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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



Sports Books of the Year

The shortlist for the sports book of the year contained half a dozen excellent books, but naturally, there could only be one winner. In previous years, it’s the winning author who ended up receiving the accolades, the profile and the money, but we think that if a book was good enough to make it to the shortlist, there is still a good chance you will want to read it.

We have reviewed some of the titles in full but provide a synopsis of each book below.

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)

Sport by Tim Harris

Release date: 14th December, 2007
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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That any area of modern life could justify having such a weighty tome pitched to a wide consumer audience is doubtful. In recent times, perhaps only Margaret Thatcher's The Downing Street Years could have afforded to run beyond 350 pages and still be considered to have mass appeal. (read review)

Hands of Stone by Christian Giudice

Release date: 04th February, 2008
Publisher: Milo Books

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Duran's tales reads like a Hollywood movie. Brought up by his mother in extreme poverty, he learned his trade on the streets. The story goes that as his mother went into labour, his maternal grandmother went looking for his father, then womanising in a nearby bar, and laid him out with a single punch before returning home to assist with the labour. Aggression was clearly in Duran's genes. (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)

Winning is not Enough by Sir Jackie Stewart

Release date: 07th May, 2009
Publisher: Headline Books

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For this week's competition and an opportunity to win 'Winning Is Not Enough', simply answer the following question: What was Sir jackie Steart's last Formula One win? Email us your answer no later than 26th June 2009 (read review)

Bad Blood by Jeremy Whittle

Release date: 26th June, 2009
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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Bad Blood is a wonderfully well-paced book (easily read in a day), at times as steady as the peleton, on other occasions fast enough to resemble a sprint finish; it rarely plods, which makes it absolutely gripping.... (read review)

True Colours by Adam Gilchrist

Release date: 22nd November, 2008
Publisher: Pan Macmillan

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To win a copy of True Colours, simply answer the following question: Before the start of the current (2009)series, how many times had Australia won the Ashes? Email your answers to us as Sportsbookofthemonth.com (read review)

Players: 250 men, women & animals who created modern sport By Tim Harris

Release date: 06th October, 2009
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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To win a copy of 'Players', simply answer the following question: Who was the IOC President prior to the election of Jacques Rogge? Email your answers to competition@sportsbookofthemonth.com (read review)

Jacob's Beach by Kevin Mitchell

Release date: 18th October, 2009
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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Yet did boxing ever enjoy a golden age? It's a question thoughtfully considered by Kevin Mitchell in this wonderful book which, had it been published a few months earlier, would be a serious contender for sports book of the year. (read review)

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Release date: 20th December, 2009
Publisher: Vintage

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Murakami was already an established novelist when he realised that his rather sedentary existence was making him fat. His response was to take up running and he has since tackled more than twenty-five marathons, too many half-marathons to mention and one particularly gruelling 100 kilometre ultra-marathon, the peculiar spiritual benefits of which are described here in satisfying detail. (read review)

Beware of the Dog by Brian Moore

Release date: 04th January, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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To win a copy of Beware of the Dog,simply answer the following question: how many caps did Brian Moore win for the British Lions? Email your answer to comp@sportsbookofthemonth.com (read review)

Laurent Fignon: We Were Young and Carefree

Release date: 10th July, 2010
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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Laurent Fignon is one of the giants of modern cycling. Twice-winner of the Tour de France in the early eighties, he became the star for a new generation. In 1989 he took part in one of the most fiercely-contested Tours of all time. Over the course of 3,285 kilometres he lost out to his American arch-rival, Greg LeMond, by an agonising eight seconds on the final Parisian time trial. He died from cancer, aged 50, on 31 August. (read review)

Arthur Milton: Last of the Double Internationals by Mike Vockins

Release date: 01st June, 2011
Publisher: Sprts Books

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Since 1887, only twelve men have been designated as double internationals, capped by England at both cricket and football. CB Fry and Denis Compton are perhaps the two most famous (though the latter never played in a full soccer international: his 12 appearances took place during World War II), but Arthur Milton, the last 'official' double international deserves his place amongst this most exclusive of sporting clubs. (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)

