Flying Over An Olive Grove by Clive Nicholson, Ralph Nicholson and Mark Metcalf

Flying Over An Olive Grove is the first great working-class football story. Born at a unique moment in the history of the beautiful game, Fred Spiksley was amongst a new wave of teenagers who from 1885 onwards could aspire to be a professional footballer and dodge the inevitability of industrial labour. He became the first player to score a hat-trick against Scotland and in 1896 he guided Sheffield Wednesday to FA Cup glory with 4 goals and 8 assists during the cup run. His first goal in the final is considered by some to be the fastest ever goal in FA Cup final history.

At his peak he was the fastest winger in England and possessed total ball control. He was a player with such ability that he was able to take his club and country to the pinnacle of football during an era where his slender frame did not suit the rough treatment that was often meted out to him. With Fred Spiksley on the field no match was ever lost.  Even with two broken ribs, he had the pluck and tenacity to remain on the field and score the winning goal in an epic FA Cup tie at Olive Grove, the ground where he made his name; ‘the Olive Grove Flyer’. He scored over 300 career goals and won every major honour in the game, and holds the record for the highest goals-to-game ratio of any winger in the history of English football. His fame extended around the World as he became the first professional footballer to coach across three continents. In Europe he managed the Swedish national team and guided 1FC Nuremberg to the German Championship in 1927.

Football presented Fred Spiksley, a small lad from the backstreets of Lincolnshire, with a lifetime of adventure. He would be chased along the touchline by the future Queen of England, share the stage with Charlie Chaplin and in 1914 escape from a German prison. An addicted gambler and self confessed womaniser, Fred Spiksley’s character meant that he was not always the hero off the pitch that he was on it. Flying Over An Olive Grove brings Fred Spiksley’s remarkable but long forgotten story to a new audience and contains a superb collection of images, including the earliest known photograph of an international goal being scored.


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

Written by legendary soccer writer Harry Harris, with 76 best-selling books to his name, the fairy tale account of how the team rose from the very bottom of the league to triumph against all odds will be a must-read for all Foxes fans as well as millions of neutral supporters who adopted Leicester as their favourite team during the dramatic end of season run-in.

Under the calm wise managership of Claudio Ranieri, the East Midlands club stunned football supporters by winning the toughest league in the world despite not having a recognised superstar in the team.

With massive team spirit and a never-say-die attitude, the team kept Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester city at bay and went from 5000-1 outsiders to secure their first ever Premier League trophy in their 132-year history.

In the process, players such as Jamie Vardy – who scored 13 consecutive goals over 11 consecutive games from August to November breaking Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s Premier League record of scoring in ten consecutive games – became a household name and also part of the England squad for upcoming European Championships.

Other journeyman players who starred included midfielder Riyad Mahrez, winner of the PFA Player of the Year Award; N’Golo Kante, a dynamic midfield terrier and arguably the team’s beat player over the course of the season; and Kasper Schmeichel, whose dependable displays have brought him out of the shadow of his famous father and Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel.

The club’s most famous home-grown player, Gary Lineker, who played at the very top level with Spurs, Everton, Barcelona and England, said the team will become “immortal” if they won the Premier League and has promised to present Match of the Day in his underpants following their historic achievement.


Golden Daze by Nick Corble

One May afternoon in 1984, a football team from unfashionable Watford stepped out onto the manicured turf of the old Wembley stadium wearing incredibly tight shorts and the occasional ridiculous haircut. It was to be their first, and to date only, appearance in an FA Cup Final.

As they took to the field they seemed to symbolise changing times, times in which anything could happen. Was the country going to the dogs, or the Isle of Dogs? Just as Scargill was taking on Thatcher, Watford, the new kids on the block, were taking on the football establishment.

But this isn’t a book about politics. It isn’t even about football, or one particular football club. It’s a light-hearted look at a time we all live through, seen via the eyes of a young man on the brink of adulthood and through the twin lenses of his passion for, and need to identify with, his club, and the tumultuous changes taking place in the pre-internet, some would say, more interesting period of the mid-1980s.

Armed only with idealism and an average degree, Colin Westlake emerges from the safe confines of university into an unfamiliar world of yuppies, Captain Sensible and mass unemployment. He’s on his own in a world inhabited by work, women and wiles that seem determined to poke fun at him, forcing him to take sanctuary in the familiar rhythm of the football season. What he doesn’t know, cannot know, is that this is the sort of season that only comes along once in a generation, and it’s ramifications will end up defining both him and his future.

A coming of age tale, Golden Daze will strike a chord with anyone who’s ever floundered in a confusing world, or followed the sort of football team for whom glory is usually something that only ever happens to someone else.

Sex, politics, football – what could possibly go wrong?


The Tartan Special One by Barry Phillips

Lloyd George dreams of playing for his beloved Manchester United and lapping up the adulation of millions of fans across the globe. So when Dundee FC chairman Bob McCracken, a man of vision, ambition and moderately priced suits, offers Lloyd the chance to play his part in restoring the once-proud club to its rightful place in Scottish football, the shy 17-year-old sees it as a stepping stone to bigger things.

Instead he finds himself drawn into a battle for football’s very soul waged by Jocky, the team’s moustachioed, mononymous and megaphone-wielding manager, and seeking solace between the thighs of Dundee’s first female binman.

The Tartan Special One, asks the big important questions and a load of wee sh*tey ones as well.


Ahead of the Game: Brentford FC’s 2014/15 Season by Greville Waterman

In May 2014, Brentford FC were promoted to the Football League Championship. It was only their second season at such a level, in sixty years, and many asked how the newcomers would cope against the so-called massive clubs Norwich City, Blackburn Rovers, Cardiff City and Leeds United. Would they survive? Would they thrive? Or, as many expected, would they fall short and crash back to Division One at the first time of asking?

The 2014/15 season answered these questions in emphatic style with Little Old Brentford – the perennial underachievers – displaying a vibrant brand of positive, attacking football that took the Division by storm and rocketed the Bees into the playoff places. Under the visionary ownership of Matthew Benham and the ultimate man-manager, Mark Warburton, the club had created a new and different way of doing things that piqued the interest of the Football World. Rather than look downwards, the disbelieving but delirious Brentford supporters began to harbour dreams of reaching the Promised Land of the Premier League.

In Ahead Of The Game, long-established supporter and blogger, Greville Waterman, puts together selected articles from his blog, alongside new content, to detail Brentford’s journey. He offers a fascinating and incredible inside story of how this unfancied team defied expectations, overcame the unforeseen break-up of the successful partnership between Benham and Warburton, did the double over Fulham, and came within a whisker of promotion.

This book includes guest contributions from Cliff Crown, Richard Lee, Billy Reeves and Jim Levack. Whatever the future holds, it is clear that The Bees are truly Ahead Of The Game and the best is yet to come!


