Footballers ‘Write’ Other Books

These days, any half-decent footballer will eventually become an ‘author’. But I trawled the backwaters of to find some examples that might surprise you.

Tim Cahill – Pecked to Death by Ducks


‘Tim Cahill lives the life of adventure we all wanted when we were kids’, Village Voice declare on the front cover of this nature classic. From Sydney to Millwall – yes, I see their point.

Joe Allen – Retirement: A No Fluff, Step-by-Step Guide To A Life Of Financial and Emotional Freedom

A bit premature for this, isn’t it Joe? Maybe he wrote this before the Euros.


Tying the Knot: A Premarital Guide to a Strong and Lasting Marriage – Rob Green

He does like a long club stint but a safe pair of hands?


Mini Farming: Mini Farming For Beginners – Anders Svensson

‘DIY Guide to Build a Self-sustainable Backyard’ – oh that’s what he was doing at Southampton. It all makes sense now.


The Suggestion Book – edited by Duncan Ferguson

I’d hate to think what’s in there and I’m not even a referee.


Personal Statements: How to Write a UCAS Personal Statement – Paul Telfer

That explains why Gordon Strachan kept signing him.


Fight for Success – How to achieve any Goal Big or Small – Chris Sutton

SAS, then 1 in 28 games for Chelsea.


Crate Training: The Complete Dog Training Guide – Learn How to Crate Train Your Puppy In 5 Days Or Less! – Kevin Nolan

He is Big Sam’s best friend, after all.



Surprised by Laughter – Stephen Carr


He always did have a good face for it.


Cruel World – Joe Hart

Too easy. Too soon.


Striker! – Steve Bruce

Oh wait, this really is the Steve Bruce.

Steve Bruce.jpg

The Football Book Calendar – August to November 2016




Angels With Dirty Faces: The Footballing History of Argentina – Jonathan Wilson

The Roar of the Lionesses: Women’s Football in England – Carrie Dunn

Ring of Fire: Liverpool into the 21st century: The Players’ Stories – Simon Hughes

Hope – Hope Powell



A Yorkshire Tragedy: The Rise and Fall of a Sporting Powerhouse – Anthony Clavane

The Bottom Corner: A Season with the Dreamers of Non-League Football – Nige Tassell

No Nonsense: The Autobiography – Joey Barton

Fearless: The Amazing Underdog Story of Leicester City, the Greatest Miracle in Sports History – Jonathan Northcroft

Bayern: Creating a Global Superclub – Uli Hesse

The Wenger Revolution: Twenty Years of Arsenal – Amy Lawrence

The Manager – Ron Atkinson

Martial: The Making of Manchester United’s New Teenage Superstar – Luca Caioli



My Turn: The Autobiography – Johan Cruyff

Jamie Vardy: From Nowhere, My Story – Jamie Vardy

Saturday, 3pm: 50 Eternal Delights of Modern Football – Daniel Gray

Tunnel of Love – Martin Hardy

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

The Football Ramble – Marcus Speller, Luke Aaron Moore, Pete Donaldson and Jim Campbell



Pep Guardiola: The Evolution – Martí Perarnau

The Illustrated History of Football – David Squires

Hail, Claudio!: The Man, the Manager, the Miracle – Gabriele Marcotti

Home and Away: Writing the Beautiful Game –  Karl Ove Knausgaard and Fredrik Ekelund

Leicester City Books: The Lowdown

Publishers are like bloodhounds when it comes to surprise success. And it’s not really a survival of the fittest scenario, either; instead, it’s the more the merrier. At least seven books have been published, or are being published, about Leicester City’s extraordinary, title-winning season. Do we need them all? Which one is the best? I offer no answers but here’s a quick look, in chronological order, at each one:

King Power

Title: King Power: Leicester City’s Remarkable Season

Author: Supposedly King Richard III but in truth, I have no idea

Published: 16th May 2016

Publisher: Fourth Estate (literary)

Price: £9.99 hardback

Format: in humorous Olde English, Richard III, recently buried in Leicester Cathedral, tells the story of Leicester’s triumph

Length: 176 pages

Foreword: N/A

Endorsements: N/A

Verdict: An early wildcard but the response has been good. ‘A bit of fun’, one Amazon reviewer calls it.



