamilton access to what must have been a mountain of family material. The author deserves great credit, therefore, for writing not a sycophantic paean to Best, but an accomplished, well-researched account which doesn’t shy away from the footballer’s alcoholism and his propensity to be violent towards women. (read review)

I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic By Zlatan Ibrahimovic with David Lagercrantz

Release date: 04th September, 2013
Publisher: Penguin

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When Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s ‘autobiography’ was published in Sweden, it sold more than 700,000 copies and was shortlisted for a prestigious literary award. Published here in paperback on 5th September and is best described as an ‘interesting’ read. (read review)

The Nowhere Men By Michael Calvin

Release date: 28th August, 2013
Publisher: Century

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Nowhere Men is a captivating, marvellously well-written book. We should be thankful no-one stole Michael Calvin’s idea to highlight this forgotten area of the beautiful game. (read review)

Fergie: The Greatest Manchester United 1986-2013 By Frank Worrall

Release date: 01st July, 2013
Publisher: John Blake

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Love him or loathe him, Sir Alex Ferguson succeeded in making his mark and not just domestically. His departure may offer other clubs an opportunity to finally secure silverware that has eluded them for decades, but we will never see Sir Alex Ferguson’s like again. (read review)

The Wizard: The Life of Stanley Matthews By Jon Henderson

Release date: 02nd May, 2013
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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Two recent publications highlight the stark difference between football as it used to be played and how it is today. Indeed, the game’s gradual decline over the period book-ended by each tome is a reflection of how society too has become more brutal and egocentric. In the blue corner is I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a self-centred, narcissistic account of the Swedish footballer’s career – part of which, incredibly, is written in the third person – in which he revels in telling readers how amazing he was in such-and-such a match. Contrast this with Jon Henderson’s The Wizard: The Life of Stanley Matthews, a marvellous biography which, while not avoiding several controversial episodes in Sir Stan’s life, also relishes his mazy runs, tenacity and humility, so evident in a career spanning 33 years. Perhaps someone should buy Ibrahimovic a copy for his no doubt XXXL-sized Christmas stocking (read review)

Harry's Games Inside the Mind of Harry Redknapp By John Crace

Release date: 29th April, 2013
Publisher: Constable

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Mr Redknapp's tried and tested managerial methods appear to work despite, as John Crace points out, the subsequent financial fall out which often occurs once 'Arry has departed. (read review)

Willie Watson England's most successful double international By Frank Garrick

Release date: 10th March, 2013
Publisher: Sports Books

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Only a dozen men have ever represented England at football and cricket. Willie Watson was good enough to be a member of England's 1950 World Cup squad, but he was better known as a cricketer who scored 25,670 first class runs and 55 centuries... (read review)

Duncan Edwards: The Greatest By James Leighton

Release date: 02nd February, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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James Leighton’s biography of Duncan Edwards should not be dismissed as being aimed solely at Manchester United supporters this Christmas. Irrespective of what club you support, this is an outstanding story of a truly brilliant player. Thankfully, Leighton also dispels the notion that top-flight football was only invented in 1992. “While I felt that players from the 1950s would struggle in the modern game,” he writes, “I realised it would probably be the other way around. How would today’s pampered, richly rewarded superstars react to two years National Service in the middle of their careers? Would they be happy to play for a few pounds a week? Would they look as quick and skilful after playing more than 90 matches a season, on poor pitches, with a heavy ball and ankle-high boots?” The answer, of course, is a resounding ‘no’. (read review)

Up Pohnpei Leading the ultimate football underdogs to glory By Paul Watson

Release date: 02nd January, 2013
Publisher: Profile Books

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January has just about slipped by, the usual mixture of compromised new year resolutions, dawning financial reality (yes, that's your festive season credit card bill on the doormat) and an understandable reluctance to commit yourself fully to your role at Acme Umbrella Parts. (read review)

David Beckham

Release date: 01st January, 2013
Publisher: Headline

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ONE for the connoisseurs of coffee-table art and literature, this sumptuous work represents a farewell to arms by the most famous footballer on the planet. (read review)

The Outsider: A history of the goalkeeper By Jonathan Wilson

Release date: 06th December, 2012
Publisher: Orion

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The author considers how the goalkeeper's role has evolved over the past century. Given how pivotal the position is, it's a wonder that no-one has written so authoritatively and decisively about it before. (read review)

I am the Secret Footballer By Anonymous

Release date: 18th October, 2012
Publisher: Guardian Books

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It's interesting to read some of the online comments written in the wake of this book's publication and wonder whether anyone believes they've been duped. (read review)

Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here? By Anthony Clavane

Release date: 16th October, 2012
Publisher: Quercus

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All too often, authors fail to provide their readers with even a modicum of history, a back story upon which the rest of their work can be built. Thankfully, this frustrating trait is conspicuous by it's absence from Anthony Clavane's latest book, a fascinating, engaging tale of English football's 'forgotten tribe'. (read review)

Ah'm Tellin' Thee The biography of Tommy Banks By Ian Seddon

Release date: 15th October, 2012
Publisher: Paragon

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Ian Seddon, who played for Bolton between 1969-73, eventually moving onto Chester and Cambridge before playing in Australia and Hong Kong, has written a particularly accomplished biography of former Bolton and England left back, Tommy Banks. (read review)

El Clasico By Richard Fitzpatrick

Release date: 16th September, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury

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There have been several very good Spanish football-related books written recently. Graham Hunter's Barca is a penetrating and convincing account of life at the Catalan club, while Jimmy Burns' La Roja was described as 'a wonderful blend of politics, history and sports journalism'. To these pair, add Richard Fitzpatrick's El Clasico, a marvellous tale of passion and unprecedented rivalry underpinned by politics and bloodshed. (read review)

Sky Sports Football Yearbook Edited by Glenda Rollin & Jack Rollin

Release date: 12th August, 2012
Publisher: Headline

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The new season's bumper, 1,056 page edition of football's definitive reference book. Packed once again with an abundant enough supply of facts and statistics to satisfy the most ardent pub quiz question setter, the tome has become an integral feature of the new football season. (read review)

Red Card Roy By Roy McDonough with Bernie Friend

Release date: 11th August, 2012
Publisher: Vision Sports Publishing

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This book's dust jacket sets the scene for what sounds like the tale of a particularly successful military group on home leave, a story, it exclaims, of "thousands of beers and 400 women". (read review)

Be Careful What You Wish For By Simon Jordan

Release date: 17th June, 2012
Publisher: Yellow Jersey

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Another of our top five football books of the year for you to win as one amazing prize. But you've got to be in it to win it, so see how you can nab a fantastic Christmas prize by clicking on our competition section below. (read review)

Richer Than God By David Conn

Release date: 07th June, 2012
Publisher: Quercus Publishing

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Our brilliant new reviewer Steve Sanders runs the rule over David Conn's latest book, "Richer Than God". To read Steve's review in full, click on the link below. (read review)

Underdogs By Keith Dewhurst

Release date: 22nd March, 2012
Publisher: Yellow Jersey

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In Underdogs, Keith Dewhurst, a successful playwright and novelist, weaves an engaging, well-observed tale, mixing social history with what could be called the roots of modern football. (read review)

Underdog! By Tim Quelch

Release date: 03rd February, 2012
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