Why We Run By Robin Harvie

Release date: 04th August, 2011
Publisher: John Murray

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"All who have put on a pair of trainers will know the sense of freedom that comes with fresh air on the face miles from home," writes Robin Harvie in the prologue to his excellent book, 'Why We Run'. (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)

Ken Jones: Boots & Spikes by Steve Lewis

Release date: 18th September, 2011
Publisher: Sportsbooks Ltd

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Every so often, one stumbles upon an unexpected treat - a beautiful view across a deserted bay, a night sky replete with a billion stars, or a labour of love which tells of a hugely successful and very modest sportsman: Ken Jones: Boots & Spikes is one such delight. (read review)

Fred Trueman: The Authorised Biography By Chris Waters

Release date: 20th November, 2011
Publisher: Aurum Press

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We have three copies copy of Fred Trueman: The Authorised Biography to give away. To win this week's sports book, answer following question: In what year did Fred Trueman retire from first class cricket? Answers must be received no later than midnight on 16 December 2011. (read review)

The Ghost Runner by Bill Jones

Release date: 18th July, 2011
Publisher: Mainstream

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The Ghost Runner by Bill Jones is an extraordinary tale of John Tarrant, a man banned from athletics for life in the 1950s for breaching a strict amateur code. Tarrant admitted receiving £17 as a teenage boxer which resulted in him losing his amateur sporting status, although this did not prevent him from running marathons unofficially. He would often start races in an overcoat and discard it to reveal a strip with no number. Tarrant, raised in a tough children's home, went on to set a series of world records over 40 miles and 100 miles, but died of cancer aged just 42 without receiving the recognition he deserved. A fantastic read that will have you scurrying back from your Christmas Day walk for more. (read review)

Among the Fans From Ashes to the Arrows By Patrick Collins

Release date: 20th October, 2011
Publisher: Wisden Sports

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Have supporters become more cynical? Do they observe in the knowledge that something underhand is likely to be going on in a rugby scrum, a Test match, a blue riband cycling tour? Patrick Collins' enormously enjoyable book, in which he spends a year away from the press box, his normal place of work, and travels from South Africa to Adelaide and most places in between "watching the watchers" examines both fans' cynicism and their unrelenting support even when the latter appears completely illogical. A (read review)

Inside the Divide By Richard Wilson

Release date: 01st January, 2012
Publisher: Canongate

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A widespread sense of indifference towards Scottish football has developed across England over the past 30-odd years. Where once players for our top-flight clubs were regularly sourced north of the border (Scottish players are credited with introducing 'pass and move' to the English game), nowadays they're much more likely to hail from continental Europe or beyond. (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)

Britain's lost cricket grounds By Chris Arnot

Release date: 01st January, 2012
Publisher: Aurum Publishing

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There was a time when the local cricket ground was an integral part of town and city alike. Reserved exclusively for summer usage, they were a source of great civic pride and always beautifully prepared for the visit of first class county teams. Alas, this 'old-fashioned' approach to sport has been supplanted, without much thought given to what replaces it. (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)

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)

Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike By William Fotheringham

Release date: 23rd March, 2012
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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To describe Eddy Merckx as a hard-as-nails competitor is a little like saying Sir Alex Ferguson is a decent football manager. Between 1969 and 1974, he won the Tour de France five times and the equally difficult Giro d'Italia four times. He was crowned world cycling champion on three occasions and racked up more than 400 victories in other races, bludgeoning rivals into submission with his relentless, trademark attacks. Little wonder he was known as 'The Cannibal'. (read review)

Running For Their Lives By Mark Whitaker

Release date: 06th April, 2012
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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When Brighton-born teacher Arthur Newton left for South Africa in 1911 to become a farmer, he had absolutely no athletic background nor experience beyond running occasional races at school. Yet following a dramatic turn of events, the 28 year-old was to become "the world's greatest distance runner". (read review)

