Never Stop is the story of how Australian manager Ange Postecoglou took Celtic from the edge of despair to the UEFA Champions League, via a domestic ‘double’ in his debut season.

Postecoglou arrived in Glasgow with virtually no reputation on this side of the world, but through his compelling media appearances, enthralling style of football and winning habit, he soon became one of the most iconic Celtic managers since the legendary Jock Stein.

Celtic were in crisis on and off the park in the summer of 2021, with numerous key players, including iconic captain Scott Brown, leaving the club after a season that had seen them finish 25 points behind Rangers. As Postecoglou arrived amid the chaos – and brought talent like Kyogo Furuhashi, Josip Juranovic and Jota with him – Celtic fans also returned to the stadium for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Postecoglou, his players and the support formed an unbreakable bond that would lead Celtic to the Premiership title and back to the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.

Alongside a full colour photo section to accompany the text, in this book Carton shares the inside story of what makes Postecoglou special, with views from numerous former players, colleagues and close friends.

(Pitch Publishing Ltd. March 2023. Hardcover: 256 pages)


Buy the book here: Never Stop


The Conquerors charts the rise, fall and resurgence of AC Milan across one of the club’s most legendary eras.

Fresh from a coaching baptism of fire at either end of the top Italian divisions, former club favourite Carlo Ancelotti returned to a then-disjointed Rossoneri dressing room as first-team manager in 2001.

Out of sorts, out of form and out of touch with the standards set by the side in Ancelotti’s day, AC Milan found a much-needed stabilising influence in the new coach, who helped them through a phase of transition. Though his impact wasn’t immediate, nor without its share of dissenters, Ancelotti would ultimately return the team to its former glory.

The Conquerors is a homage to one of the greatest club sides in football history. It’s a story of incredible talent, iconic moments and the kind of improbable redemption usually reserved for Hollywood movie scripts.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. April 2023. Hardcover: 352 pages)


Buy the book here: The Conquerers

Top Ten Football books from Chris Lee

FBR continues its quest for the ‘Top Ten Football books’ with a list from author, podcaster and blogger, Chris Lee. Not only should you check out his excellent website Outside Write which looks as its tagline says, to explore the off-pitch story of football, as the curious fan’s football blog, but his two (to date) highly recommended books, Origin Stories: The Pioneers Who Took Football to the World and The Defiant: A History of Football Against Fascism. In addition FBR were honoured to feature as guests on the OW’s podcast looking at The Greatest Football Books Check it out and subscribe to listen to the fascinating range of podcasts available from Outside Write.

Back to Chris Lee’s list, which is an interesting ‘Top Ten’ with some familiar titles and some unknown to FBR. Enjoy!


1) A Season with Verona, Tim Parks

I read this when it first came out (2002) and it set the benchmark for me as a groundhopping tome. Twenty plus years on and it’s not been bettered, in my opinion.

2) The Miracle of Castel di Sangro, Joe McGinniss

In a similar vein and coming out around the same time (1999) as Parks’ book, this is a brilliant account of a niche topic. Written by an American, too – which isn’t meant to sound dismissive; just surprising to be into such a niche football topic

3) Calcio: The History of Italian Football, John Foot

Seminal work. The best of the country-specific books. Great guy too, I interviewed him for The Defiant and he was very generous with his time and knowledge.

4) My Father and Other Working Class Footballers, Gary Imlach

Engagingly told inside story of what it was like to grow up in a footballing household long before the money…

5) Provided You Don’t Kiss Me: 20 years with Brian Clough, Duncan Hamilton

So much written about Clough; this is the best, IMO.

FBR review:

6) Matchdays: The Hidden Story of the Bundesliga, Ronald Reng

The story of the Bundesliga told through the life of one man. A magnificent read.

7) Football Against the Enemy, Simon Kuper

The original ‘football and politics’ book – an inspiration.

8) Angels with Dirty Faces: The Footballing History of Argentina, Jonathan Wilson

One of the finest in the business tackles one of the best (and complex) footballing cultures. Incredibly well-researched.

9) ¡Golazo!:A History of Latin American Football, Andrés Campomar

The abridged history of Latin American soccer in all its complexity.