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There are few places on earth where the underdog is more admired than in Britain and nowhere is our appreciation more evident than in a sporting context. We become enthused by the underdog's passion and determination when the odds are stacked against them, a sense which is perhaps closely associated with the fact that we hail from a small country which for centuries has consistently punched above its weight. (read review)

The Didi Man By Dietmar Hamann with Malcolm McClean

Release date: 02nd February, 2012
Publisher: Headline

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This is not the chronological meanderings of an ex-player who fancies making a few quid from a book. For a start, Hamann does not take himself too seriously, an attitude borne of a man who appreciates how he made his living (and possibly of his status as a self-confessed Anglophile), nor does he feel that just because he was a German international, footballing success was his by right. (read review)

Got, Not Got By Derek Hammond & Gary Silke

Release date: 01st February, 2012
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

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This is an absolute gem of a book from which football fans of every age may extract something to amuse, recall, regret or simply enjoy. (read review)

Graduation: Life Lessons of a Professional Footballer By Richard Lee

Release date: 19th January, 2012
Publisher: Bennion Kearny

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Griffin Park, Brentford's home since 1904, acts as a warm-hearted backdrop to one of the most original and intelligent football books to appear for many years. (read review)

Brian Clough by Jonathan Wilson

Release date: 19th November, 2011
Publisher: Orion

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You can win all three of this week's books (Brian Clough, Vertigo & The Ghost Runner) in our fantastic Christmas sports book competition. To bag this terrific prize, simply answer the following question: How many medals in total (gold, silver & bronze) did Great Britain win at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008? Send your answers to comps@sportsbookofthemonth.com no later than midday on Christmas Eve. Good luck & Merry Christmas! (read review)

Vertigo by John Crace

Release date: 01st November, 2011
Publisher: Constable

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As we go to press, Spurs are 25/1 to be crowned Premier League champions next May, odds which, four months ago, were quoted in three figures. By harvesting Tottenham's not insubstantial resources, Harry Redknapp has created perhaps England's most attractive football team, but it could all be a bit much for John Crace, author of Vertigo, who is used to his Tottenham team stumbling well before the finishing line. For four decades, Crace witnessed a succession of false dawns and broken promises at White Hart Lane that would test the loyalty of any fan, but infidelity was not an option. His love for Spurs was a constant. Then Harry arrived, Tottenham suddenly started playing like a top team and Crace's world was turned upside down. A very funny book capable of providing the perfect excuse for an exit when someone asks, "Shall we watch Sound of Music?". (read review)

Who Are Ya? By Gershon Portnoi

Release date: 27th October, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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We have three copies of 'Who Are Ya?' to give away. To win one of these fantastic prizes, all you have to do is answer the following question: Which female singer originally sang Que Sera, Sera (as in 'Que sera, sera / whatever will be, will be / We're going to Wem-ber-lee / Que sera, sera.')? Answers by email (no later than 11 November) to: comps@sportsbookofthemonth.com (read review)

Red: My Autobiography By Gary Neville

Release date: 11th October, 2011
Publisher: Bantam Press

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Astonishingly, in print, Gary's even respectful of Liverpool FC, a feature never overtly evident when he played against them. (read review)

A Life Too Short by Ronald Reng

Release date: 28th September, 2011
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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German international goalkeeper Robert Enke was fortunate enough to make it to the very top, but beset by depression, in November 2009 he committed suicide at the age of just 32... (read review)

Denis Law: My Life in Football By Denis Law & Ivan Ponting

Release date: 01st September, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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Denis Law, aka The King, one of a tiny band of British players to have been crowned European Footballer of the Year, is now in his seventieth year, though the image of him in full flow is burnished upon the consciousness of those of us lucky enough to have seen him play. (read review)

True Storey by Peter Storey

Release date: 01st September, 2011
Publisher: Mainstream

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To win a copy of 'True Storey', simply answer the following question: In what year did Arsenal win their first 'Double'? Send your answers to: comps@sportsbookofthemonth.com no later than Friday 30 September 2011 (read review)

Goals, Glory & Greed by Joe Lovejoy

Release date: 01st September, 2011
Publisher: Mainstream

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Football existed long before Rupert Murdoch pumped billions into the game's highest echelons, so creating ideal conditions ripe for breeding a raft of spivs, shysters, chancers as well as legitimate football club directors and agents. Nonetheless, the idea of producing a book focusing on the emergence and development of a sporting phenomenon over its first two decades is, on paper, a fine one. (read review)

Football - Bloody Hell! By Patrick Barclay

Release date: 01st September, 2011
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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With Sir Alex calling it a day at Old Trafford, does this represent the beginning of the end for Manchester United? Patrick Barclay's outstanding biography provides us with a few hints... (read review)

Sky Sports Football Yearbook By Glenda & Jack Rollin

Release date: 14th August, 2011
Publisher: Headline

List Price: £25.00
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There have been several yearbook impostors since Rollin's first volume appeared in 1971, but the Sky Sports version remains the genuine article. Not one of the 1000+ pages is wasted, with every conceivable piece of statistical information, from the Champions League to details of the Zamaretto Southern League Premier Division included in a clear, readable format. (read review)

Why England Lose by Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski

Release date: 06th August, 2011
Publisher: Harper Sport

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Surely Roy Hodgson's latest bedtime reading? Though originally published a few years' ago,(this is the paperback version we're promoting here), football fans should get a copy before Euro 2012 kicks off. It may help them understand why they're so depressed when England get knocked out. (read review)

I'm Not Really Here by Paul Lake

Release date: 04th August, 2011
Publisher: Century Publishing

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I'm Not Really Here, a title taken from an old supporter's song when City languished in the lower divisions, is a completely different type of sporting autobiography which highlights the slender line between success and unfulfilled potential. (read review)

32 Programmes by Dave Roberts

Release date: 02nd August, 2011
Publisher: Bantam Press

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To win a signed copy of '32 Programmes' simply answer the following question: Dave Roberts attended his first match in September 1964. Which team were crowned league champions at the end of that season? Send your answers to comp@sportsbookofthemonth.com no later than Noon on 19 August 2011 (read review)

The Smell of Football by Mick Rathbone

Release date: 25th July, 2011
Publisher: Vision Sports Publishing

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If the build up to the new season has you anxious, worried or concerned, remember: it's only a game. Fortunately, The Smell of Football reminds us that it's one full of laughs and shouldn't be taken too seriously. (read review)

The Football Men by Simon Kuper

Release date: 20th July, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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Kuper's assured hand enables him to examine footballers, managers, even stadium architects and football-loving actors from a refreshingly unique perspective (read review)

Epic Swindle by Brian Reade

Release date: 19th April, 2011
Publisher: Quercus

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AN EPIC SWINDLE is the inside story of how Liverpool FC came within hours of being re-possessed by the banks after the shambolic 44-month reign of American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett. It is the tale of a civil war that dragged Britain's most successful football club to its knees, through the High Court and almost into administration. Players Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher tell of their anger at the broken promises, as well as their pain at watching loyal fans in open revolt. Manager, chief executive, board members, leading fans and journalists reveal the turmoil at a revered sporting institution run by two men at war with each other, who trampled Liverpool's cherished traditions into the gutter. No story sums up the naked greed at the heart of modern football quite like Hicks' and Gillett's attempt to turn a buck at Liverpool. No-one has had as much access to the truth, or tells it with as much passion, wit and insight as Brian Reade. AN EPIC SWINDLE is the riveting story of how close one of the great football clubs came to financial implosion. (read review)