The Eagle of Toledo By Alasdair Fotheringham

Release date: 20th June, 2012
Publisher: Aurum Press

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Steve Sanders is captivated by a cycling biography he describes as a 'must read'. Read Steve's entertaining review by clicking on the link. (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)

The Perfect Distance Ovett & Coe: the record-breaking rivalry By Pat Butcher

Release date: 08th August, 2012
Publisher: Phoenix Publishing

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Prompted by the delivery of a speech by Lord Sebastian Coe to close the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games, Steve Sanders reminds us of Olympic times past. Steve reviews a re-issued cracker tracing the history of two of Britain's greatest middle distance runners... (read review)

Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong By David Walsh

Release date: 13th December, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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This is one of the most powerful sports books ever written, yet despite its length (over 420 pages), Walsh, an accomplished journalist, retains the reader's attention throughout. A 'must-read' for anyone with an interest in modern sport. (read review)

The Secret Race By Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle

Release date: 07th September, 2012
Publisher: Bantam Press

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This is an important book. Coyle and Hamilton finally lay bare an awful truth and back it up with hard forensic evidence. When read alongside the report from the United States Anti-Doping Agency which explains why it stripped Lance Armstrong of seven Tour titles, perhaps cycling's omerta, which prevented writers and journalists from revealing the extent of drug-taking across the professional ranks can finally be shot to pieces. (read review)

The Dirtiest Race in History By Richard Moore

Release date: 20th September, 2012
Publisher: Wisden

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Does it occasionally suit sports governing bodies to keep any mention or suspicion of drug-taking quiet? Are administrators simply more interested in protecting a sport's 'image' rather than publicly carpeting the cheats? Discuss. (read review)

Running My Life By Seb Coe

Release date: 09th November, 2012
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

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It's astonishing to think that Lord Sebastian Coe has achieved what he has and he's still only in his mid-fifties. (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)

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)

Foinaven: The Story of the Grand National's Biggest Upset By David Owen

Release date: 05th April, 2013
Publisher: Wisden

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We have a copy of Foinaven: The Story of the Grand National's Biggest Upset to give away. To win this week's very topical sports book, simply answer the following question: Which horse won the 2012 Grand National? (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)

Domestique: The Real Life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro By Charley Wegelius

Release date: 07th June, 2013
Publisher: Ebury Press

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Our first Christmas giveaway is Charley Wegelius’s outstanding memoir. Wegelius was never a household name; instead, he was one of those crucial cycling team members without whom the superstars are unable to perform to their maximum ability. Domestique: The Real Life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro is a wonderful account of life as a cycling foot soldier. To win a copy of DOMESTIQUE, simply answer the following question: In which country does the 2014 Tour de France commence? Send your answer to comps@sportsbookofthemonth.com no later than 15 December 2013. Good luck! (read review)

The Good Son The Life & Times of Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini By Mark Kriegel

Release date: 05th August, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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First published in the USA to widespread critical acclaim last year, The Good Son, now available in the UK, is as fine a sporting biography as you will ever 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)

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)

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)

Land of Second Chances: The Impossible Rise of Rwanda’s Cycling Team By Tim Lewis

Release date: 01st October, 2013
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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This meticulously researched work merits a wider audience than the biking fraternity – it certainly deserves one. (read review)

Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography By Mike Tyson

Release date: 15th December, 2013
Publisher: Harper Sport

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Mike Tyson was recently denied entry to the UK, so instead of being able to see the former world champ in person talking about his new book as was originally intended, sports fans will have to make do with one of the most intriguing sporting memoirs ever written. Thankfully, as was the case when he was in the ring, Tyson pulls no punches in this beast of a book – at 560-odd pages, it’s twice the length of the standard sporting biography. (read review)

At the Close of Play By Ricky Ponting

Release date: 07th December, 2013
Publisher: HarperSport

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Cricket supporters, together with those who simply enjoy reading about a sporting phenomenon, should lump a copy of this enormous book to their favourite armchair and settle in for a lengthy treat. (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)

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)