10) Football in Sun and Shadow, Eduardo Galeano

A must on anyone’s shelf – Galeano makes football sound almost romantic.


England’s emphatic victory at the 2022 Women’s Euros has been called a watershed moment both for the team and for women’s football. But can this talented side prove their mettle on the biggest stage of all and achieve World Cup glory in 2023?

Tactical writer Abdullah Abdullah once again lifts the lid on a women’s footballing institution, this time through an international lens – deconstructing match tactics, analysing player performances and assessing the key improvements made in Sarina Wiegman’s time in charge.

Abdullah explores the standout tactical profiles from the current generation, including Fran Kirby and Lucy Bronze as well as the future crop, like Leah Williamson and wunderkind Lauren Hemp.

This book dives into the specifics of how this iteration of the Lionesses can perform at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Will this be the moment they shed their status as perennial challengers and prove they are the best team in the world?

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. April 2023. Paperback: 256 pages)


Buy the book here: Lionesses


Rebirth of the Blues is the third instalment in Neil Fitzsimon’s acclaimed trilogy on Chelsea FC.

The book considers one of the most exciting eras in the club’s history – 1977 to 1985. It was a period when Chelsea narrowly escaped relegation into the Third Division in 1983, before being resurrected under the management of John Neal when the likes of Kerry Dixon, Pat Nevin and others catapulted the club to new glories.

The next year, Chelsea took the Second Division by storm with their new brand of quicksilver flowing football to make a triumphant return to the top flight as champions. But Rebirth of the Blues is more than just a chronicle of football history. It’s a gripping memoir of a Chelsea fan growing up in the late 1970s to mid-80s and his experiences of living through the political unrest of Thatcherite Britain when excess and greed were seen as ideals to be admired.

Fitzsimon recalls his tentative first steps with girlfriends, the changing face of the music scene and what it was like to be single and one of the lads.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. April 2023. Paperback: 256 pages)


Buy the book here: Rebirth of The Blues


Potter, Hopcutt and a Desk in East London charts the improbable rise of Östersunds FK (OFK) from the Swedish fourth division to the Europa League.

Looking for a distraction from their mundane office lives, two childhood York City fans are drawn in by the ascent of two men with loose connections to their hometown club, OFK manager Graham Potter and midfielder Jamie Hopcutt.

As a passing interest becomes a full-blown obsession, the pair follow Östersunds across Europe, from a war-torn Ukraine, to a Howard Kendall-themed bar in Bilbao, to a defining night at the Emirates.

Fascinated by the people they meet along the way, the pair discover a team of misfits rejected at almost every level, a fan base confused by their Scandinavian fascination and a club not afraid to do things differently while knocking out some of Europe’s most storied clubs.

This book is an ode to the underdog and an invigorating reminder of the power of football fandom to provide the perfect escape.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. April 2023. Hardcover: 224 pages)


Buy the book here: Potter Hopcutt and a Desk in East London


Rivalry is everywhere in football, from battles on the pitch to boardroom politics, regional and national quarrels and fights for silverware. These conflicts spark countless debates over which are the ‘biggest’ and ‘best’ fixtures in the global game, but those involving teams from the same city are especially intense, both on and off the pitch.

Divided Cities is a game by game account of the good, bad, indifferent but always eventful experiences of journeying to 11 of the world’s most prominent same-city derbies. Along the way, Kevin Pogorzelski explores some of the most wonderful cities on Earth, delving into the rich histories of clubs and meeting the people who live and breathe the local football culture. Pogorzelski does not try to glorify the violence or animosity between ultra groups but stumbles into some tricky situations.

Have you ever thought about embarking on your own football pilgrimage? Then this book is for you.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. March 2023. Paperback: 320 pages)


Buy the book here: Divided Cities


1992: The Birth of Modern Football brings to life the key events from one of the most important years in football history.

After the huge success of Italia ’90 and the potential to show football around the world on TV, law makers, chairmen and players ushered in monumental changes to the structure of the game.

Everyone remembers the first year of the Premier League but changes to the backpass rule and the arrival of the newly branded Champions League would have a seismic effect on football.