Title: 5000-1 The Leicester City Story: How We Beat The Odds to Become Premier League Champions

Author: Rob Tanner, The Leicester Mercury’s chief football writer

Published: 18th May 2016

Publisher: Icon Books

Price: £8.99 paperback

Format: A month-by-month look at the season from a journalist who saw it all.

Length: 320 pages

Foreword: ‘Sky Sports’ Alan Smith’

Endorsements: N/A

Verdict: The early bestseller, timed to perfection like a Jamie Vardy run.

Jamie Vardy: The Boy From Nowhere – The True Story of the Genius Behind Leicester City’s 5000-1 Winning Season

Author: Frank Worrall, unofficial football biographer extraordinaire

Published: 19th May 2016

Publisher: John Blake

Price: £7.99 paperback

Format: the Jamie Vardy story, told from birth to glory

Length: 288 pages

Foreword: N/A

Endorsements: N/A

Verdict: Perfect for the impatient but if you’re looking for a little more insight, wait a little longer (see below)

The Immortals: The Story of Leicester City’s Premier League Season 2015/16

Author: King Harry Harris, author of 76 football books

Published: 25th May 2016

Publisher: G2 Entertainment (obscure)

Price: £9.99 paperback

Format: Each month of the season gets a chapter of its own and there’s a section of results and stats at the ends

Length: 260 pages

Foreword: Gordon Taylor, Chief Executive of the PFA and Richard Bevan, Chief Executive of the LMA

Endorsements: N/A

Verdict: A classic Harry Harris book – not very pretty or insightful but certainly comprehensive. A bit like Robert Huth, I guess.


Title: The Unbelievables: The Amazing Story of Leicester’s 2015/16 Season

Author: David Bevan, Leicester City season ticket holder and football journalist

Published: 30th June 2016

Publisher: deCoubertin Books

Price: £9.99 paperback

Format: match-by-match diary entries interspersed with trips into the club’s past

Length: 216 pages

Foreword: Alan Birchenall, Leicester City Club Ambassador and pre-match and half-time host. ‘Mr Leicester’ according to the internet.

Endorsements: There are quotes from Ranieri and Lineker on the back cover but I don’t feel that they refer to this book specifically.

Verdict: Told by a fan, for the fans. And the Dave Williams cover artwork is sensational.


NorthcroftTitle: Fearless: The Amazing Underdog Story of Leicester City, the Greatest Miracle in Sports History

Author: Jonathan Northcroft, the Sunday Times football correspondent

Published: 22nd September 2016

Publisher: Headline

Price: £20 hardback

Format: ‘Fearless will document Leicester’s hunt of their impossible dream. It will tell the greatest football tale of the Premier League era, in loving detail, with the inside track. Now that Leicester have gone all the way and won the title, it is the best story in world sports – for years.

Premier League champions. The side who’d been adrift at the bottom 12 months previously, who’s started the season as relegation favourites, whose manager was favourite to be the first one sacked once the campaign got underway. A League One side only seven seasons previously. A squad of £500,000 and £1m men. Leicester. Ridiculous. Miraculous. Fearless.’

Length: 352 pages

Foreword: N/A

Endorsements: N/A

Verdict: Now that the confetti has settled, this is the one that everyone is waiting for. This promises to be an engaging and insightful book by one of the best in the business.

VardyTitle: Jamie Vardy: From Nowhere, My Story

Author: Jamie Vardy, and rumour has it that there’s no ghostwriter in sight

Published: 6th October 2016

Publisher: Ebury Press

Price: £20 hardback

Format: ‘The incredible story of Jamie Vardy’s rise from non-league journeyman to Premier League Champion in his own words.’

Length: 336 pages

Foreword: N/A

Endorsements: N/A

Verdict: The Christmas market beckons. Let’s just hope it’s something like his early Twitter account.