Growing Pains: Brentford FC’s 2015/16 Season by Greville Waterman

The 2014/15 season saw newly-promoted Brentford FC reach the Championship playoffs and come within a whisker of the Premier League. However, it was also a season that ended in controversy with highly successful Manager Mark Warburton leaving the club and the club’s management structure being remodelled to mix traditional scouting tools with mathematical models and statistics.

Brentford were subjected to a stream of scorn and criticism from a football world which did not understand what was happening at the club. Everyone outside the club waited for Brentford to fall flat on their face.

What would happen over the 2015/16 season? Would the Bees maintain their progress and success, would they fall into mediocrity, or would they return to Division One? The answer was a rollercoaster season with initial lows, an impressive recovery, more lows and – finally – a highly impressive spurt which saw them finish in a creditable ninth place in the Championship. A remarkable outcome to a year in the toughest and most remorseless football league in Europe, and one where the Bees regularly came up against teams that dwarfed them in terms of tradition, income and resources.

In Growing Pains, long-established supporter, blogger and author Greville Waterman continues the tale begun in Ahead Of The Game. Mixing articles from his acclaimed blog, BFC Talk, with extensive new content, Greville offers an insightful, entertaining and fascinating journey into Brentford’s year.

Incorporating the tale of three Head Coaches, never-ending injuries, the embarrassment of Pitchgate, selling star players due to Financial Fair Play, and becoming the top-ranked London club outside the Premier League, this book is essential reading for all Brentford fans. It includes guest contributions from insiders and experts such as Matthew Benham, Cliff Crown, Phil Giles, Phil Parry, Billy Reeves, Tom Moore and Jim Levack.

The 2015/16 season might well have seen some Growing Pains, but the future for the club is bright and exciting.


Diego Costa: The Beast by Chris Davies

Take a look into the rich history of English football and the grand old name of Chelsea Football Club will inevitably enjoy more than a passing mention. And after a frustrating season which saw the club finish tantalisingly close to winning the Premier League title, the summer of 2014 witnessed the arrival of a new star in West London.

Fresh from an outstanding season in Spain, where his thirty-six goals had propelled Atletico Madrid to a first La Liga title since 1996 and to within seconds of a maiden Champions League crown, Diego Costa arrived at Stamford Bridge for £32million.

Brazilian by birth, Costa had caused an enormous wave of controversy in his homeland after opting to take Spanish citizenship and a subsequent place in Spain’s squad over the opportunity to represent the Selecao in a home World Cup in 2014.

An early exit for Spain ensued but, undeterred, Costa arrived in the English capital tasked by manager Jose Mourinho with scoring the goals that had eluded many of his predecessors the previous season. And with a Premier League record of seven goals in his first four starts he took to the physical nature of England’s top division with typical aplomb.

Costa began his nomadic rise to the top via the lower echelons of Portuguese and Spanish football, before establishing himself as a force under Diego Simeone’s rejuvenated Atleti.

Affectionately nicknamed ‘El Cholo’, ‘the Beast’, his pace, power, aggression and deadly finishing have swiftly seen him become a crowd favourite at ‘the Bridge’. Diego Costa: ‘The Beast’ is an in-depth look into the life of this spectacular footballer and his rise to the very top.


The Bundesliga Blueprint: How Germany became the Home of Football by Lee Price

German Football is on a roll: winners of the 2014 World Cup, club sides leading the way in Europe, a production line of superb talent coming through the system. Yet, fifteen years ago – at Euro 2000 – it was all so different. Germany suffered one of their most humiliating tournament exits as dismal performances saw them finish bottom of their group with just one point… Immediately, the German FA set about fixing things. And rather than fudging matters, they introduced a raft of major changes designed to return German football to its sporting pinnacle in just 10 years.

In this entertaining, fascinating, and superbly-researched book, sportswriter Lee Price explores German football’s 10-year plan. A plan that forced clubs to invest in youth, limit the number of foreign players in teams, build success without debt, and much more. The Bundesliga Blueprint details how German fans part-own and shape their clubs, how football is affordable, and the value of beer and a good sausage on match days. The book includes interviews from Michael Ballack, Jens Nowotny and Christoph Kramer, and the movers-and-shakers behind Germany’s leading clubs including Schalke, Dortmund, and Paderborn. There is no doubt that German football is the envy of many nations. There is no doubt that, thanks to them, lessons should be learned by everyone else.


George Best Fifty Defining Fixtures by Iain McCartney

Few, if any, who have pulled on the red jersey of Manchester United can have made a greater impact to the club’s glorious history than the boy from the Cregagh estate in East Belfast.

Best brought joy and tears – often in equal measures during the final days of his Old Trafford career – to those who sang his praises from the sprawling terraces, or who worshipped from afar. His talents were numerous, blessed with a brilliance that left defenders a quivering wreck and the crowds who flocked to see him singing his name in unison. He was the epitome of the ‘swinging sixties’ both on and off the pitch. A player who could do things with a ball that most could only dream of. A player whose moments of individual brilliance helped Manchester United to glory time and time again.

There have been many books on the ‘Belfast Boy’ – too many some might say – but while telling the story of the player who many believe to have been the ‘best ever’, they have merely skirted round many of the games when he laced up his boots, pulled on the jersey, and went out and caused havoc in opposition defences. He brought delight to the thousands who stood in awe.

Here, however, within the pages of this volume, those games come to life; his bewitching skills come under the microscope as Iain McCartney selects fifty defining fixtures from the career of the footballing legend that was George Best.


Soccer in the Weeds by Daniel Lilie

It was 1973 and while the world outside of Fairfield County, Connecticut, seemed determined to fall apart, young Daniel Lilie had bigger worries: High School.

Academically ill-prepared by the parochial schools he’d previously attended, young Daniel’s adolescence was bedevilled by girls (“they could have put firecrackers under my fingernails as long as they flirted with me “), bad grades (“My mother took my first semester grades like a personal indictment of her parenting skills”), and possibly even bad hair (“I wore my hair ‘Jewfro,’ loopy ringlets reaching towards the sky.

I would say that overall, I probably looked like a composite of Starsky, Ron Jeremy, and Art Garfunkel, which for the time might actually have been OK”). But unlike most young men coming of age in the American suburbs in the mid-1970s, Daniel’s imagination was consumed by a subject unique at that time: soccer.

First introduced to the sport by his father one Saturday in the park, Daniel fell in love. “My dad got the ball out of the trunk of the VW, and we kicked it around. And that was it. I was hooked. Hooked at the wrong time and the wrong place by the wrong sport.”

Daniel Lilie’s SOCCER IN THE WEEDS: BAD HAIR, JEWS, AND CHASING THE BEAUTIFUL GAME is many things: a coming of age story, an often hilarious memoir of a young man making his way in the rough and tumble world of commercial real estate in New York, and an acute analysis of the social and racial mores of suburban Connecticut in the 1970s. But SOCCER IN THE WEEDS is also a love story: how a boy found soccer, what it meant to him, and how and why, throughout his life, he chased after the beautiful game.