Clough & Revie by Roger Hermiston

Release date: 07th April, 2011
Publisher: Mainstream

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Don Revie and Brian Clough were born a brisk walk away from each other in Middlesbrough, in 1927 and 1935 respectively. They were brought up in a town ravaged by the Depression and went on to become highly successful professional footballers. Then, as young managers, they both took clubs languishing in the doldrums (Leeds United and Derby County) and moulded them into championship winners. Despite the myriad similarities, these two sons of the Tees were as different in character as Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. A bitter rivalry developed between them, which in turn enlivened and then blighted English football in the 1960s and '70s. In Clough and Revie, exclusive interviews with players, relatives and friends shed fresh light on these two intriguing characters. Part footballing chronicle, part social history, the book is a revelatory exploration of the rivalry between the two men. It brings a fresh perspective on their early years in the North-East, tells how they nearly became teammates and explains why the feud began and what its repercussions were. (read review)

How not to be a Prefessional Footballer by Paul Merson

Release date: 03rd April, 2011
Publisher: Harper Sport

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An anecdote-driven narrative of the classic footballer's 'DOs and DO NOTs' from the ever-popular Arsenal legend and football pundit Paul Merson, aka 'The Merse'. (read review)

Messi by Luca Caioli

Release date: 19th October, 2010
Publisher: Corinthian

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The 2009 FIFA Player of the Year and European Footballer of the Year Lionel Messi is fast, elusive, mesmerising. Nominated by Maradona as successor to his No.10 Argentina shirt, he is already set for football divinity. At only 22 Messi is widely regarded as the planet's most naturally gifted player - a hero in Barcelona, Argentina's great hope for the 2010 World Cup and the envy of all other teams. He won the 2009 Ballon d'Or with 240 more votes than second-placed Cristiano Ronaldo - the highest-ever margin. Luca Caioli draws on numerous exclusive testimonies to tell Messi's story: his parents and extended family; his coaches at Grandoli and Newell's Old Boys; Rijkaard and Zambrotta from Barcelona; and, Jorge Valdano and many others from Argentina, Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta and ex-Chelsea defender Asier del Horno. In the final chapter Messi himself sizes up his life so far. "Messi" is a brilliant, insightful and revealing portrait of football's most exciting player and a must-read for all true fans of the game. (read review)

Savage! Robbie Savage

Release date: 05th August, 2010
Publisher: Mainstream

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Robbie Savage could have been just another Manchester United reject. Instead, he used the Old Trafford scrapheap as a springboard to become one of the most instantly recognisable footballers in the Premier League, despite being told by Sir Alex Ferguson he was not good enough to stay in the class of '92 alongside David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Gary Neville (read review)

Savage! Robbie Savage

Release date: 05th August, 2010
Publisher: Mainstream

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""" (read review)

The Story of the World Cup by Brian Glanville

Release date: 01st April, 2010
Publisher: Faber & Faber

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You will see plenty of World Cup books on offer over the coming months, most of which will be heavy on statistics and match facts, but nothing will match Brian Glanville's marvellous Story of the World Cup. (read review)

Eleven By Steve Fleming

Release date: 14th March, 2010
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

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Each of Fleming's stories provides uplifting examples of how an involvement with football can help people, be they brought down by drugs, alcohol, or even involvement with gang crime. What makes Eleven so inspiring is the way in which Fleming succeeds in showing the remarkable dedication of the people involved with the charitable organisations that endeavour to make a difference to people's lives. (read review)

Englischer Fussball by Raphael Honigstein

Release date: 10th November, 2009
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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We enjoy beating the Germans at anything, but especially at football. Perhaps because there have been so many instances of the Germans getting one over on us, particularly in the 1970 World Cup and again at Italia '90, that we revel in our successes, but as Raphael Honigstein tells us in Englischer Fussball, the feeling isn't necessarily reciprocated. (read review)

In The Shadow of a Giant By Mel Charles

Release date: 20th September, 2009
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

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Mel Charles's In the Shadow of a Giant contains some marvellous anecdotes, but is essentially a wonderful tale of football in the fifties and sixties when leather lace-up balls could inflict serious damage on a centre half's head. (read review)

Motty: 40 years in the Commentary Box by John Motson

Release date: 03rd September, 2009
Publisher: Virgin Books

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To celebrate John Motson's 40 years of commentating, we've managed to get hold of a special edition of his autobiography, published in 2009. To win this fantastic piece of memorabilia, just tell us who scored the Newcastle goal when Hereford beat them in 'that' FA Cup tie which made 'Motty's' name. Answers to comps@sportsbookofthemonth.com no later than 14th October 2011. Good luck. (read review)

Playing to Win by Dave Whelan

Release date: 20th August, 2009
Publisher: Aurum Press

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Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, who has written an autobiography of the quality you would expect of a man who played in all four of England's professional divisions before becoming a multi-millionaire, has attracted his fair share of anecdotes. (read review)

When the Whistle Blows by Andrew Riddoch & John Kemp

Release date: 11th July, 2009
Publisher: Haynes Publishing

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At several points throughout this thought-provoking text, the reader is invariably left wondering what would happen today if the fit and able men of the Premier League were called upon to serve Queen and CountryÖ (read review)

The Official Football Yearbook 2009-10 The ACTIM Statistical Guide

Release date: 01st July, 2009
Publisher: A & C Black

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Perhaps football's greatest spin-off is not the overpriced, sponsor-emblazoned polyester replica shirt but the quiz question that gets fans thinking. (read review)

Jellyman's Thrown a Wobbly by Jeff Stelling

Release date: 06th June, 2009
Publisher: Harper Sport

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In this very funny book, Stelling's provides readers with a unique guide to life behind the scenes and pulls no punches when it comes to telling is which former players perform well on screen and those who are a tad wooden. He doesn't do this in a nasty way (it is Jeff Stelling after all), but in a manner which suggests that the banter and bonhomie so evident on Soccer Saturday is absolutely genuine. (read review)

Beastly Fury: The Strange Birth of British Football by Richard Sanders

Release date: 04th June, 2009
Publisher: Bantam Press

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Richard Sanders has enjoyed enormous success as a film-maker; his documentaries include Escobar's Own Goal about the murder of Andres Escobar, the Colombian footballer who met his untimely death after the 1994 World Cup, and Kicking the Habit, a rather critical look at Diego Maradona. Now he has turned his attention to the origins of British football and produced a thought-provoking read. (read review)

Inverting the Pyramid A history of football tactics by Jonathan Wilson

Release date: 28th May, 2009
Publisher: Orion

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The old joke about the football manager who believed tactics were a brand of mints might be apocryphal, but most football followers appreciate the skill involved in developing a method of play to suit eleven individuals. (read review)

Thinking Outside the Box by Brad Friedel

Release date: 23rd May, 2009
Publisher: Orion

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'Fascinating' is an over-used description of sporting tomes, but in Friedel's case, it is entirely applicable - assuming you're not on the look-out for muck-raking. (read review)

The Worst of Friends by Colin Shindler

Release date: 20th March, 2009
Publisher: Mainstream Publishing

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Manchester City have long attracted opprobrium and sympathy in equal measure. For years, a considerable number of neutral fans, as well as their own supporters have desperately wanted to see them overhaul their celebrated near-neighbours, the self-styled 'biggest club in the world', yet sadly, one false dawn has simply given way to another. It's Manchester City's way: they rarely make things easy for themselves and every new beginning invariably ends in tears. (read review)

