There have been many books written about football, and many, it’s fair to say, that shouldn’t have been! However, there are some football books that fall into the ‘must read’ category, and these 10 books are among them.
10. The Beckham Experiment by Grant Wahl
This book by Grant Wahl is a mix of interviews with David Beckham after he had joined LA Galaxy, and of the views of Beckham’s team-mates about the world famous star. It’s an interesting look behind the scenes at a football club – and on what happens when a much bigger name than the existing players arrives.
9. Alex Ferguson My Autobiography
Proof that Cristiano Ronaldo is some talent is underlined in this vivid autobiography by the former Aberdeen and Manchester United boss. Ronaldo gets off lightly compared to some of the other players Ferguson managed, but Fergie does admit to some of his mistakes. He also isn’t as hard on rival teams as some sections of the media would have led us to believe either. The book gives us an interesting insight into one of the most successful, and fiery, managers in the history of British football.
8. All Played Out: The full story of Italia 90 by Pete Davies
England’s most successful World Cup overseas is documented by Davies, whose luck it was that he had access to a team that not only succeeded beyond expectations, but had characters such as Paul Gascoigne in it. It didn’t end well for either Gazza or England, but this book should still rekindle fond memories for England football fans.
7. The Second Half by Roy Keane, Roddy Doyle
Roy Keane doesn’t really do sycophancy, so any book by the former Manchester United, Celtic and Republic of Ireland legend was only ever likely to be entertaining. It doesn’t disappoint, and Roddy Doyle’s influence couldn’t have harmed things. Though Keane shows his sharp side in the book, he also shows that he can be kind – and that he is also not so big that he can’t laugh at himself.
6. The Football Man by Arthur Hopcraft
Published in the late 1960s, The Football Man looks at the way that, even then, football was quickly changing. It’s a book that is pretty comprehensive when it comes to all things football, and it also tries to understand how football became such an important part of people’s lives in the 20th Century.
5. Brilliant Orange by David Winner
David Winner engagingly takes us into the world of Dutch football, and reminds us how Total Football was on every football fans lips in the 1970s. Intriguingly, Winner writes that such a revolutionary style of football coming out of the Netherlands shouldn’t be a surprise, as the Dutch have learnt to innovate because of land constraints.
4. Only a Game, The Diary of a Professional Footballer by Eamon Dunphy
Just like his compatriot Roy Keane, former footballer Eamon Dunphy has always been a straight-talker. First published in 1976, Dunphy’s groundbreaking book reveals that the beautiful game isn’t always so beautiful. Very funny in parts, too, including the story of the substitute who is angry when his own team scores – as it means that he won’t be ending up in the thick of the action!
3. Inventing The Pyramid by Jonathan Wilson
A book for the football fan who’s more of a thinker about the game. Inventing The Pyramid covers some of football’s greatest players and innovators, while the author also looks at the conservative thinking often associated with English football.
2. The Ball Is Round: A Global History Of Soccer by David Goldblatt
An acclaimed book that’s about the rise of football around the world. Goldblatt also looks at football’s impact on societies at both a social and political level. But, it is a book that really salutes the beautiful game.
1. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
Made into a movie that starred Colin Firth, Fever Pitch revolves around an Arsenal fan as he’s growing up, namely the author. It’s a book that will strike a chord with all football fans, and establishes how deeply football can get under one’s skin – regardless of social background.