Bendelow and Kidd’s Dictionary of Football by Ian Bendelow and Jamie Kidd

Over time, the language of football has developed into something quite unrecognisable, a melting pot of hyperbole, idioms and exaggeration. Many of football’s terms would be seen as bizarre in any other walk of life; a doctor would never diagnose a patient with having the dreaded metatarsal, and only commentators seem to feel the need to tell us who was at number one the last time a team won at a certain ground.

Join Bendelow and Kidd as they produce a barnstorming run through some of the best-loved (depending on how you look at it) phrases and sayings which come out of the mouths of players, managers, pundits, journalists and of course, you, the fans.

From trigger happy chairmen to the want-away striker, football offers us a unique language which can be amusing, and at other times simply infuriating. That’s right, the lads really did give it 110% out there today, as they silenced the boo boys, in the relegation six-pointer.


Another Bloody Saturday by Mat Guy

Why do people head out on windswept Saturday afternoons and wet Wednesday evenings watch lower and non-league teams play when they could watch Premier League football from the comfort of their living rooms?

Does an international match between two countries that technically don’t exist have any meaning?

Why do some people go to so much trouble volunteering to support clubs which run on a shoestring budget and are lucky to get even a glimpse of the limelight?

This is a book celebrating all that is great with the game of football, as seen through the eyes of clubs and fans rarely bothered by satellite television cameras and the riches of the elite game, a vibrant world of humour, warmth and friendship worth far more than all the wealth of the Premier League.

Over the course of a season, Mat Guy set out to explore the less glamorous side of the beautiful game, travelling the backwaters of football across the length and breadth of the country – and beyond. He watched Bangor as they were cheerfully thrashed by Reykjavik’s UMF Stjarnan, was absolutely won over by the women’s game, and found a new team to love in Accrington Stanley.

From Glasgow to Northern Cyprus, Bhutan to the Faroe Islands, Mat discovered the same hope, sense of community, and love of the game that first led him to a life in the stands at Salisbury FC’s Victoria Park, where his own passion for football was formed.


We are Hibernian: The Fans’ Story by Andy MacVannan

By delving into the lives and backgrounds of an entire network of avid supporters, We are Hibernian explores how people become so involved in football, and is it the binding of tradition, memories and experiences off the pitch that make them believe their first choice was the right one.

There are stories here from men and women who were taken to the football grounds as youngsters and now take their own kids, showing how the religion that is football can be passed down from one generation to the next, providing entertainment and family folklore for years to come.

Essentially this book is not just about football, but about the stories that surround it!


Tracking the Hooligans: The History of Football Violence on the UK Rail Network by Michael Layton and Alan Pacey

“On an average Saturday, some thirty trains carried police escorts of between two and eight officers. Officers sometimes reached the destination with their uniforms soiled with spittle, and other filth, burnt with cigarette ends, or slashed.”

Charting the history of violent acts committed by football hooligans on the British rail network and London Underground, numerous retired police officers offer a frightening, and often humorous, insight into how they battled ‘the English disease’.

Recalling incidents of random, mindless violence, as well as organised acts carried out by some of the country’s top hooligan firms, the author’s document the times where nothing but a truncheon and the power of speech stood between order and chaos.

Exploring a period of fifty years, retired officers Michael Layton and Alan Pacey pay particular attention to the turbulent and dangerous times faced by the police in the 1970s and 1980s, when hooliganism in the United Kingdom was at its peak, as well as exploring more recent instances of disorder.

Tracking the Hooligans is an essential account of the uglier side of the beautiful game, and a fitting tribute to those who gave their time, and sometimes their lives, keeping the public safe.


John Lyall: A Life in Football by Dr. Phil Stevens

Legendary West Ham manager John Lyall, who sadly died in 2006, is remembered with affection as one of the all-time great football managers by former colleagues and football fans alike.

Lyall was widely regarded as man of great integrity and is credited with laying down the foundations of the footballing beliefs and values of today’s West Ham United.

This new in-depth biography documents Lyall’s football career from West Ham ground staff boy in 1955, through his playing debut, injury, and eventual steps into coaching and management under the watchful eye of Ron Greenwood.

A much-loved and respected figure at Upton Park, Lyall had a lasting influence on the club’s development and the team’s style of play and during his time in charge, West Ham twice won the FA Cup.

Later, when Lyall took over at Ipswich Town, he led the club to promotion to the inaugural Premier League in 1991/92.

John Lyall: A Life in Football, pays tribute to one of the most influential footballer managers of recent years and is a lasting legacy to a true gentleman and champion of the beautiful game.


A Man for All Seasons: Brian Owen’s Six-Decade Football Odyssey by Brian Owen and Rob Hadgraft

In these days of highly-paid football celebrities, Brian Owen isn’t a household name, yet over the course of the last six decades he has become the only man to have held four different positions- player, coach, scout and physiotherapist – in all four divisions of the English Football League.

This fascinating autobiography documents the fifty-five year career of a man whose face is well known at several professional clubs, and details Owen’s journey from promising young player to backroom legend.

Owen’s infectious wit and wisdom means he has an unmatched store of anecdotes. He has seen it all, from the gritty surroundings of the lower divisions to the glamour of travelling with the senior England squad.

After recording a lifetime of memories, Owen teams up with sportswriter Rob Hadgraft to tell his story in A Man for All Seasons. Containing fitting forewords by David Pleat and Phil Parkinson, this book pays tribute to one of the most popular, funniest and down-to-earth professionals ever to be involved with the beautiful game and is a must-read for football fans everywhere.


Sir Walter Winterbottom: The Father of Modern English Football by Graham Morse

Sir Walter Winterbottom was arguably the most influential man in modern English football. He is known as the first England team manager, but more than that he was an innovator of modern coaching, sports administrator and a man ahead of his time; a man who had a profound effect on English football and who laid the foundations for England’s success in 1966.

Walter managed them all, from Lawton to Charlton, and inspired many to become coaches: Ron Greenwood, Bill Nicholson, Jimmy Hill and Bobby Robson were amongst his disciples and took his gospel to the clubs they managed.

Born in 1913, Winterbottom started out as a teacher and physical education instructor, playing amateur football in his spare time. He was soon signed up by Manchester United, playing his first game 1936 and winning promotion to the First Division in 1938. A spinal ailment curtailed his career, but during World War II he served as an officer in the Royal Air Force before the FA appointed him as national director of coaching and England team manager in 1946.

He remains the only manager to have taken the national side to more than two World Cup finals and was created an OBE in 1963 and a CBE in 1972 before being knighted in 1978.

Walter died in 2002 but his legacy continues to inspire many in football today, especially with the opening of the new St George’s Park football academy.

With interviews and insight from top football names, this book – written by Winterbottom’s son-in-law – also draws on personal diaries, photographs and letters. However, this is more than just a biography of one man – it’s the story of how modern football came about.