Stan Bowles: The Autobiography

Release date: 17th March, 2009
Publisher: Orion Books

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The tale of how this autobiography was conceived is perhaps indicative of Bowles' football career. Sharing a drink in their local pub, The Rose & Crown in Isleworth, Ralph Allen and John Iona, two good friends, were presented with the idea by the man himself. Late into the night, Stan said, "Hey, do you know, no-one's ever written about me." The trio stood, beers in hand, elbows resting unsteadily on the bar and considered why the former QPR, Bury, Manchester City, Leyton Orient, Nottingham Forest, Crewe and Carlisle forward would make such great copy. Agreement was reached on the spot. (read review)

One Ginger Pele by Chris Parker

Release date: 10th January, 2009
Publisher: New Holland Publishers

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Perhaps every fan should be given a copy of One Ginger Pele in order that they may see what's possible when we take ourselves less seriously than normal... (read review)

Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football by Tom Bower

Release date: 01st January, 2009
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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On one level, this work is academic in its coverage - providing cross references, details of source material and a comprehensive index. On another, Bower peppers the text with a series of one liners which are testament to his descriptive talent... (read review)

When Football was Football by Richard Havers

Release date: 09th December, 2008
Publisher: Haynes Publishing

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Readers who recognise what has happened to our national game, now awash with players who are unqualified to play for the national side, will appreciate Richard Havers' "When Football Was Football" (read review)

Forgive us our press passes: An anthology of modern football writing Edited by Christopher Davies

Release date: 13th November, 2008
Publisher: Know the Score Books

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A thoroughly entertaining read that can be dipped into time and again, especially as there are almost 70 contributions from writers of the calibre of Henry Winter and Martin Samuel... (read review)

The Tin Man By Ted McMinn with Robin Hutchison

Release date: 21st October, 2008
Publisher: Black & White Publishing

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As both Ally McCoist and Mark Wright point out in their respective forewords to the Tin Man, based upon first appearances, no-one would have imagined that Ted McMinn was, or could be, a professional footballer... (read review)

Roy of the Rovers: The Unauthorised Biography By Mick Collins

Release date: 15th October, 2008
Publisher: Aurum Books

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In recent years, only a handful of ghosted autobiographies stand out - Sir Bobby Charlton and Jamie Carragher's being two of the most memorable, but now this exalted pair are joined by a man who made his debut far back in 1954/55. (read review)

Capello: Portrait of a Winner by Gabriele Marcotti

Release date: 15th September, 2008
Publisher: Bantam Press

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Fabio Capello has been at the England helm for less than ten months, yet already fans sense that at last, they have someone appropriately qualified to turn a talented bunch of under-achievers into world beaters.... (read review)

Carra: My Autobiography by Jamie Carragher

Release date: 07th September, 2008
Publisher: Bantam Press

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Carragher's performance a certain balmy night in Istanbul has become part of Anfield folklore and while Liverpool's improbable success has been deemed 'sport's greatest-ever comeback', Carra is not a belated attempt to re-live an outrageously famous victory in print... (read review)

The Bromley Boys by Dave Roberts

Release date: 05th September, 2008
Publisher: Portico Publishing

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Roberts is a genuine football fan and this marvellous memoir is a must read, not just for those who ignore the top flight siren calls to follow their local club, but also for fans who might just be getting a little tired of the Premier League's achingly dull repepetitveness... (read review)

Heart of Football by David McVay

Release date: 01st August, 2008
Publisher: Reid Publishing

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Anyone searching for football's true heart should give its highest echelons the widest possible body swerve and lunge for McVay's excellent book with the unfettered determination of an old fashioned defender executing a sliding tackle with intent... (read review)

When Friday Comes by James Montague

Release date: 01st August, 2008
Publisher: Mainstream Publishing

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Montague instinctively knows that, in much the same way as you might anywhere else in the world, once you engage the locals in conversation about football, their passion and commitment to the sport can supersede all else. He is enlightened enough to appreciate that football is not a panacea, but he should send a copy of this thought-provoking book to FIFA. Instead of focusing on in-fighting and empire-building, FIFA could do some good in the Middle East were they to absorb several of Montague's ideas... (read review)

The Official Football Yearbook 2008

Release date: 17th July, 2008
Publisher: A & C Black

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There is a mountain of unsubstantiated information available online and given that many of us increasingly use computers in our everyday work, employing them again during our leisure time can sometimes be a chore. Readers with more than a handful of grey hairs will understand what I mean. Thankfully, browsing through record books remains a perfectly acceptable pursuit... (read review)

Football Dynamo: Modern Russia and the People's Game by Marc Bennetts

Release date: 03rd July, 2008
Publisher: Virgin Books

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During the recent Euro 2008 tournament, Russian footballers were described as 'world beaters who don't perform too well when they need to use their passports', a line which perhaps sums up the country's insular attitude towards the round ball game... (read review)

The Doog: The Incredible Story of Derek Dougan - Football's Most Controversial Figure by David Harrison & Steve Gordos

Release date: 15th May, 2008
Publisher: Know the Score Books

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This is a tale of a life lived to the full and one suspects it could have run to more than double the 200 pages and still been entertaining... (read review)

Anfield of Dreams: A Kopite's Odyssey by Neil Dunkin

Release date: 15th May, 2008
Publisher: Know the Score Books

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This is not a book solely for Liverpool supporters; anyone who worries that football clubs have become highly-prized assets should read it and realise that that is not an inevitable state of affairs... (read review)

A Cultured Left Foot by Muta Okwonga

Release date: 04th May, 2008
Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co

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Okwonga is a dedicated football fan (and a lawyer to boot) who can claim to have produced a rarity: an intelligent football book. His regular references to a multitude of great footballing moments proves he is also extremely well informed - a guy who would perform well on your pub quiz team, although he is clearly a well-rounded character who can appreciate football's many absurdities. (read review)

Married to a man of two halves by Agnes Docherty with Tom Docherty

Release date: 24th April, 2008
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

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It's a sad tale, laced with a number of authentic side-swipes at footballing sycophants and other hangers-on as seen by someone who could justifiably be called the 'original footballer's wife'. But don't let that put you off reading it... (read review)

The Rivals Game: Inside the British Derby by Douglas Beattie

Release date: 17th April, 2008
Publisher: Know The Score Books

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The Rivals Game is packed with some great anecdotes and chants, not all of which are repeatable here, although they add to sense that this book has touched upon something embedded within the football fan's DNA... (read review)

Football Obituaries by Ivan Ponting

Release date: 20th March, 2008
Publisher: Know The Score Books

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It might seem a tad morbid, assembling a book which deals solely with dead footballers, but... Ivan Ponting's excellent collection is akin to celebrating footballer's lives with a minute's clapping rather than with a minute's silence. And what great lives there are to recall and how well Ponting tells their tale... (read review)

Football Quotations by Phil Shaw

Release date: 26th February, 2008
Publisher: Ebury Press

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There are many stand-out favourites, but the "What a goal! One for the puritans", belted out by a Capital Gold commentator surely takes the biscuit... (read review)

The Beautiful Game is Over by John Samuels

Release date: 13th February, 2008
Publisher: Book Guild Publishing

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Let's face it: the Premiership isn't any more exciting than the old First Division and while players might be fitter, but they're no more skilful, yet the marketing myth, which prompts us to accept that what we're watching is outstanding, persists... (read review)