Ping-Pong Diplomacy Ivor Montagu and the Astonishing Story Behind the Game that Changed the World By Nicholas Griffin

Release date: 14th January, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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Several compelling threads run through this outstanding work, not least the story of how table tennis led directly to a remarkably speedy melting of the icy relationship that had once engulfed China and the USA. (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)

Cycle of Lies The Fall of Lance Armstrong By Juliet Macur

Release date: 17th March, 2014
Publisher: Williams Collins

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Macur’s book is certainly comprehensive, the product of ten years’ worth of notes and interviews with all the major players (including the main protagonist himself) involved in Armstrong’s extraordinary success and his protracted fall from grace. (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)

Gironimo Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy By Tim Moore

Release date: 30th April, 2014
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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Gironimo is a serious contender for sports book of the year. It’s also Radio Four’s ‘book of the week’ (12-16 May). (read review)

Living on the Deadline By Frank Malley

Release date: 13th May, 2014
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

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Ayone aspiring to enter a world where contact with sporting dreams and tears is the norm should read Frank Malley’s outstanding Living on the Deadline. (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)

The Hate Game By Ben Dirs

Release date: 14th July, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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Published in hardback last year, The Hate Game has been released in paperback to a hopefully much wider audience. Mike Costello’s short foreword provides a sumptuous taster, telling readers that Dirs has brought together “all the duckers and divers and dreamers and schemers whose input, from the centre to the periphery, created and then exaggerated the antagonism that captivated a nation.” How could you not immerse yourself in Dirs’ wonderful narrative after that? (read review)

A Clean Break: My Story - By Christophe Bassons

Release date: 10th July, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Sport

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GIVEN a level playing field, who knows how far Christophe Bassons might have travelled in the murky world of professional cycling. It was never level in his era but spiked almost as high as one of those gut-wrenching Tour de France ascents of the Alps or Pyrenees. (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)

Proud: My Autobiography By Gareth Thomas

Release date: 20th September, 2014
Publisher: Ebury Press

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Rugby is a sport renowned for being well populated with dominant, hard-as-nails characters, leaders you would happily follow into battle. From Willie John McBride to Martin Johnson and a host of others in between, the sport’s tough physical nature propels such men to the fore, moulding them into modern-day sporting warriors. (read review)

Bouts of Mania Ali, Frazier, Foreman and an America on the Ropes By Richard Hoffer

Release date: 01st September, 2014
Publisher: Aurum Press

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Periods of radical, almost revolutionary, political, social and economic change have long been fertile backdrops for thousands of stories, but when the foreground is occupied by the greatest sportsman who ever lived, the combination, as Richard Hoffer proves, is electric. (read review)

The Road to Nowhere A Journey Through Boxing’s Wastelands By Tris Dixon

Release date: 20th October, 2014
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

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To win a copy of ROAD TO NOWHERE simply answer the following question: What year did Marvin Johnson compete at the Olympic Games? Send your answer to comps@sportsbookofthemonth.com no later than 28th November 2014. Good luck! (read review)

Great British Cycling The History of British Bike Racing 1868-2014 By Ellis Bacon

Release date: 29th September, 2014
Publisher: Bantam

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This is no dry statistical tome intent merely on arranging cycling’s many landmarks in strict chronological order. Instead, Bacon livens matters with first-hand accounts which oil the narrative as effectively as a heavy squirt of 3-in-1 onto a recalcitrant bike chain. (read review)

Beyond the Horizon Extreme Adventures at the End of the World By Richard Parks

Release date: 20th November, 2014
Publisher: Sphere Books

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“No sportsman knows how he will handle the end of his career…my time came suddenly and without argument.” The news hit former international rugby star Richard Parks like a sledgehammer and his description of coming to terms with the shock is as vivid and heart-rending as anything you will read. (read review)

The Strangers Who Came Home The First Australian Cricket Tour of England By John Lazenby

Release date: 27th January, 2015
Publisher: Wisden

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John Lazenby has written an outstanding sports book, inviting the reader into what became a voyage of sporting and cultural discovery. (read review)