The Busby Babes by Richard Skinner

The Busby Babes is a tale of spirit, courage and the eternal bonds of friendship. It is about a group of men whose passion for football led them to unparalleled success and unprecedented glory. But it also cost many of them their lives.

Matt Busby, the patriarchal Manager of Manchester United, revolutionised English football by bending the rules and pushing the limits. At Manchester United, he created a team of boy wonders, the Busby Babes, a group of players who became the game’s first superstars, heroes to millions of people. But, just as they were on the verge of world acclaim, disaster struck…

Richard Skinner’s authoritative account tells the story of their astonishing achievements to a new generation of adoring football fans. Researched extensively and exhaustively, the book reconstructs in detail the drama of their journey from schoolboys to junior team players, from becoming League Champions to their glorious efforts in Europe. Supported by Harry Gregg and Albert Scanlon’s moving testimony, the book provides a more complete picture of the Busby Babes than ever before.

This is their definitive story.


Calcio’s Greatest Forwards by George Rinaldi

With insight from some of the finest Italian football broadcast and newspaper journalists, including a foreword from iconic Italian football writer Gabriele Marcotti, Calcio’s Greatest Forwards devotes a chapter to each of the 21 best strikers to have graced L’Italia since 1929, delving deep into the back stories of Serie A’s finest attackers.

From Gigi Riva’s historic Scudetto with Cagliari; to Roberto Boninsegna and an infamous incident involving a Coca-Cola can; through to the modern era, and the Divine Ponytail Roberto Baggio, Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti. There’s some cracking insight and stories on the 21 subjects, such as why Pippo Inzaghi favoured a cured beef diet, Giuseppe Meazza’s off-field antics when awakening the night before a crunch league match in someone else’s bed and just why Christian Vieri had a love for cricket.

George Rinaldi explores the fine careers of these footballers and examines, admires and scrutinises the finest strikers in Serie A history.


joseJose: Farewell to the King by Harry Harris

I stay until they want me not to stay. No club moves me from Chelsea until Chelsea wants me to move because I want to be where I am loved – Jose Mourinho, January 2014.

Yet in December 2015, the love affair came to an incredible and stunning end. This book chronicles the entire remarkable story of Jose Mourinho and Chelsea, with a critical insight into how and why it ended so dramatically.

Confrontational, passionate, full of chutzpah. Mourinho is a masterful tactician, and surely the best boss in the history of Chelsea. Yet for a second time the Emperor of the Bridge, Roman Abramovich, cast him aside. The reason? Having won the Premier League, the team’s defence of the title proved to be one of the most bizarre periods in the club’s history.

In his first stint at Stamford Bridge the self-styled ‘Special One’ won two League titles back-to-back, the FA Cup and two League Cups, and included a still-unsurpassed Premier League points-tally record of 95 in the 2004-5 season. On returning ‘home’ after a six-year absence, Mourinho receiving a welcome by an army of Chelsea fans who love him every bit as much as they used to. He rewarded their faith in some fashion, sweeping aside newly rich Manchester City to soar to a third League title (with three games to spare), as well as a third League Cup.

Then came the biggest collapse of any defending title-holder. Why did it happen? Who was to blame? Was there a players’ rebellion? Who panicked behind the scenes, and why? How much was the row with the first-team doctor, Eva Carneiro, at the heart of Mourinho’s second sacking from Chelsea?

The answers lie in this fully revised, updated and expanded edition of Harry Harris’s biography. It brings Mourinho’s story right up to date, showing exactly why English football would be infinitely poorer without the colourful, commanding, and controversial presence of the ‘Special One’.


When Football Came Home: England, the English and Euro 96 by Michael Gibbons

When Football Came Home is the story of the 1996 European Championship played out in England, the centrepiece of a momentous and unforgettable summer, Britain’s second summer of love.

In the space of a month the England team went from staggering out of a Hong Kong nightclub in disgrace to within a stud’s width of reaching the final at Wembley.

It was a summer that nobody really wanted to end – and certainly not as it did, losing against Germany on penalties. With a spirit of togetherness, Terry Venables and his players captured the hearts of the nation in a way not seen since Italia 90 – but Euro 96 had an extra edge.

Played on home soil, it took place at an extraordinary time in British history. New Labour were poised to end a generation of Tory rule and Cool Britannia was on the rise, as a comatose culture had been revived and Britpop provided the soundtrack to it all.

That communal spirit of June 1996 is recaptured in these pages. It wasn’t all euphoria – during that month there were riots on the streets of the UK, accusations of spying, race rows and even a terrorist attack during the tournament.

Every single aspect is brought back to life for the first time here – the fraught and often controversial build-up, the tournament in full and the lasting impact it had on English football and the nation.


Alan Shearer: Fifty Defining Fixtures by Tony Matthews

Alan Shearer OBE (born 13 August 1970) is an English footballer whose prowess saw him score a hat-trick in his professional debut in 1988 while playing for Southampton.

Leaving Southampton in 1992, Shearer went on to play as a striker for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United, where he stayed until the end of his career in 2006.

Widely regarded as one of the world’s best strikers, his goal scoring talent saw him become both Newcastle’s and the Premier League’s top goal scorer in the 1995/96 season.

During his career as a player, he captained England in 1996 and Newcastle from 1999 and scored a massive 283 league goals, of which 260 were in the Premier League, and a record eleven Premier League hat-tricks.

Named Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year in 1994 and the PFA Player of the Year in 1995, Shearer is one of the greatest footballers England has produced.

In Alan Shearer: Fifty Defining Fixtures, Tony Matthews outlines why Alan Shearer deserves to be recognised as a legend of the beautiful game.


Dunne it the Hard Way: The Remarkable Story of a Millwall legend by Alan Dunne and Chris Davies

Born in Dublin but raised in London, Alan Dunne spent nearly a quarter of a century with what became his home-town club of Millwall – and after almost 400 senior games left as a legend.

Joining the youth set-up at the age of eight, he rose through the ranks to eventually become a player who epitomised the club, as his wholehearted approach resonated with the fans at the Den.

Dunne It the Hard Way is a frank and honest insight into his life with the Lions, from making the worst of first impressions on a manager, to the heartbreak of being told he was no longer wanted in 2015, and plenty of highs and lows in between – including a broken promise ahead of Millwall’s only ever appearance in the FA Cup Final.

He also explains why his dad told him to leave home to save his career; why he was left to pay a team-mate’s dental bills; how he was caught posing with a naked model holding a plate of toast; how the penny finally dropped, before it was too late; how he turned around a career which almost hit the skids to become such a firm favourite of the crowd that he was nearly immortalised in statue form; and he tells the story behind each of his record number of red cards!


The Sixties Revisited by Jimmy Greaves

The Sixties can justifiably claim to be the golden age of British football.

England won the World Cup; Celtic Spurs and Manchester United became trailblazers in Europe and footballers became folk heroes – Denis Law, Bobby Charlton, Rodney Marsh, bobby Moore, George Best.