Manchester's Finest by David Hall

Release date: 03rd February, 2008
Publisher: Bantam Press

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Fifties Manchester was a great industrial city, proud of its two football teams. The arrival of Matt Busby as manager had transformed the better-supported of the two, United, into an irresistible attacking force and their European adventure was the next logical step for a side that swept to the league title in 1955/56 and 1956/57. Not until Sir Alex Ferguson had completed a decade at Old Trafford were United capable of playing the same brand of football as the Babes. (read review)

Outcasts! The Lands That FIFA Forgot by Steve Menary

Release date: 03rd January, 2008
Publisher: Know The Score Books

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Menary employs a light touch when writing which provides his narrative with an easy pace. Most of his engaging theory is built around an attack on football's jobsworths, vote-seekers, politicos and hangers-on and as a method of exercising the sports fan's mind, Outcasts is as good as it gets... (read review)

Deano by Dean Windass with Simon Parker

Release date: 21st November, 2007
Publisher: Great Northern Books

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Before the end of the first chapter, we've learnt that Deano washes his face three times before taking the pitch. 'Oh no,' you think, 'this is the bog-standard footballer's tale', but within a few pages, matters have improved markedly... (read review)

Parish to Planet by Eric Midwinter

Release date: 15th October, 2007
Publisher: Know the Score Books

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Midwinter's perfectly paced prelude attempts to unearth football's modest beginnings and, like the search for the source of one of the world's great rivers, there is some dispute about precisely where the game kicked off... (read review)

Walking Tall by Peter Crouch

Release date: 05th October, 2007
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

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Peter Crouch remains an enigma. He couldn't be described as brilliant, but still manages to find himself in the right place at the right time, the hallmark of football's greatest goalscorers. He shuns celebrity, although he talks openly about his infamous robot dance, he's an on-field worker, but one who couldn't be mentioned in the same breath as Dirk Kuyt... (read review)

The Almanack of World Football 2008 by Guy Oliver

Release date: 11th September, 2007
Publisher: Headline Publishing

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Those of us who recall how research was conducted before the internet's arrival will almost certainly feel there is no substitute for browsing through a book. While an online search can develop into an often frustrating scamper through a thick maze of ether, dipping into a voluminous reference book can become a hugely enjoyable meander... (read review)

My Manchester United Years by Sir Bobby Charlton

Release date: 06th September, 2007
Publisher: Headline Publishing

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Like almost every boy his age, Charlton grew up besotted by football. Playing the game for as long as parents would allow was the norm in the Northumberland mining village of Ashington, as it was everywhere else across Britain up until the mid-seventies. Games involving almost every boy in the street were not unusual, but even among these unwieldy matches, it soon became apparent that young Bobby, together with his older brother Jack, were endowed with a rare talent... (read review)

Seeing Red by Graham Poll

Release date: 26th August, 2007
Publisher: Harper Sport

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Unlike Elleray and Winter, other referees who have gone into print, Graham Poll manages to inject an easy humour into his narrative, which ensures that by the time he describes what happened at last year's World Cup when he completed his notorious three-card trick, the reader empathises with him. With hindsight, it is the one action for which Poll will remain famous, or infamous, depending upon your view... (read review)

Determined by Norman Whiteside

Release date: 15th August, 2007
Publisher: Headline Publishing

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Having approached this autobiography with some trepidation, sensing it came from the "former footballer cashes in on waning fame by publishing book" category, I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised... (read review)

Sky Sports Football Yearbook

Release date: 07th August, 2007
Publisher: Headline Publishing

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There have been several yearbook impostors since Rollin's first volume appeared in 1971, but the Sky Sports version remains the genuine article... (read review)

The Italian Job by Gianluca Vialli

Release date: 04th August, 2007
Publisher: Bantam Books

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As a player, Vialli was a flamboyant, charismatic winger. As a writer, he comes across as both intelligent and inquisitive, and with the aid of Times columnist Marcotti, formulates a valid critique of the differing approaches found here and Italy... (read review)

There's an awful lot of bubbly in Brazil by Alan Brazil with Mike Parry

Release date: 03rd August, 2007
Publisher: Highdown Publishing

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Brazil's delivery has been likened to listening to your best mate: he often makes you wonder whether you were actually there, but were so out of it that you can't remember. It's a skill which belies an enormous amount of hard work. (read review)

Gary Neville by Tom Oldfield

Release date: 30th June, 2007
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

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Tom Oldfield's impressive writing debut makes it immediately clear why Neville has enjoyed such longevity: determination... (read review)

Provided You Don't Kiss Me by Duncan Hamilton

Release date: 04th May, 2007
Publisher: Fourth Estate

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It's entirely fair to say that Hamilton was one of the few people Clough trusted; indeed, the reader might be left with the impression that this book's content could have comfortably exceeded 250-odd pages... (read review)

Rafa Benitez by Paco Lloret

Release date: 03rd May, 2007
Publisher: Dewi Lewis Media

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Published in Spain last year and translated by Malcolm Marsh, the book's layout makes it an easy read, ideal for a journey, and, not surprisingly, for readers interested in Spanish football. In truth, however, Lloret reveals little of Benitez's personality, but as a close friend, he manages to tell the reader much of what has shaped the man's career... (read review)

Michael Owen: The Biography by Oliver Derbyshire

Release date: 20th April, 2007
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

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As Derbyshire muses, it would be foolish to underestimate such a single-minded character who has already been crowned European Footballer of the Year, was the youngest player to represent England in the twentieth century, the only England player ever to score in four major tournaments and the youngest recipient of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award... (read review)

Robbie Keane: The biography by Andrew Sleight

Release date: 13th April, 2007
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

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Andrew Sleight scores by making this biography a chatty affair; he has clearly researched his subject in depth, but there are several incidents in Robbie Keane's life that make for compelling reading... (read review)

Wembley: Stadium of Legends by Pete Tomsett & Chris Brand

Release date: 06th April, 2007
Publisher: Dewi Lewis Media

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Pete Tomsett and Chris Brand have produced an account of Wembley which may be politely described as 'history lite'. Readers may wonder whether there really is any need for 26 pages of photographs of cranes and JCB's, first demolishing the old stadium and then rebuilding the new. Probably not in a book running to 160 pages. This is a pity because what precedes this liberal use of construction site photography is actually quite good... (read review)

Fallen Idle by Peter Marinello with Will Price

Release date: 22nd March, 2007
Publisher: Headline Publishing

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With the world, quite literally, at this young man's feet, it rapidly became evident that, while he would make a handsome living from playing football (which he subsequently did), he didn't quite have quite enough to make it at the highest level.... (read review)

Accrington Stanley: The club that wouldn't die by Phil Whalley

Release date: 16th March, 2007
Publisher: Sports Books Ltd

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Phil Whalley, a long-term fan of the club, has produced what can only be described as the definitive history of football in Accrington, aptly sub-titled, "The club that wouldn't die". For this is a story of a small group of individuals who refused to let the name of Accrington Stanley disappear, re-building a club, a ground and a tradition from scratch until on Saturday, April 15th, 2006 they achieved their dream when they won promotion back to the Football League... (read review)

The Match of My Life Series (Liverpool, Leeds United, Fulham, Stoke City, Spurs, Sheffield United, Sunderland, Wolves, European Cup Finals) by Various Authors