To Hell on a Bike Riding the Paris – Roubaix: The Toughest Race in Cycling By Iain MacGregor

Release date: 16th March, 2015
Publisher: Bantam Press

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To Hell on a Bike is not pitched solely at the ‘Mamil’ (middle aged men in lycra) market. MacGregor’s is a genuinely inspirational story blending details of his preparation with the race’s history... (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)

Bernard Hinault And the Fall and Rise of French Cycling By William Fotheringham

Release date: 16th May, 2015
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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William Fotheringham, author of two excellent cycling biographies, of Eddie Merckx and Tom Simpson, gives it both barrels in another superb account, this time of Bernard Hinault, the last Frenchman to win the Tour de France. Hinault won the race an incredible five times and is the only rider in history to win each of the Grand Tours more than once. (read review)

Half Time: The Glorious Summer of 1934 By Robert Winder

Release date: 19th May, 2015
Publisher: Wisden Sports Publishing

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A couple of years ago, everyone’s favourite American import, Bill Bryson, wrote One Summer, the tale of how Babe Ruth, Al Capone and especially Charles Lindbergh dominated the news during the summer of 1927. Bryson successfully mixes newspaper reports with radio commentary and eye-witness accounts to immerse the reader into the age, allowing him to capture its spirit and understand how Lindbergh became the world’s most famous man. In Half Time, Robert Winder repeats the technique (read review)

Field of Shadows: The English Cricket Tour of Nazi Germany 1937 By Dan Waddell

Release date: 28th May, 2015
Publisher: Corgi

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Dan Waddell’s captivating, thoroughly entertaining and remarkably well-researched account of the 1937 tour to Germany by the Gentlemen of Worcester is now out in paperback. It would make a welcome addition to anyone’s sporting library. (read review)

Speed Kings: The Fastest Men in the World and the 1932 Winter Olympics By Andy Bull

Release date: 07th June, 2015
Publisher: Bantam

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Yes, yes, we know 'Speed Kings' isn't a football book, although perhaps there's latent demand for a thumping study of pacy wingers. Who knows? No matter. Speed Kings is one of SIX of this year's best sports books and you can win them all for free, gratis, nowt, simply by entering our competition & submitting the correct answer. For further details, scroll down to the competition section below. (read review)

Max Mosley: Formula One and Beyond by Max Mosley

Release date: 30th June, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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Yes, yes, we know it's not a football book, but we're at least three weeks away from the start of the new footy season and we consider Max Mosley's book so good, we had to get it somewhere on the front page. We also have a signed copy of this book to give away. To win this prize, answer the following question: How many times has Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix? Send your answers to comps@sportsbookofthemonth.com before the closing date of 25th July 2015. (read review)

The Test: My Life, and the Inside Story of the Greatest Ashes Series – by Simon Jones

Release date: 02nd July, 2015
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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Oh, the agony and the ecstasy. England quick Simon Jones experienced the full gamut of emotions in a career pockmarked by injuries yet illuminated by a stellar performance against the Aussies in 2005. (read review)

Alpe D’Huez: Cycling’s Greatest Climb By Peter Cossins

Release date: 14th June, 2015
Publisher: Aurum

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Having experienced race day ‘live’ as a fan of pro cycling, enormous breakfast barbeques, loud music and hundreds of people dressed in ridiculous costumes, it’s easier to appreciate Peter Cossins’ description of what Alpe D’Huez means to the thousands of Dutch folk (and other nationalities) who make their pilgrimage to this brutal climb whenever it forms part of the Tour de France. (read review)

A Man’s World By Donald McRae

Release date: 10th September, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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We have SIX OF THE BEST as our Christmas prize giveaway this week. That's right, the year's best sports books, including A Man's World, featured here, the two others above (Speed Kings & Cricket: The Game of Life) and three more: The Strangers Who Came Home; To Hell on a Bike and William Fotheringham's biography of French cycling ace, Bernard Hinault. Ok, how do you win this fabulous collection? Email us with the answer to the following question: Which nation won cricket’s inaugural World Cup? Send your answer to comps@sportsbookofthemonth.com no later than 18 December 2015 Good luck! By the way, you can read reviews of all six books on the site; go to our archive & make your choice. (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)