At the start of the decade the most a player could earn was £20 a week; by the end the £500 a week footballer had arrived.

Jimmy Greaves was himself one of the great heroes of the decade and provides a uniquely personal view of the events in which he was involved, including the fun days with Chelsea, his disastrous move to AC Milan, the disappointment of being left out of the World Cup Final and the elation of being part of the first British club to win a European competition.


The Sum of the Parts by Jon Keen

Ten years ago was a special time for Reading Football Club, a provincial team with a long but largely undistinguished history. Suddenly, all the pieces of the football jigsaw clicked into place to create what was virtually a perfect team – a team that won the Football League Championship in great style, amassing a record-breaking total of 106 points in the process. The next season, their first ever in the Premier League, they confounded pundits and opponents alike by finishing eighth and narrowly missing out on European qualification.

For everyone associated with Reading Football Club, this was a time of wonder and excitement, a time when every match seemed to bring ever greater highs and exceed all previous expectations. But it was short-lived, and the following season they were relegated back to the Championship.

Just what happened in this brief period to transform a group of relatively unknown players into such a perfect team?

Most were either at the start of their careers or coming to the end of largely unremarkable ones, so how did they all come to have the best years of their careers at precisely the same time? What was the particular combination of factors that came together simultaneously to make this team so good and so successful.

The Sum of the Parts is not just an account of what happened over those three incredible years. It’s also an in-depth analysis of how and why it happened – from the very start of the process of putting this team together to their decline when all those factors were no longer present.

This isn’t just a book for Reading supporters who want to celebrate such an incredible time in their club’s history. It’s a book showing how one relatively minor team achieved unheard of success in professional sport, and a book for anyone interested in how football works or in discovering exactly what the ingredients are which go together to make a team so much more than just a collection of players one greater than the sum of its parts.


Gus Honeybun, your boys took one hell of a beating – A love affair in the lower leagues by Simon Carter

Gus Honeybun, Your Boys Took One Hell of a Beating, tells the story of a lifetime aboard the emotional roller-coaster of inconsistency which is Exeter City – one of English football’s most unfashionable and unsuccessful clubs.

Like many football fans, author Simon Carter’s football supporting life is a long way from the glitz and glamour of the Premier League; instead its high points are memorable trips to Halifax, Crewe, Carlisle and Maidstone.

With the self-deprecation you’d expect from an Exeter City fan, on his travels with the Grecians he meets Brad Pitt and Freddie Starr; writes about Uri Geller in the local newspaper – with miserable consequences; and wins a tenner for scoring a goal in front of 3,000 fans – albeit past a small girl dressed in a large turkey costume!

Gus Honeybun, Your Boys Took One Hell of a Beating, provides the perfect antidote to those many books which chart tales of glory and success, and gives a light-hearted and real-life insight into what it’s like being a fan on the bottom rung of the ladder that is English professional football.


Born to be a Baggie – A West Bromwich Albion supporter’s 50 year odyssey by Dean Walton

‘What is a club in any case? Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it. It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses, marketing departments or executive boxes. It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city. It’s a small boy clambering up stadium steps for the very first time, gripping his father’s hand, gawping at that hallowed stretch of turf beneath him and, without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love.’ Sir Bobby Robson, West Bromwich Albion and England

Dean Walton had no choice in his football supporting allegiance, he was born in 1960 to ‘Baggies’-mad parents. Over the last fifty years Dean has rarely missed a game at The Hawthorns and has followed his beloved Albion all over the world, watching them play in eighteen different countries.

Follow Dean’s travels through three divisions over five decades. From UEFA Cup joy on a warm Valencia evening to questioning his own sanity on a freezing cold night in Hartlepool. From Wembley success to humiliating relegation in Bath, every emotion is covered.

Football is about much more than the match itself. This book will strike a chord with any dedicated supporter.


1986: The Rangers Revolution – The Year Which Changed the Club Forever by Jeff Holmes

Glasgow Rangers began the year in the doldrums – and they stayed there for a good few months, struggling to make fifth spot in a ten-team league. That was until the dramatic events of Tuesday, 8 April 1986.

From that day forward, Glasgow Rangers changed forever; Graeme Souness saw to that. Fresh from Serie A – which at that time was almost certainly the toughest league in the world – Souness came home to Scotland to become Rangers’ player/manager; he took the club by the scruff of the neck and didn’t stop shaking until he’d made them the best team in Scotland – and by some distance.

He reversed the trend of the best Scottish players heading south to ply their trade in England, and encouraged the English trio of Terry Butcher, Chris Woods and Graham Roberts to head to Ibrox. It was the year Souness gave Rangers supporters back their swagger.

With new insightful interviews with the key players, chief protagonists and those who were at the heart of the turnaround, 1986: The Rangers Revolution tells the full story of what happened at Ibrox in 1986, quite a year to be a Ranger!


The Miracle of Copenhagen: Arsenal’s Unbelievable European Cup Winners Cup Run and Triumph by Layth Yousif

The Miracle of Copenhagen is the definitive story of the Gunners’ triumph in Europe in 1993/94. Using interviews with players, fans and journalists the author explores what was one of the most defining wins in Arsenal’s history.

By not only honouring exceptional players and managers but the travelling Gunners of the early ’90s, this book offers a nostalgic look back into the tournament that was the catalyst for Arsenal as they are today.

It is the author’s theory that without the Miracle of Copenhagen Arsenal would not have grown to the mighty team that they are today.

Layth Yousif is a journalist and author and he has been watching Arsenal since the early ’80s and has had a season ticket for more than three decades. Through this unique level of expertise and passion Layth explores the team’s path to victory and covers each game with zeal that perfectly mirrors the passion of the fans at the time.

This book highlights just how important the support of travelling fans is at away games and the positive impact they can have on their team’s result.


Retired: What Happens to Footballers When the Game’s Up by Alan Gernon

Almost half of professional footballers face the threat of bankruptcy within five years of their retirement. A third will be divorced less than a year after hanging up their boots.

With little or no support from the game to which they gave their lives, many end up addicted, depressed, living with debilitating illnesses, behind bars or even worse.

While an elite few may be financially secure, or others may land plum managerial jobs or punditry roles, it transpires that for the majority retirement is something they’re not prepared for and lives can spiral into a rapid and depressing decline.

Retired is the ultimate ‘where are they now?’ and asks what actually happens to most footballers once they hang up their boots? How do players cope with going from heroes to zeroes in such a short space of time? And what can be done to help with their transition to normal life?


The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer by James M. Dorsey

James M. Dorsey introduces the reader to the world of Middle Eastern and North African football – an arena where struggles for political control, protest and resistance, self-respect and gender rights are played out.

Politics was the midwife of soccer in the region, with many clubs being formed as pro- or anti-colonial platforms and engines of national identity and social justice.