Release date: 07th March, 2007
Publisher: Know the Score Books

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It's not the most novel format in the world, but sometimes simple is beautiful and there can be no simpler idea than bringing together a dozen or so of the greatest players in a club's history and asking them to nominate and discuss in detail their favourite games... (read review)

There's only one Neil Redfearn By Neil Redfearn with Andrew Collomosse

Release date: 02nd March, 2007
Publisher: Headline Publishing

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Thankfully, there is more laughter than despair in Neil Redfearn's tale, but if anyone needed a reminder of how far football has progressed in the last two decades, they need only read the account of his move from Joe Royle's Oldham... (read review)

Believe in the Sign by Mark Hodkinson

Release date: 05th January, 2007
Publisher: Pamona Books

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In many ways, Believe in the Sign is a personal account which reads more like a novel than Hodkinson's previous work. It's a homage as much to his home town as the football club and to a pre-Thatcher Britain of decaying industry and a sport on the cusp of being over-run by hooligans. It is a lost world, largely unloved and forgotten, but laced with poignant and humorous childhood memories... (read review)

Harry Potts - Margaret's Story by Dave Thomas

Release date: 02nd January, 2007
Publisher: Sports Books Ltd

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As a nurse in the freezing winter of 1947 Margaret Hollinrake was offered a lift on the Burnley football team coach whilst waiting for a bus in Manchester. She caught the eye of the star player of that Burnley team, Harry Potts, and within a year they were married. Margaret Hollinrake had become a footballer's wife... (read review)

Tommy Docherty: My Story. Hallowed be thy Game By Tommy Docherty

Release date: 06th December, 2006
Publisher: Headline Publishing

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Nobody could accuse Docherty of having a life that lacked colour. He had an austere but loving upbringing, a period in the army of real tragedy that shaped him as a leader and then, as a player and manager, "more clubs than Jack Nicklaus" as he often repeats in his successful post-football role as an after dinner speaker. Docherty has cut a swathe through life that few others can match... (read review)

Jimmy Delaney: The Stuff of Legend by David W. Potter

Release date: 30th November, 2006
Publisher: Breedon Books

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"It is better to be a champion sport than a sports' champion." This wonderful aphorism was uttered by a man who starred for two of the world's greatest football clubs and who accomplished the unique achievement of gaining cup winners' medals in three different countries over three different decades... (read review)

We all live in a Perry Groves World by Perry Groves

Release date: 19th October, 2006
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

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Arsenal fans have apparently begun a campaign to make sure this wonderfully funny book sells more than Ashley Cole's humourless and self-justifying autobiography 'My Defence'. If there is any justice in the world, it would be no contest... (read review)

Prawns In The Game: How football got where it is today by Paul French

Release date: 18th October, 2006
Publisher: Dewi Lewis Media

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A book which forsakes an academic approach in favour of a more humorous style. Although the attempts at humour, which tend to involve creating stereotypes and caricatures, grate at times, French's style is breezy and his conclusions, based on his extensive interviews, are both pertinent and interesting... (read review)

Cole Play by Ian Macleay

Release date: 29th September, 2006
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

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Undoubtedly, Cole appreciates what is expected of him on the football pitch; this is what makes him such an outstanding player at club and international level. What Ian Macleay's book constantly reveals, however, is the pressure under which he and others like him live when they are away from sport... (read review)

Feed the Goat by Shaun Goater

Release date: 23rd September, 2006
Publisher: Sutton Publishing

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Given footballers' poor public image, it is encouraging to read such a heart-warming story. Goater has received an MBE for his services to football in Bermuda and the island has a day named in his honour. Hugely likeable, witty and erudite, Goater is an example of a true gentleman footballer from whom some of our more exalted stars could learn some valuable lessons. They should 'Read the Goat'... (read review)

Once in a Lifetime by Gavin Newsham

Release date: 06th September, 2006
Publisher: Atlantic Books

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No-one had heard of the Cosmos, which had been acquired by Warner Brothers in 1971. Within four years, however, the club had signed a three-year deal with Pele, the greatest player the game had ever known. More big name signings followed: German superstar Franz Beckenbauer, Italian striker Giorgio Chinaglia and Brazil's World Cup winning captain, Carlos Alberto. Overnight, the Cosmos became New York's hottest ticket... (read review)

A selection of books to greet the arrival of the new Premiership season: (2006-2007)

Release date: 16th August, 2006
Publisher: Various

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Although the World Cup ended less than six weeks ago, the rumbling, often predictable, energy-infused, over-hyped juggernaut that is England's Premiership returns this weekend, accompanied by a raft of football-related books... (read review)

Burksey by Peter Morfoot

Release date: 01st August, 2006
Publisher: Know the Score Books Ltd

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Nowhere have vast quantities of money had such a corrupting influence than in the world of football. It's for this reason that Peter Morfoot's Burksey is a book that works on two levels. First, it is very, very funny, but it also parodies the game so effectively, that it makes the reader appreciate just how arrogant and bumptious some of its participants really are... (read review)

Rooney Tunes By Mike Parry

Release date: 21st June, 2006
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

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This book offers not a traditional biographical picture of Wayne Rooney, but a snapshot of his life through the eyes of an well-known and experienced journalist. Parry writes with zest, enthusiasm and obvious delight about the 20-year-old... (read review)

Pele: The Autobiography

Release date: 16th May, 2006
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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The Pele story has been told many times by different authors of varying literary ability, but this autobiography is almost certainly the definitive tale of a man who, apart from being the world's greatest footballer, has also been a politician and sporting ambassador. For that reason alone, it is worth reading.. (read review)

The Perfect 10 by Richard Williams

Release date: 04th May, 2006
Publisher: Faber & Faber

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Williams concerns himself not with his favourite team or even a hybrid collection of his favoured XI, but with the "dreamers, schemers, playmakers and playboys" who have worn the number 10 shirt with such distinction... (read review)

World Cup book review

Release date: 19th April, 2006
Publisher: Various

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Given football's incredible global popularity, publishers are understandably keen to ensure their World Cup titles are on the shelves as near to the end of the domestic season as possible, thus providing supporters with enough background, history, facts and figures to satisfy the most avid 'statto'. Fans who can absorb it all will make John Motson sound under-prepared... (read review)

Steven Gerrard by Adam Cotier

Release date: 30th March, 2006
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

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Famously 3-0 down to AC Milan at half time [in the Champions League final], it was Steven Gerrard who headed home Liverpool's first goal in the 54th minute. As he raced back to the halfway line, he spread his arms wide, geeing the crowd and his team-mates with a gesture which demanded a response. "Come on, we can do this!" Gerrard's gesture declared... (read review)

Ronaldo by James Mosley

Release date: 22nd March, 2006
Publisher: Mainstream Publishing

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To call this a comprehensive biography is an understatement. Mosley has left no stone unturned in charting the career of one of the world's greatest footballing talents... (read review)

The Lost Babes: Manchester United & the Forgotten Victims of Munich by Jeff Connor

Release date: 06th February, 2006
Publisher: Harper Sport

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Of course, this story has been told before, but the principal argument behind Jeff Connor's thought-provoking book is that while the club re-ignited its understandable quest for glory soon after those sombre days of 1958, the families of Munich's victims were forgotten... (read review)

Who's the B*****d in the Black? By Jeff Winter

Release date: 06th February, 2006
Publisher: Ebury Press

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Winter has written an occasionally compelling book - the tale of his rise through the ranks is one of determination, after having happened upon the very idea of refereeing almost by mistake. Here was the archetypal terrace hard knock, a Middlesbrough boot boy intent on causing trouble who became instead a figure of authority... (read review)