Cricket: The Game of Life By Scyld Berry

Release date: 01st October, 2015
Publisher: Wisden Sports Publishing

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This is our sports book of the year. It's one of six you can win in our fantastic Christmas giveaway. See the competition section below for details. In the meantime, read our review to see why 'Cricket: The Game of Life' is our selection as the best sports book of 2015. (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)

One Breath By Adam Skolnick

Release date: 12th January, 2016
Publisher: Corsair

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Though the nearest most of us get to freediving is a spot of holiday snorkelling a few hundred yards off the coast, Adam Skolnick’s compelling story of this most extreme of extreme sports is likely to inspire bolder folks to dive a little deeper. (read review)

Man Vs Ocean By Adam Walker

Release date: 07th January, 2016
Publisher: John Blake

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People scrambling for inspiration to walk, swim or run more should read Man Vs Ocean, an uplifting account of a man who was already fit and an accomplished swimmer and who, after he suffered a potentially debilitating injury, invented a new swimming stroke which enabled him to successfully tackle the Ocean’s Seven Challenge, swimming’s equivalent of mountaineering’s Seven Summits Challenge. Only six people have ever completed the Ocean’s Seven. (read review)

From Light to Dark By Dave Heeley & Sophie Parkes

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

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When set in a sporting context, ‘inspirational’ has become an over-used adjective, an easy, if lazy description, used most frequently as a substitute for ‘impressive’ or ‘brilliant’; ‘inspirational’ is several notches higher up the ethereal, core-of-the-soul level than either of these two. (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)

Endurance The Extraordinary Life & Times of Emil Zatopek By Rick Broadbent

Release date: 16th April, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury

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There was a time when those wishing to delve into the sporting past were almost exclusively reliant upon catching a timely television documentary or, shock, horror, reading about it. (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)

The Hitler Trophy Golf and the Olympic Games By Alan Fraser

Release date: 16th May, 2016
Publisher: Floodlit Dreams

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Thanks to Alan Fraser’s meticulously-researched book, sports fans, as well as anyone else who enjoys a wonderful tale (mooted to have piqued Hollywood’s interest), can read how two British golfers ensured that Hitler’s attempt to extract maximum propaganda from a golf tournament backfired. (read review)

For the Glory The Life of Eric Liddell from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr By Duncan Hamilton

Release date: 13th May, 2016
Publisher: Doubleday

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Duncan Hamilton has twice won the sports book of the year award and it would be no surprise if For the Glory, his compelling biography of Eric Liddell, ensured he completed a unique hat-trick later this year. (read review)

We Had Some Laughs: My dad, the darts and me By Dan Waddell

Release date: 20th May, 2016
Publisher: Bantam

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We have a copy of WE HAD SOME LAUGHS to give away. To win this prize, simply answer the following question: Who is the reigning men’s darts world champion? Send your answer to comps@sportsbookofthemonth.com no later than 8 June 2016 (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)

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)

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)

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics By Daniel James Brown

Release date: 25th July, 2016
Publisher: Penguin Books

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At times, Brown’s work reads like a sporting supplement to Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, underpinned as it is with reminders of Depression America and an unwavering focus on those lower down the social scale... (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)

Shadow Box An Amateur in the Ring By George Plimpton

Release date: 04th August, 2016
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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Boxing is responsible for an even greater form of engagement with sports enthusiasts primarily because the calibre of the authors who write about this toughest of sporting disciplines tends to be of the highest level. Classics such as George Plimpton’s Shadow Box, published originally in the USA and now available in paperback here for the first time warrant inclusion on any sports fans’ bookcase. (read review)