This book uncovers the seldom-told story of a game that evokes deep-seated passions. Football fans are shown to be a major political force and one of the largest civic groups in Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood: their demands for transparency, social justice, and an end to corruption sparked vicious street battles that left scores dead and thousands wounded. Discontent in Algeria erupts regularly at matches where fans demand the ouster of military leaders. A folk-song crooning national goalkeeper leads protests in Homs, Syria’s third largest city and scene of some of the worst violence perpetrated by Bashar al-Assad’s regime. In a country that bans physical education for girls, Saudi women have established clandestine football clubs and leagues.

The book further tells the story of Somali child soldiers turned soccer stars and Iranian women who dress as men to smuggle themselves into stadiums to watch matches.


The Bald Facts: The David Armstrong Biography

Like many gifted footballers of the seventies and eighties, the story told by legendary Middlesbrough, Southampton and England winger David Armstrong includes some spectacular ups and downs; but the speed and ferocity of his personal roller-coaster ride are surely unique.

Starting out at Leeds, David resisted signing for Don Revie – later followed by Clough’s Forest and Manchester United. He played an incredible 356 consecutive matches for Middlesbrough before being forced out after ten years.

On to Saints with Keegan, Ball and Channon – and more near misses in the league and cup. Armstrong’s promising England career was sadly curtailed by a falling-out with Bobby Robson – and just four years later he was forced to sign on the dole.

The break-up of his first marriage, his desperate desire for an ankle amputation and bailiffs at the door lend David’s riches-to-rags story of stardom and poverty a human appeal far beyond football.


Blue Thunder: The Jock Wallace Story by Jeff Holmes

Former miner Jock Wallace worked his way up from football’s coal face to become one of Scotland’s greatest ever managers.

As a player he had a love of giant-slaying, while a fruitful coaching apprenticeship included European glory before he won two unprecedented trebles with Rangers. At the height of his popularity in Glasgow he quit for Leicester City, where his typically brutal training regime guided the Foxes to the English First Division. After a spell at Motherwell, he moved back to Ibrox but was sacked after just two trophies in three seasons. Seville was the next port of call, followed by Colchester where he worked wonders to keep the U’s in the Football League.

Sadly, the great man was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease during his time at Layer Road. When he died in 1996, his popularity in Glasgow gave rise to a suitably huge and colourful shrine at Ibrox.


I remember 67 Well: Celtic’s European Cup Year by David Potter

The 25th May 1967 is a date ingrained into the DNA of every Celtic supporter. Their club will always be the first British winners of the European Cup, having beaten Inter Milan in the final with a late Stevie Chalmers goal, on a balmy Lisbon night – but for some, grainy YouTube clips and faded news cuttings of that glorious sixties evening are their main insight into the club’s finest day.

Launched ahead of the 50th anniversary of the triumph, I Remember 67 Well brings to life the legend and tells the full story of what is undoubtedly Celtic’s greatest-ever footballing achievement – and one which may never be bettered.

Set against the backdrop of global and news events that made headlines at home and abroad and the club’s domestic achievements, which included pipping Rangers to the Scottish title, I Remember 67 Well gives Celtic supporters the opportunity to relive their greatest season, and one in which their club ruled Europe.


The Soccer Syndrome: English football’s golden age by John Moynihan

The heady Saturday afternoon of July 30th 1966 at Wembley Stadium was the crowning moment of the English game, when Alf Ramsey’s team won the World Cup and the nation’s fanatical football public consummated their relationship with the sport they had invented. John Moynihan’s The Soccer Syndrome is a celebration of that love affair.

Written in the build-up to the tournament, Moynihan captures beautifully the mood of the national sport, from the days when football brightened up dreary post-war Saturday afternoons at the time of baggy shorts, Brylcreemed centre-forwards and such revered figures as Stanley Matthews and Tom Finney, to the Swinging Sixties with its heroes such as Bobby Moore and Jimmy Greaves.

Unashamedly written from the standpoint of the smitten fan, Moynihan also regales us with hilarious personal stories, from waiting in vain for his hero Tommy Lawton’s autograph to watching the 1958 World Cup final in a Paris bar whilst trying to console a love-struck girlfriend. These among other gems have seen The Soccer Syndrome rightly come to be regarded as a classic of football writing.


The Boy in Brazil: Living, Loving and Learning in the Land of Football by Seth Burkett

When Seth Burkett travelled to Brazil for a youth tournament with his local team Stamford, he was stunned by what happened next. Spotted by a scout, he accepted an offer to join Sorriso Esporte Clube in the central state of Mato Grosso and became a media celebrity as well as the only English professional in the football-crazy country.

The Boy in Brazil is a charming and insightful account of his magical season in the sun as an 18-year-old in Sorriso (Portuguese for smile), and takes a bittersweet look at the beautiful game and cultural concerns of the vibrant nation which would host the 2014 World Cup finals.

On his journey from boy to man, he would discover an uncanny and unexpected family link to the foundation of the sport in Brazil. He would also come to see, through a tragedy in Sorriso and the sad fate of its football club, that a childhood dream joyously fulfilled also had a dark side.

Shortlisted: Best football book, Cross Pens British Sports Book Awards 2015.


Added Time: Surviving Cancer, Death Threats and the Premier League by Mark Halsey with Ian Ridley

Television has taken us inside the Premier League, into the lives of its players and managers, as never before, but what is it really like to be a referee in modern English football, trying to control a bunch of millionaires and their stressed-out leaders? Then getting home to find out you have made a mistake and been identified in millions of households as public enemy number one? To be issued with death threats on social media by football ‘fans’ who say they hope your cancer returns?

Added Time takes you where no other book has gone – inside the dressing rooms on match days, into the intense tunnel and on-field conversations and confrontations between officials and the game’s participants. It chronicles the highs and lows, joy and pain, and reveals the human face of that man in the middle.

Mark Halsey also lifts the lid on surviving the internal politics, personalities and intrigue of top-flight refereeing, on altercations with Sir Alex Ferguson and earfuls from Wayne Rooney. Running through Halsey’s powerful and poignant story is his brave battle with throat cancer, through surgery and gruelling treatment, after which the popular Halsey returned to the top. It granted him no immunity from the dangerous stresses that can beset the modern referee, however – stresses that included those death threats.

What kept him going for 17 years at the top? Strength of character, a loving family – and the unlikely friendship of a man supposedly the enemy of referees: one Jose Mourinho.


When England Ruled the World: 1966-1970: Four Years Which Shaped the Modern Game by Steve Mingle

The 1966 World Cup triumph put England at the pinnacle of the game. But how did it help the English game to develop, both at international and club level? Did it help the game to develop at all?

When England Ruled the World, charts the progress of our national and club sides through the four-year period following 1966, recalling month by month the great teams, matches, players and managers of this golden age.