On the pitch, Italian clubs spent huge sums as they bolstered their squads for success at home and abroad. In England, Leeds and Manchester United were battling at the top of the league for the final season in the First Division. That sliding-doors moment really did have a huge impact on Alex Ferguson’s men. To add to the growing changes, the revolution was televised.

1992: The Birth of Modern Football transports you back to the year that changed football forever.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. March 2023. Paperback: 256 pages)


Buy the book here: 1992

Book Review – Pantomime Hero: Memories of the Man Who Lifted Leeds United After Brian Clough (Football Shorts) by Ian Ridley

Ian Ridley is an award-winning journalist and author. His latest venture is Football Shorts which are a series of books in a collaboration between his own publishing company Floodlit Dreams and renowned sports book publisher, Pitch Publishing. Ridley details in the Notes and Acknowledgments that the inspiration of the series came about during lockdown and his desire for a short sporting read. The intention is that there are to be three books a year, with Pantomime Hero: Memories of the Man Who Lifted Leeds United After Brian Clough by Ridley, the first, with the others coming from former Women in Football CEO Jane Purdon and comedian and writer Andy Hamilton during 2023.

This first short is dedicated to Jimmy Armfield and provides, “memories of, and a friendship with one of the most humble and remarkable men to ever grace English football”. Whilst this is a very personal account, and not a biographical look at Armfield’s career, readers come to learn that his entire playing career was spent at Blackpool and he won over 40 caps for England, played in the 1962 World Cup in Chile and was part of the 1966 World Cup winning squad. After retiring from playing in 1971 he became manager at Bolton Wanderers leading them to the Third Division title in 1972/73. Then after the calamitous 44 day reign of Brian Clough at Leeds United, Armfield took the Elland Road job in October 1974.

He was able to galvanise a troubled club and squad after the turmoil of the ill-fated Clough spell and took the team to the European Cup Final in 1974/75 where they controversially lost 2-0 to Bayern Munich in Paris. It was a injustice that rankled with the normally calm and unflappable Armfield. Part of the process during that season and described within the book is how Armfield “came up with a novel and unique idea to restore the morale of a club tearing itself apart” – one which makes sense of the title of this book. Despite taking Leeds to the FA Cup semi-finals in 1976/77 and the same stage in the League Cup in 1977/78, Armfield was sacked in July 1978 and he never managed again, instead turning his hand to a successful media and journalistic career, in the same assured way that he had been one of the best right backs in the World.

These wonderful 160 pages are a real tribute to Armfield, and Ridley has produced a book that has a genuine warmth borne out of their friendship and Ridley’s admiration for Armfield’s talent as player, manager and broadcaster. It is also a very personal story, one that can only sometimes come from a shared experience – in this case, their respective battles with cancer diagnosis and sadly also for Ridley, the loss of his wife Vikki Orvice to breast cancer.

If the shorts from Jane Purdon and Andy Hamilton are as good as this, readers are in for a real treat, in what will become a much anticipated series of books.

(Publisher: Football Shorts. January 2023. Paperback: 160 pages)


Buy the book here: Pantomime Hero

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The inside story of football superstar, Diego Maradona – from the person in football who knew him best.

As Diego Maradona’s personal trainer, Fernando Signorini spent more than a decade at the superstar’s side, witnessing a dizzying array of highs and lows, from helping Diego recuperate from a broken ankle in 1983 to his dramatic exit from the 1994 World Cup after a failed drugs test.

Signorini offers a unique perspective on the troubled legend, giving us the lowdown not only on Diego’s evolution as an athlete, but on Diego the human being, a far cry from the character we saw on TV screens. He brings us the inside track on Maradona’s preparation for three World Cups: Mexico 86, Italia 90 and USA 94. We also get an insider view on his battles with fame, drugs and extramarital paternity, plus his time in charge of the Argentine national team.

Brimming with incredible stories and anecdotes, Inside Diego is an intensely personal rollercoaster account of a flawed football genius.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. January 2023. Paperback: 272 pages)


Buy the book here: Inside Diego