Sports book review:Football books of the year
We’ve enjoyed a phenomenal year of sport, yet still football dominates our sporting landscape and booksellers’ shelves. We’ll deal with ‘other’ sports next week, but here’s our top 5 football books of the year – available to win as one package in a fantastic pre-Christmas competition.
(5) Inside the Divide by Richard Wilson
There is one Scottish fixture which continues to proclaim its importance to outsiders – the noisy, occasionally lawless and invariably tumultuous Old Firm derby, a game which epitomises the phrase ‘intense rivalry’.
Wilson captures the Old Firm matchday mood perfectly, using the duel to examine the integral role it continues to play in working class life.
(4) Underdogs: The Unlikely Story of Football’s First FA Cup Heroes by Keith Dewhurst
In 1879, the FA Cup produced its first giant killing when a team from Darwen, Lancashire, including two Scots, Jimmy Love and Fergus Suter, played at Kennington Oval.
Love and Suter were football’s first professionals, although professionalism had been outlawed by the FA which feared that paying players would ruin the game; how prescient those fears proved.
An engaging tale, mixing social history with what could be called the roots of modern football.
(3) Red Card Roy by Roy McDonough with Bernie Friend
McDonough and Friend have produced a hugely enjoyable mix of tabloid-esque anecdotes and daring-do tales, mostly from the lower divisions, all leavened with a surprising poignancy. Throughout, the language could be considered ‘industrial’.
(2) Be Careful What You Wish For by Simon Jordan
Simon Jordan proves you should never judge a book by its cover because this is one of the very best football books you will ever read.
He is searingly honest about occasionally misjudging the likely outcome of a business venture, a feature which endears him to the reader. However, the beginning of the end for his involvement at Selhurst Park came with a missed penalty at Bristol City. Once a brewing financial crisis was added, matters unravelled much faster than Jordan expected. Compelling stuff.
(1) Got, Not Got: The A-Z of Lost Football Culture, Treasures & Pleasures
by Derek Hammond & Gary Silke
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. A purer, less cynical era is depicted throughout a book which is an absolute joy to read.
We’ve teamed up with Sports Book of the Month to offer the perfect Christmas prize – all five of our top football books of the year.
To win this week’s fantastic prize, go to their website (www.sportsbookofthemonth.com) and answer the following question:
How many senior England caps did Bobby Moore win?