AB The Autobiography By AB de Villiers

Release date: 12th September, 2016
Publisher: Macmillan

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It’s reasonable to suggest that AB de Villiers is currently the world’s finest all-round batsman. He made his test debut for South Africa at the age of twenty and was selected for every single test his nation played over the subsequent eleven years, but he is renowned too as a ferocious T20 and ODI player. What is evident from this fine autobiography is that AB has stayed at the very top for such a long time because he takes nothing for granted. (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)

Stroke of Genius Victor Trumper and the shot that changed the world By Gideon Haigh

Release date: 22nd September, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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Stroke of Genius is more than a history of a single photograph. Haigh manages to explore cricket’s evolution, opera, Impressionism, Australian politics and the Edwardian obsession with class without lecturing readers. (read review)

His Own Man The Biography of Otto Peltzer By Tim Johnston and Donald Macgregor

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

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This highly recommended biography uncovers the amazing, little-known story of German athlete Otto Pelzer, who was brutalised by the Nazis for his forthright views and sexuality, but who survived to become an inspiration. (read review)

Dare To Do: Taking on the Planet by Bike and Boat By Sarah Outen

Release date: 04th November, 2016
Publisher: Nicholas Brealey

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Envy. More than a pang of it, too, is the overwhelming emotion most readers will feel even before they start Sarah Outen’s excellent tale of circumnavigating the globe under her own steam. (read review)

The Cyclist Who Went Out In The Cold By Tim Moore

Release date: 01st November, 2016
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

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This is another of the best sports books of the year you can win in our Christmas 2016 competition. Two of the others are shown above; the other three are: WE HAD SOME LAUGHS; CYCLING THE EARTH & FOREVER YOUNG. To win all six books, simply answer the following question: How many gold medals did Team GB win at this year's Rio Olympics? Send your answer to comps@sportsbookofthemonth.com no later than 12th December 2016 (read review)

Epic Bike Rides of the World

Release date: 03rd January, 2017
Publisher: Lonely Planet

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There are plenty of good books in which authors tell of how they rode this or that Grand Tour route (read anything by Tim Moore), or careered across continents, but time (and money) considerations ensure that most folks will never have the chance to follow in their footsteps. Which is where Lonely Planet’s Epic Bike Rides of the World comes in. (read review)

Redemption: From Iron Bars to Ironman By John McAvoy with Mark Turley

Release date: 06th January, 2017
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

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Redemption features one of the best introductions to a sporting title you’re ever likely to read. Within a few paragraphs, you have an empathy with the narrator embarked on a 106 km foot race from London to Brighton after he explains why tackling such distances appeals. “Endurance sport hinges on pain, which is why it attracts a certain type of athlete,” he says. “You begin an event with your fitness and strength, but you finish it only with stubbornness.” (read review)

Four Mums in a Boat: By Jeanette Benaddi, Helen Butters, Nikki Doeg & Frances Davies

Release date: 16th March, 2017
Publisher: HQ

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The story of four women in their forties and fifties, who went from meeting at their local rowing club each Saturday morning in order to get some exercise while enjoying a laugh and a gossip, to rowing the Atlantic in record time offers a compelling form of sporting inspiration. (read review)

The Talent Lab The secrets of creating and sustaining success By Owen Slot

Release date: 27th April, 2017
Publisher: Ebury Press

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The turnaround in Great Britain’s Olympic fortunes since Atlanta in 1996 has been nothing short of dramatic. From a miserable return on investment 21 years ago, in 2012, Team GB were third in the medal table; at last year’s Rio Olympics, they took second place. Yet, as Slot shows, it wasn’t as though sport was starved of cash between 1996-2012. (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)

The Captain Class: The Hidden Force Behind the World’s Greatest Teams By Sam Walker

Release date: 18th May, 2017
Publisher: Ebury Press

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In an age when the captain’s armband is sometimes lobbed across to a player unlikely ever to be deemed a natural commander, there are several instances of sporting leadership. (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)

The Descent By Thomas Dekker

Release date: 07th July, 2017
Publisher: Ebury Press

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Yes, the section heading says 'football books', but ignore the beautiful game for a while and read this. It's better than most football books you'll have read at any time over the past few years. (read review)



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