Ooh Ah Stantona By Phil Stant

Release date: 25th January, 2006
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

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Stant not only appreciates how lucky he has been, but he is honest enough to recount the thrill of meeting Kenny Dalglish in the corridor at Anfield, of playing up front with Kerry Dixon and of scoring his debut goal for Reading. But Stant's life before his conversion to professional football provides an absolutely compelling foundation to this book... (read review)

Football books for Christmas (2005)

Release date: 24th December, 2005
Publisher: Miscellaneous

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Searching for something a tad different can be an arduous task, but there are several titles that would make a welcome Christmas gift for any football fan.... (read review)

Chelsea FC The Official Biography by Rick Glanvill

Release date: 01st December, 2005
Publisher: Headline Publishing

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It was important that readers knew Chelsea have only become a 'big club' in the last few years and while Glanvill frequently refers to the so-called 'glamour' side of the 1970s, in fairness, he doesn't shy away from the facts... (read review)

Deadly Doug by Doug Ellis

Release date: 27th November, 2005
Publisher: Blake Publishing

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Doug Ellis, who has been at the helm at Aston Villa since 1968, has witnessed a period of colossal change first-hand, although it came as a surprise to learn that he had previously been a director at Birmingham City for three years... Ellis is the archetypal self-made man, a travel agent who built an enormously successful business while retaining a passion for football - he alternated between visiting Villa Park and St Andrews each Saturday afternoon when he finished work, but eventually ended up as chairman at what was a run-down Aston Villa. (read review)

2006 Almanack of World Football by Guy Oliver

Release date: 12th October, 2005
Publisher: Headline Publishing

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Its 1042 pages are split into three sections, the first of which deals with every FIFA tournament, from the forthcoming World Cup to the 2005 World Youth Championship. The latter was won by Argentina in Utrecht last July with two goals from Lionel Messi, the young footballing prodigy Barcelona signed as a 13-year-old. As you can see, the book's information soon sticks... (read review)

Willie Irvine: Together Again

Release date: 06th October, 2005
Publisher: Sports Books

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When Willie Irvine was persuaded to write his autobiography by Dave Thomas, a Burnley fanatic who has gained a reputation for his witty and erudite chronicling of the club and the town, I suspect he did not realise what a cathartic and exhilarating exercise it would be. The two have produced an astonishing and outstanding tale of a footballer who not only reached the highest of highs, but also plummeted to the lowest of lows... (read review)

Any chance of a game? by Barney Ronay

Release date: 28th September, 2005
Publisher: Ebury Press

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Sunday morning football has always known its place at the very bottom of the footballing apex, although it does provide a final run-out for blokes who are more than a little overweight and who cannot recover from niggling injuries as rapidly as they used to. Still, it's cheaper than buying a ridiculously flash car or, the absolute nadir when it comes to efforts to recapture lost youth, an ill-fitting wig... (read review)

Oh Joey, Joey by Joey Jones

Release date: 28th September, 2005
Publisher: Blake Publishing

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Jones was one of the first high-profile footballers to display his club affinity by means of a tattoo, having the initials LFC inscribed onto his forearm; thousands copied him. There are dozens of players who have since professed to show their unstinting love of a football club in similar fashion, but what separated Jones from the current batch of lavishly-patterned foreign mercenaries is that he could have taken his place on the Kop and no-one would have batted an eyelid... (read review)

Frank Lampard: The Biography by Douglas Thompson

Release date: 20th September, 2005
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

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Douglas Thompson's biography, the first, no doubt of many we can expect over the next few years, is at pains to stress that life has not been a bed of roses for young Frank ever since he joined West Ham as a trainee in 1992. He had to contend, initially at least, with the inevitable cries of nepotism and favouritism, but these envious taunts were ultimately to become important factors which drove him on to play 132 times for the Hammers... (read review)

Once Upon A Time In Naples by John Ludden

Release date: 14th September, 2005
Publisher: Parrs Wood Press

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Oh no! Not another book about Diego Maradona, this time about the seven incident-packed years he spent at Naples, during which he led them to the Serie A title? Ho, hum, you might think, as I did before embarking on the first chapter, but I was soon engrossed... (read review)

George Cohen: My Autobiography by George Cohen with James Lawton

Release date: 31st August, 2005
Publisher: Headline Publishing

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So often, an ex-footballer's tale follows the same tired path, laced with stories of excesses, boyish pranks and dolly birds. Yet George Cohen has faced much greater challenges away from the football pitch than he ever encountered on it; this alone makes his inspirational autobiography... (read review)

Pointless: A season with Britain's worst football team by Jeff Connor

Release date: 01st August, 2005
Publisher: Headline Publishing

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The list of characters Connor has to work with, from Alex Forsyth, the club's oldest director and line-dance lover ("he likes his partners about six feet tall so he can stick his nose in their tits"), to manager Dennis Newall, whose rantings can occasionally make Sir Alex Ferguson sound like Mary Poppins, are as far removed from the pampered world of top-flight football as it is possible to be... (read review)

Sky Sports Football Yearbook & Soccer at War 1938-45 both by Jack Rollin

Release date: 01st August, 2005
Publisher: Headline Publishing

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Jack Rollin, the yearbook's sole editor for decades, drafted his daughter Glenda in several years ago and the duo have once more produced the definitive guide to everything that has happened on or off the football pitch during the past twelve months. Not one of the 1056 pages is wasted, with every conceivable piece of statistical information, from the Champions League to details of the Eagle Bitter United Counties Division One included in a clear, readable format... (read review)

All The Way Jose by Harry Harris

Release date: 24th May, 2005
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

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In the book's acknowledgements, Harry Harris thanks his publisher, John Blake, for having faith in the author's prediction that Chelsea would be crowned champions. This ensures that Harris covered every kick and every goal of the 2004/05 campaign, from the opening game of the season against Manchester United, to Chelsea's only league defeat (1-0) against Manchester City and onto the away match against Bolton which confirmed their championship status... (read review)

Thierry Henry by Oliver Derbyshire

Release date: 03rd March, 2005
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

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Not since Ryan Giggs was at his peak in an all-conquering Manchester United side six years ago has a footballer managed to be mentioned in the same sentence as such exalted company. Yet today, there is one Premiership star (and for once the description is accurate) who combines skill, athleticism and perhaps most important of all, that indescribable ability to excite the spectator... (read review)

Jose Mourinho Made in Portugal by Luis Lourenco and Jose Mourinho

Release date: 01st February, 2005
Publisher: DL Media

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The period covered by this book is quite condensed, focusing on Mourinho's career as a coach; it actually ends at the point where he becomes Chelsea manager, but it gives a fascinating insight into his coaching beliefs which help explain why he has been so successful... (read review)

Deep into the Forest by Daniel Taylor

Release date: 22nd January, 2005
Publisher: Parrs Wood Press

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After reading this book, one is left with two distinct impressions: first that writing it was a true labour of love and second, that the author probably would have written it for nothing. That it is currently zooming up the sporting best seller charts tells its own tale, testimony to the clear affinity Taylor has with his chosen subject; nor do you have to be a Nottingham Forest fan to enjoy it... (read review)

