8 Autumn Titles to Look Out For

Now that the international fun is over, it’s time to return to the club game we all know and love. Here are 8 football books to read in the coming months:

1. A Season with the Honest Men by Gerry Ferrara (Pitch Publishing, 1st Aug)

I can think of no better preparation for the new club season than a Miracle of Castel di Sangro-esque story set in the glorious surroundings of the Scottish First Division. A life-long Ayr United fan, Ferrara takes us on an incredible, behind-the-scenes journey through scandals, pranks and tantrums as his team chase that all-important promotion. Great characters guaranteed.

2. Rock n Roll Soccer: The Short Life and Fast Times of the North American Soccer League by Ian Plenderleith (Icon Books, 4th Sept)

With the MLS now well-established and on the rise, it’s easy to forget that it was only founded in 1993. Before that, there was the North American Soccer League, home to teams called the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Tulsa Roughnecks, and players called Pelé, Johann Cruyff and George Best. Rock ‘n’ Roll Soccer reveals in all its glory the colour and chaos of the world’s first truly international league’ – a must for all fans of cult sports stories.

3. Bobby Moore: The Man in Full by Matt Dickinson (Yellow Jersey Press, 11th Sept)

The only World-Cup winning England captain and a West Ham defensive legend – but what more do we really know about Sir Bobby Moore? Dickinson, The Times Chief Sports Correspondent, is a man well-placed to write this definitive biography. For the first time we get a ‘warts and all’ view of Bobby’s life both on and off the field.

4. Guardiola Confidential: The Inside Story of Pep Guardiola’s First Season at Bayern Munich by Martí Perarnau (BackPage Press, 2nd Oct)

From Andrea Pirlo to Graham Hunter, Glasgow-based publishers BackPage Press are building a great reputation and a brilliant football list. Their latest book, by Spanish football expert Martí Perarnau, looks at Guardiola’s high-profile return to management at Bayern Munich last season. If their other books are anything to go by, this will be packed full of excellent detail, analysis and insight.

5.#2Sides: My Autobiography by Rio Ferdinand (Blink Publishing, 2nd Oct)

This isn’t the first book that Rio has written but it looks likely to be the most outspoken and interesting. John Terry, Roy Hodgson and David Moyes will be just a few of the topics that the former Manchester United defender offers his opinion on. Plus if you needed any further persuasion, the brilliant David Winner is collaborating on the project.

Cover - #2sides Rio Ferdinand high res

6. The Second Half by Roy Keane and Roddy Doyle (Orion, 9th Oct)

What a fascinating prospect this is – one of football’s fieriest characters working alongside one of fiction’s funniest writers. According to the blurb, this book ‘blends anecdote and reflection in Roy Keane’s inimitable voice. The result is an unforgettable personal odyssey which fearlessly challenges the meaning of success.’ Something tells me Sir Alex won’t be the only person threatening legal action once this publishes.

7. My Autobiography by Luis Suarez (Headline, 9th Oct)

Fear not football fans – despite the Uruguayan’s big-money move to Barcelona, this explosive book will still be published this autumn. The Diving, the goals, the biting, the accolades, the racism – all will be covered in this candid account of the amazing highs and lows of Luis Suarez. ‘El Pistolero’ in his own words – not to be missed.

8. Ossie: My Autobiography by Leon Osman (Trinity Mirror Sports, 10th Oct)

From one side of Liverpool to the other, and from a man of controversy to a man of understatement. Now 33, Osman has played nearly 400 games for Everton and remains a pivotal figure in their ball-playing midfield. The first name on the team-sheet during David Moyes’ tenure, ‘Ossie’ also has 2 England caps and hopefully lots of stories to share with us.

8 Football Books to look out for in 2014

March

Sol Campbell: The Authorised Biography by Simon Astaire (Spellbinding Media)
This first ever authorised portrait of the Tottenham, Arsenal and England legend should be fascinating. Racism, homophobia, the Judas switch across North London, the Notts County debacle – it’s a story that has it all. Despite his high-profile career, Sol remains a quiet, sensitive enigma – I’m hoping for a Philippe Auclair-style character study.

The Game of Our Lives: How Football Made Britain Great by David Goldblatt (Penguin)
Goldblatt follows up his mammoth global history, The Ball is Round, with a more pared-down look at his homeland over the last two decades. The spectacular rise of the Premier League is explained within the social context of post-Thatcherite Britain – Penguin call it ‘a must-read for the thinking football fan’.

April

Andrea Pirlo: The Autobiography (BackPage Press)
Originally published in Italian last year as Penso Quindi Gioco (I Think, Therefore I Play), the Italian maestro’s story is about to reach a worldwide audience. ‘The Architect’ has won it all: 2 Champions League medals, 4 Scudetto titles, a Coppa Italia and a World Cup. He’s the ultimate creative thinker on the pitch and, if the snippets that BackPage have released in their brilliant #PirloThursday tweets are anything to go by, he’s no different off it.

Danish Dynamite: The Story of Football’s Greatest Cult Team by Rob Smyth, Lars Eriksen and Mike Gibbons (Bloomsbury)
Before the Euro 1992 winners, there was ‘Danish Dynamite’, the hip, Hummel-clad, Michael Laudrup-led side who rose from international obscurity to become everyone’s second favourite team thanks to their exciting performances at Euro 1984 and World Cup 1986. Told for the first time, this story should be just as much of a surprise hit.

May

Bend it like Bullard (Headline)
From a cult team to a cult player. Soccer AM-favourite Jimmy Bullard is a cockney geezer with a smile on his face and stories to tell. At 20, he swapped painting and decorating for professional football, working his way up to the Premier League with surprise package Wigan Athletic, before spells at Fulham and Hull. All-action and larger-than-life, Bullard is guaranteed entertainment. I wonder if Nick Barmby gets a mention?

Thirty-One Nil: The Amazing Story of World Cup Qualification by James Montague (Bloomsbury)
James ‘The Indiana Jones of soccer writing’ Montague received widespread acclaim for When Friday Comes, his 2009 book on football in the Middle East during the Arab Spring (When Friday Comes). Since then, he’s been travelling the globe, following the (mis)fortunes of international minnows attempting to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. A funny and insightful exploration of a whole lot more than sport.

August

In Search of Duncan Ferguson: The Life and Crimes of a Footballing Enigma by Alan Pattullo (Mainstream)
This first ever biography of one of British football’s fiercest competitors should be an absolute treat. To date, Ferguson’s footballing legacy is unequivocally negative; the most red cards in Premier League history and the first professional footballer jailed for an offence committed on the pitch. And yet, ‘Big Dunc’ is also still the Premier League’s highest ever scoring Scot, a classic target man who combined aerial prowess with genuine skill. A talent deserving of examination, then.

Autumn

Roy Keane with Roddy Doyle (Orion)
I’m not sure publishing has ever seen anything quite like it; a bitterly controversial footballing icon teaming up with a Booker Prize-winning novelist. The second instalment of Keane’s autobiography, provisionally titled ‘The Second Half’, promises to be every bit as fascinating as the first. Said to blend ‘memoir and motivational writing’, it’s sure to include a response to Sir Alex’s recent comments.