Top Ten Football Books: Spencer Vignes

Spencer Vignes is a journalist, author, and broadcaster and fan of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club. Book-wise he has been to date, the author of six titles including The Server, which was listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award in 2003. Of his three football books, FBR have been fortunate to review two of them, Bloody Southerners: Clough And Taylor’s Brighton & Hove Odyssey and Lost In France: The Remarkable Life and Death of Leigh Roose, Football’s First Superstar, both excellent reads. His other football title is, A Few Good Men: The Brighton & Hove Albion Dream Team.

Here Spencer provides FBR with his Top Ten Football books, with a nod to his beloved Seagulls for good measure.

(1) Ray Of Hope – The Ray Kennedy Story, by Dr Andrew Lees and Ray Kennedy (Penguin, 1993)

The first serious football book I ever remember reading. A fascinating insight into the life of Ray Kennedy, flipping between his glittering playing career and the growing onset of – and subsequent treatment for – Parkinson’s disease.

(2) Hillsborough – The Truth, by Phil Scraton (Mainstream, 1999)

The book that opened my eyes to the injustices surrounding the Hillsborough disaster. A story that had to be told, told well.

(3) Full-Time – The Secret Life of Tony Cascarino, as told to Paul Kimmage (Scribner/Town House, 2000)

Searingly honest and brilliantly written. Relatively short, yet a reminder that sometimes less is more. If only all football autobiographies were like this.

(4) Floodlit Dreams – How To Save A Football Club, by Ian Ridley (Simon & Schuster, 2006)

The from-the-heart tale of Ian Ridley’s attempts to inject a little pizzazz into Weymouth FC, his hometown club. Entertaining, informative, poignant.

(5) Build A Bonfire – How Football Fans United to Save Brighton & Hove Albion, by Stephen North and Paul Hodson (Mainstream, 1997)

The story of Brighton’s fight for survival during the mid-nineties at the hands of an unscrupulous chairman, in the words of those who were there.

(6) Gus Honeybun, Your Boys Took One Hell of a Beating, by Simon Carter (Pitch, 2016)

A gallows humour account of what it’s like to support a lower-league football club, in this case Exeter City. A genuine must read for all football fans, except perhaps those of Plymouth Argyle.

(7) Left Foot Forward, by Garry Nelson (Headline, 1995)

A year in the life of a journeyman footballer, so the sub-title goes. Yet it was, and remains, far more than that. One of the very best of the early wave of nineties football-related publishing.

(8) Provided You Don’t Kiss Me, by Duncan Hamilton (Fourth Estate, 2007)

Brian Clough, warts and all, by the man charged with covering Nottingham Forest for the local paper during the most eventful years in the club’s history. Absolutely everything I hoped it would be.

(9) Moving The Goalposts – A Yorkshire Tragedy, by Anthony Clavane (Riverrun, 2017)

Sport, society, politics, culture. It’s all here. A thoroughly enjoyable, evocative read, whether you’re from Yorkshire or not.

(10) All Played Out – The Full Story of Italia ’90, by Pete Davies (Heinemann, 1990)

It took me the better part of 30 years to read it, but it was worth the wait. Written with the kind of player co-operation that today’s football hacks can only dream of, yet Davies does their words justice.

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Posted August 26, 2020 by Editor in category "Top Ten Football Books

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