Shit Ground No Fans by Jack Bremner

Release date: 04th November, 2004
Publisher: Bantam Press

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If anyone has ever accused you of still (if you're over 25) or currently (if you're at school or university) getting a kick from schoolboy humour, you will love this book. It's one into which you will regularly dip and, following another ten minute bout of laughter, put it aside and walk around for the rest of the day with a recurring tune playing inside your head... (read review)

Hail Cesar by Billy McNeill

Release date: 01st November, 2004
Publisher: Headline

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When it comes to iconic images, it's difficult to surpass the one of Billy McNeill holding the European Cup aloft on a magical night in Portugal nearly forty years ago. There is no smile playing on the Celtic captain's lips, no obvious euphoria; instead, the muscular McNeill simply lifts the trophy skywards in a manner which shouts, 'There! We've done it.'... (read review)

Abramovich: The billionaire from nowhere by Dominic Midgley and Chris Hutchins

Release date: 05th October, 2004
Publisher: Harper Collins

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Roman Abramovich's story is one of political intrigue, ruthlessness and opportunism; as such, it falls into the 'truth is stranger than fiction' category, comfortably surpassing (in terms of both plot and writing) anything that could be served up in a fictional thriller... (read review)

Tackling My Demons by Stan Collymore with Oliver Holt

Release date: 04th October, 2004
Publisher: Harper Collins

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Collymore has not simply sat back as his autobiography was being written hoping it would sell on the strength of his name or reputation - he has clearly been involved. His voice is apparent throughout this well-crafted book which is a good thing because he has plenty to reveal about himself... (read review)

Off The Record by Michael Owen with Paul Hayward

Release date: 23rd August, 2004
Publisher: Collins Willow

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If a life can have just one defining moment, a clearly identifiable point at which absolutely everything changes, that night in St Etienne was it for young Michael when he scored one of the most amazing goals this writer has ever seen. As he progressed at pace, ball at feet, from the half way line, viewers instinctively drew closer to the television screen: "He's not going to score, is he? He is. He's gone round the last defender. Get out of the way, Scholes! Bang! My God, he's done it! The young boy has scored!"... (read review)

An Englishman Abroad: Beckham's Spanish Adventure by Phil Ball

Release date: 12th August, 2004
Publisher: Ebury Press

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Ball's description of Beckham's impact in La Liga and upon Spanish football is first class, starting with his opening game when the Englishman found the net after just 126 seconds, one of only three league goals he scored all season... Furthermore, Ball introduces the reader to the notion of 'fast food football', a phrase he acknowledges was first used by Santiago Segurola, Spain's most influential football writer. It defines the process whereby stars such as Beckham, Figo, Zidane and Ronaldo have been signed to satisfy the heightened expectations of fans or, to put it more accurately, to "cater for impatient consumerism of the younger football cliente." The phrase is equally appropriate when used to describe Real's most recent acquisitions... (read review)

MOTD Football Yearbook by Terry Pratt & Sky Sports Football Yearbook 2004/05 Edited by Glenda Rollin & Jack Rollin

Release date: 29th July, 2004
Publisher: Various

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Across the land at ten to six each Saturday as traffic lights turn red and the car lurches to a halt, people can be heard asking, "Who scored Bristol City's first league goal of last season?" (Lee Peacock in the 12th minute of the opening game against Notts County) or "Which Premiership referee showed more yellow cards than any other last term?" (Alan Wiley - 82). Football fans are expected to know these sort of things which is where the ubiquitous football yearbooks come into their own... (read review)

Gazza: My Story by Paul Gascoigne with Hunter Davies

Release date: 18th June, 2004
Publisher: Headline

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Towards the end of this book, Paul Gascoigne is asked, "Of today's younger players, who do you admire?" to which he replies, "Beckham, of course, not just for his football but how he has handled the media and his commercial work. I buggered up all that." It's a comment which ultimately the reader may feel is better suited to an appearance nearer the beginning as it effectively sets the tone for the whole 370 pages... (read review)

The Man Who Hated Football by Will Buckley

Release date: 04th May, 2004
Publisher: Fourth Estate

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Jimmy Stirling is the (only slightly) fictional sports journo in The Man Who Hated Football, an immensely funny book which has already been compared with Evelyn Waugh's journalistic satire, Scoop. The obvious difference between the two is whereas Waugh used the subtlest rapier-like blade to extract humour, Buckley brandishes a machete... (read review)

Manchester United Ruined My Wife by David Blatt

Release date: 01st May, 2004
Publisher: Parrs Wood Press

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Throughout the book, two particular aspects of the narrative combine to make the experience of the travelling fan appropriately realistic. First, the language, even in the author's asides, could, at all times, be considered industrial and second, when Blatt celebrates a goal, even on the page of the book, he sounds like one of those crazy Brazilian commentators who prolong their pronunciation of the word 'goal' as if to extend the joy of the ball hitting the back of the net: Ggggoooooooaaaaaaaallllll!!!! (read review)

George Best and 21 Others by Colin Shindler

Release date: 19th April, 2004
Publisher: Headline

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A book about the youth teams of Manchester United and Manchester City who clashed in a two-legged FA Youth Cup semi-final in 1964. That might not sound like the basis of a solid, book-worthy idea until the reader considers what happened next. Of the 22 players on show, including one George Best, playing his fourth game in a week (in the second leg) and about to make his international debut for Northern Ireland, 17 of them went on to play for their respective first teams. (read review)

Who Ate All The Pies? by Mick Quinn

Release date: 11th April, 2004
Publisher: Virgin Books

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Mick Quinn was as far removed from the modern day, calorie-controlled footballer you could imagine. He probably thought pasta was what you did when you walked by a girl, not as though big Mick walked past many, nor could he be relied upon to give a body swerve to a bar... (read review)

Greavsie by Jimmy Greaves

Release date: 04th December, 2003
Publisher: Time Warner Books

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Greavsie has recovered from his alcoholism and adapted well to the role of the football fan's favourite uncle. Like all good uncles, he tells a good tale... (read review)

The King: The Autobiography of Denis Law

Release date: 01st October, 2003
Publisher: Bantam Press

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Unusually for a footballer's autobiography, Law pulls no punches when it comes to opinions relating to managers and players and for this, it is a superior read to many of a similar genre... (read review)

King John: The Autobiography of John Charles

Release date: 26th August, 2003
Publisher: Headline

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The appropriateness of the comments made on the inside dust cover of this book are uncanny. John Charles' remarkable story, it says, "should be required reading for every millionaire footballer", an observation with which it is difficult to disagree... (read review)

Scoring: An Expert's Guide by Frank McAvennie

Release date: 26th August, 2003
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd

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Scoring, the title of McAvennie's autobiography, is the ultimate double entendre and Frank, as the book suggests, is something of an expert on the topic and we're not always talking about the ball hitting the back of the net. This is a pity because the most compelling parts of the book are when McAvennie concentrates on football rather than girls... (read review)

Nobby Stiles: After the Ball

Release date: 18th August, 2003
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General

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Nobby Stiles is one of those famous ex-footballers whose image has the distinction of being timeless. If he were playing today, no doubt his management advisers could market the Stiles 'brand', but it would be difficult to see him in a sarong. (read review)

Foul Play by David Thomas

Release date: 04th August, 2003
Publisher: Bantam Press

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It is little wonder that Foul Play is a contender for sports book of the year. The style and pace of the narrative allow it to read like a gripping novel as Thomas leads us through what is a tale of greed on an unbelievable scale... (read review)



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