Featuring a plethora of characters, mavericks and hard men, the book covers every aspect of the game, on and off the pitch, set against a backdrop of the social climate and popular culture of the time. Tactical shifts and training methods, TV coverage, media attitudes, fans and the emergence of hooliganism, club finances and the transfer market, the authorities, stadia and facilities, interaction between club and country, marketing the game and its star players, and shows how the trends which emerged in this period set us out on the road towards the game as we know it today.

But for better or worse?


Room at the Top: The Origins of Professional Football in Bradford and the Rivalry of Bradford FC and Manningham FC by John Dewhirst

The story of all the pioneering clubs, the military heritage and the origins of claret and amber as well as the red, amber and black.

The author’s research and analysis provides a new interpretation of the rugby schism of 1895 as well as the conversion to soccer at Valley Parade in 1903 and at Park Avenue in 1907.

Above all it explains the antagonism between the two Bradford clubs which set the tone for the twentieth century relationship.


The Man Who Saved FC Barcelona: The Remarkable Life of Patrick O’Connell by Sue O’Connell

Born in Dublin in 1887, Patrick O’Connell had a successful playing career with Belfast Celtic, Hull City, Sheffield Wednesday and Manchester United, where he was involved in one of the most notorious match-fixing football scandals of his generation. On his retirement from playing, O’Connell became a successful manager with Ashington but then left his family in 1922 to work in Spain, first as manager of Racing de Santander, then Real Oviedo, Real Betis de Sevilla and finally FC Barcelona. In 1935 ‘Don Patricio’, as he was affectionately known, managed Betis to their only La Liga title success, as well as bigamously marrying his second wife.

At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, the President of Barcelona, Josep Sunyol, was assassinated, leaving the club in crisis. O’Connell took the team on a tour of Mexico, Cuba and New York and the money they raised ensured the club’s survival. After the Civil War, he returned to work in Spain before heading to London where, unable to find work, he died destitute in 1959.

This biography was written over many years by Sue O’Connell, wife of Patrick’s grandson, Mike. The author’s access to authentic documents, letters and family memories, along with her extensive research in England, Ireland, Spain and Mexico, has allowed her to reconstruct the life of this remarkable man.


Trevor Ford: The Authorised Biography by Neil Palmer

Welsh football legend Trevor Ford was not your typical football player from the forties and fifties. In a era where football club owners held all the cards, and were more than happy with the £20-a-week maximum wage given to the game’s stars, Ford was a man who knew his own worth and challenged the status quo. A fearsome centre-forward loved by the fans he played for, and a villain to the opposition, he filled stadiums and ruffled a few feathers on and off the pitch.

Born in Swansea in 1923, Ford played for Swansea Town, spent three seasons as Aston Villa’s top scorer, and in a debut for Sunderland against Sheffield Wednesday, scored a hat-trick, broke the opposing centre-half ’s jaw, charged the Wednesday keeper into the net and broke a goalpost.

Returning to his native Wales in 1953 to join Cardiff City, he was banned from the game for two years after admitting receiving illegal payments while at Sunderland. Ford left the Welsh capital in 1957 after more run-ins with Cardiff manager Trevor Morris. He then joined PSV Eindhoven in Holland as his two-year ban from the British game kicked in, which may have led to his exclusion from the Welsh World Cup squad of 1958.

Join author Neil Palmer as he details the career of a man whose goal tally was 175 goals in 349 games, scoring 23 goals for Wales in 38 appearances, making him Wales’s second highest goalscorer of all time.


The Red One: The Inside story of Jose Mourinho by Harry Harris

How did Jose Mourinho capture Paul Pogba? How did Jose end up at Old Trafford. What went wrong at the Bridge and why Jose is up for it at United? Was his appointment unanimous? What is the story?

Find out here in The Red One,  where award winning journalist Harry Harris has broken the big stories for decades on the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and Daily Express. Now he has some riveting views about the new Manchester United under new management and what went wrong with David Moyes and LVG.

This will be the most explosive season in Premier League history; all the worlds top managers are here, and none will be bigger or more headline grabbing than in Manchester where Jose v Pep will reverberate around the world and back again. A tale of one City and while Pep Guardiola was a momentous signing for City, United trumped them with Jose Mourinho.

The appointment of Mourinho to succeed Louis Van Gaal, who in turn took over from David Moyes, has given the United faithful their belief back. The Red One tells the story of Mourinho’s signing at Old Trafford, all the background, all the reaction, fall out, and retrospectively what really spilled over between him and Guardiola in Spain that makes their unexpected reunion in England so compelling a personal showdown.

The Red One details their first encounter and the count down to this momentous season. The Red One details the inside story of Mourinho. No one knows his antics and history at Chelsea and what we can all expect at Old Trafford more than multi-award winning journalist and writer of 78 books Harry Harris.

Such is Harry s fascination with the self-proclaimed Special One , that this is his fifth book, on the serial trophy winner. Harry has appeared on virtually every media outlet to discuss his move to Untied recognized as his official biographer.

It’s going to be a blockbuster of a season and The Red One promises to be a blockbuster of a book, a must read for all United fans wanting to know more about their manager and for all football fans wanting to know what to expect of his showdown with Pep Guardiola.


Pulp Football: An Amazing Anthology of True Football Stories You Simply Couldn’t Make Up by Nick Szczepanik

Football is about goals, great players and glory. But it’s also about own goals, goats and the game gone wrong. Pulp Football looks at the comedy rather than the beauty of the world’s favourite sport, the farce not the force: the incompetent coaches, the 30-yard thunderbolt that ends up in the wrong net, the players’ Christmas parties that ended up in the courts.

Find out how a murder was uncovered because Blackburn built a new stand, which manager was sacked after only ten minutes in a job, which mascot pulled the head off a rival and kicked it into the stands and which player scored all four goals in a 2-2 draw.

Written by experienced Fleet Street scribe Nick Szczepanik, he has unearthed some cracking tales and stood up some of those so-called football myths. With sections devoted to owners, managers, goalkeepers, players, mascots, fans and of course, sex, drugs and rock n roll…Pulp Football is what it says it is: an amazing anthology of true football stories you simply couldn’t make up!


Fifty Shades of White: Half a Century of Pain and Glory with Leeds United by Gary Edwards

Fifty Shades of White is Gary Edwards’s fifth book; and he returns with more fabulous, rib-tickling tales that come with half a century of following one of the most talked about football clubs in the world.

Like the time he was asked to accompany a four-and-a-half-foot tall monk with a large hearing aid, who hadn’t previously left his abbey for 25 years, to a Leeds United game as part of a BBC documentary. Or the time he escaped from hospital, still in his hospital gown and attached to a catheter, a blood bag, several needles and with two tampons stuck up his nose to travel 70 miles up the A1 in a thunderstorm for a relatively meaningless Leeds game at Darlington.

There is a fascinating, controversial and hilarious insight into Leeds United’s former owner Ken Bates, gleaned from being a special guest at his birthday and Christmas parties for eight consecutive years.

Fifty Shades of White gives a unique fan insight into the club and a life devoted to Leeds United.