Football autobiographies that should be translated into English

  1. Se uno nasce quadrato non muore tondo by Gennaro Ivan Gattuso (Biblioteca Univ. Rizzoli)


  1. La mia vita normale by Pavel Nedved (Add Editore)


  1. Simeone partido a partido : si se cree, se puede by Diego Pablo Simeone (Plataforma Editorial S.L.)


  1. Giocare da uomo by Javier Zanetti (Mondadori)


  1. En Kamp Til by Claus Lundekvam (Cappelen Damm)


  1. Der Wahnsinn liegt auf dem Platz by Jens Lehmann (Kiepenheuer&Witsch)


  1. Erfolg kommt von innen. by Oliver Kahn (Goldmann Verlag)


  1. Der feine Unterschied by Philipp Lahm (Droemer Knaur)


  1. Capitaine by Marcel Desailly (Stock)


  1. La parole est à la défense by William Gallas (Editions du Moment)


  1. Bleu ciel by David Trezeguet (Hugo Sport)


  1. Tout Simplement by Claude Makelele (Editions Prolongations)



New Football Titles – May 2016

With a few notable exceptions (George Rinaldi’s Calcio’s Greatest Forwards, Michael Gibbons’ When Football Came Home), the yearly football book schedule doesn’t really kick off until the darling buds of May. Here are the big titles to look out for:

1. Soccermatics by David Sumpter (Bloomsbury)

Football statistics have never been so popular and neither, perhaps, have mathematics. So Professor Sumpter’s idea is perfectly-timed; think Soccernomics but looking at the geometry of formations and the role of probability theory at the bookies. Forget Popular Science, this is Popular Maths.

Buy it here


2. Forever Young: The Story of Adrian Doherty, Football’s Lost Genius by Oliver Kay (Quercus)

We know about Ben Thornley but do we know about the Class of 92’s other unfulfilled talent? Well, we soon will. Adrian Doherty was a brilliant winger and a highly intriguing character in a world of Nicky Butts. Told by one of the UK’s best sports journalists, this promises to be a fascinating but tragic tale.

Buy it here

Forever Young

3. The Romford Pelé: It’s only Ray Parlour’s autobiography (Century)

Bend it Like a Bullard must have sold pretty well last year because here’s another cockney geezer holding court. An underrated player and a renowned joker, Parlour is nothing if not entertaining. The brilliant cover image is worth the price alone.

Buy it here


4. Rocky: The Tears and Triumphs of David Rocastle by James Leighton (Simon & Schuster)

From one Arsenal legend to another. David ‘Rocky’ Rocastle died 15 years ago at the age of just 33 after suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma. A skilful midfielder, Rocky was part of the Gunners team that won the 1989 league title in such dramatic fashion (see Fever Pitch). Leighton’s book features moving testaments from friends, family and team-mates.

Buy it here


5. Four Lions by Colin Shindler (Head of Zeus)

The 50 year anniversary of ’66 will be celebrated to death (Henry Winter, Bobby Charlton…) so it’s nice to see a book taking an interesting angle. Colin Shindler is a social and cultural historian and uses the careers of 4 England captains – Billy Wright, Bobby Moore, Gary Lineker and David Beckham – to explore post-war Britain and a half-century of change.

Buy it here

Four Lions.jpg

6. Retired by Alan Gernon (Pitch Publishing)

There are few things I enjoy more than a great ‘Where are they now?’ story. Iain Dowie is now the regional sales manager for ‘Go To Surveys’ in case you didn’t know. This book explores the many trials and tribulations of hanging up the boots.

Buy it here


7. Football by Jean-Philippe Toussaint (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

A book about football by a prize-winning writer – if Eduardo Galeano is anything to go by, what’s not to love? There’s even an essay on Zidane’s headbutt.

Buy it here


8. The Periodic Table of Football by Nick Holt (Ebury Press)

‘108 elements from the football pantheon arranged by their properties and behaviour on and off the pitch’ – a brilliant concept and a lovely gift book.

Buy it here

Periodic Table.jpg