MacDou-GOAL!: The Ted MacDougall Story by Neil Vacher & Ted MacDougall

With recollections from the man himself, including exploits with the likes of Alan Ball, George Best, Mick Channon, Bobby Moore and Peter Osgood, MacDou-GOAL traces Ted MacDougall’s rise from his roots in Inverness, through his playing and coaching career, to the present day.

An impressionable youngster under Bill Shankly at Liverpool, the Scottish international was prolific at York City, Bournemouth, Norwich City and Southampton. Famously he set an FA Cup record with nine goals in one game against Margate in 1971, and answered critics in style as the First Division’s top scorer in 1975/76.

Rarely out of the headlines during the 1970s, there were also turbulent periods: first following a big-money move to Manchester United, then a fiery spell at West Ham and a controversial end to his Scotland career. He spent a season with Detroit Express, and explains his decision to relocate across the Atlantic, where he formed his own club.

Never short of an opinion, MacDougall also has plenty to say about the modern game.


Small Town Dreams by J.F. Cumming

Small Town Dreams:  A tale of love, life, travel and football by J.F. Cumming. A humorous tale following a football fanatic and his long-suffering girlfriend as they travel around the world, spending an unexpected redundancy payment in Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Australia, Easter Island, Chile and America.

Growing up in the small English town of High Wycombe wasn’t overly glamorous. James spent his youth dreaming of two things – travelling the world and, more ambitiously, seeing his lowly local football team, Wycombe Wanderers, experience a glorious FA Cup run. As the reality of adulthood took hold, neither dream looked any closer to reality… then came a redundancy for James and a First Round draw at home against Harrow Borough for the Wanderers.

Small Town Dreams follows the events of the next six months. Six extraordinary months in a very ordinary life. From River Island to Easter Island. From High Wycombe to Hong Kong. From old York to New York. From Millwall to the Great Wall. From Harrow Borough to Sydney Harbour. And for one unknown footballer – from unemployed zero to Ceefax hero.

A boy. A girl. A trip of a lifetime. Around the world in an FA Cup daze. Small Town Dreams: Come and join the adventure!


Coventry City: A Club without a home – The fight behind the Sky Blues return from exile by Simon Gilbert

Coventry City fans had plenty to be happy about in the late 1990s. They had been a top-flight side for more than three decades, and they were graced with a team of glittering international stars such as Robbie Keane, Gary McAllister and Mustapha Hadji.

The future appeared bright with the promise of a huge new multi-purpose stadium – including a retractable roof and removable pitch – that would make the club self-sustainable. Fast-forward another 15 years and the club found itself with no stadium to call its own, playing in front of tiny crowds some 35 miles away from the club’s home city.

Coventry City: A Club Without a Home is a journey through one of the most turbulent times in the history of the Sky Blues, told by those caught in the eye of the storm.


Playing for the Hoops: The George McCluskey Story by Aidan Donaldson

How did George McCluskey become a true Celtic legend? What binds the fans and players and creates this strong sense of belonging? And what does the Irish diaspora have to do with the club?

George McCluskey ranks alongside Kenny Dalglish, Tommy Burns, Johnny Doyle and Paul McStay in a generation of Celtic greats. Aidan Donaldson’s biography is the first definitive account of McCluskey’s hugely successful professional career over two decades as a striker.

Playing in the Hoops for eight years, George scored 54 goals in this time. He also changed the entire game in favour of Celtic over and over again. Later going on to play for Hibernian – as well as Leeds, Hamilton, Kilmarnock and Clyde – he was the injured party in one of the most scandalous tackles in football history.

A truly Celtic minded man and player, George McCluskey embodies the Celtic spirit.

 In football biographies the reader often only sees the player and not the real person. I was extremely fortunate to play football for the club I supported my entire life… Coming from a Celtic-minded family and community it has been an absolute privilege to have played for Celtic on so many occasions and to have shared in their joy, hopes and dreams – as well as in their disappointments (From the Introduction by George McCluskey)


Cardiff City Rebranded: Bluebirds and Red Dragons by Scott Johnson

This is the story of what happens when a football club changes overnight and fans are left to deal with the fallout. It is the real story of what happened from the beginning to the end of an unwanted rebrand of a proud football club.

For some, it was tolerable, for most a step too far. Cardiff City: Rebranded tells how the club’s change from blue, a colour the club had worn for more than a century, to red in the summer of 2012 caused absolute and unnecessary turmoil. Flamboyant owner Vincent Tan made the change in good faith, to help the club crack the Asian market, but made the mistake of not consulting City’s diehard fans, who were left to like it or lump it.

The rebrand lasted almost three years and this book is the story of what happened during that period from a fans’ perspective, with first-hand accounts from supporters, players and those involved with the club – set against a backdrop of a first-ever promotion to the Premier League, and subsequent relegation – from what is one of the most turbulent periods in Cardiff City’s proud history.


Greatest Game: Southampton – Saints’ Fifty Finest Matches by Alex Crook and Alex Smith

From causing one of the biggest shocks in FA Cup final history by beating Manchester United in 1976 to promotion to the Premier League in 2012, here are 50 of the club’s most glorious, epochal and thrilling games of all!

Expertly presented in evocative historical context, and described incident-by-incident in atmospheric detail, Southampton Greatest Games offers a terrace ticket back in time, from the bygone days of Ted Bates and Lawrie McMenemy to the club’s rise from League One back to the top flight via administration and near bankruptcy and their highest-ever Premier League finish under Ronald Koeman’s masterful management.

An irresistible cast list of club legends – including the great Matt Le Tissier, record appearance-maker Terry Paine, Wembley heroes Mick Channon and Peter Osgood, promotion winners Rickie Lambert and Jose Fonte and former European Footballer of the Year Kevin Keegan – comes to life in these thrilling tales of goalscoring feats, great comebacks, Wembley glory and the odd glorious yet crushing disappointment. In all, a journey through the highlights of Saints’ history which is guaranteed to make any fan’s heart swell with pride.


Owls: Sheffield Wednesday Through the Modern Era by Tom Whitworth

Bad football. Boardroom unrest. Financial turmoil. Long-suffering fans.

Owls: Sheffield Wednesday Through the Modern Era is the story of a football club struggling to find its way in an ever-changing game. Almost two decades on from dropping out of the Premier League, and over 25 years after the horrors of the Hillsborough disaster, author Tom Whitworth combines revealing interviews from key players, managers and board members with challenging new insight and perspective, to piece together a compelling account of Wednesday’s recent, often turbulent, history.

From the almost-glory days of the early 1990s and the team of Chris Waddle, John Sheridan and David Hirst; to Paolo Di Canio’s pushing over of a referee, terrible transfer dealings, relegations and a life in the lower league wilderness. That is followed by League One play-off success, moves by the club to sue its own fans, winding-up orders and High Court appearances; before club-saving takeovers followed by a well-funded, entertaining and long-awaited revival which at last has given the club’s fans something to smile about.




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