Match Fit takes an in-depth look at mental health in football, from the Premier League down to five-a-side, in the hope of destigmatising this much-neglected topic, with candid contributions from the likes of Chris Kirkland, Paul Lambert and Marcus Bent.

Subjects such as the issues facing footballers after retirement and the rise of social media are placed under the microscope, and we discover how being a football fan can benefit your mental health.

Seasoned pros discuss the challenges they’ve faced in football, speaking openly about personal experiences most of us wouldn’t associate with the glamour of the beautiful game.

From a grassroots perspective, there are uplifting stories of how people have learnt to manage their mental health, with football as a key tool to help them get through their day-to-day lives.

If the interviewees – involved in a sport that has traditionally lauded masculinity and the absence of so-called weakness – can open up about their mental health, then so can anyone.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. August 2023. Hardcover: 384 pages)


Buy the book here: Match Fit

Interview with Chris Roberts author of, FOOTBALL>ANYTHING: How Football Has Brought Out The Worst In So Many For The Sport They “LOVE”

Ahead of a review of his book, FOOTBALL>ANYTHING: How Football Has Brought Out The Worst In So Many For The Sport They “LOVE”, Football Book Reviews posed a few questions to Chris Roberts.

Football Book Reviews (FBR): What is your first football memory and who is the club you support?

Chris Roberts (CR): My first ever football memory is actually going week in week out to watch my dad play football when I was a small child and also the teams he was physio for in the north west of England – the first two being Atherton Collieries and Prescot Cables. I loved being there and felt part of the team as a youngster and would play on the pitch before and after games and during half times. In terms of the team I support, I’m a lifelong Liverpool fan and am a season ticket holder in the Kop.

FBR: What was the motivation for writing the book?

CR: Essentially it was actually a way of helping me to cope with my depression. The person who gave me my love for football and who I shared a huge chunk of my footballing memories with – my dad –  died two years ago. The book has been a bit of a saviour for me as I have struggled a lot with my mental health and it has been a way of escaping the dark thoughts I had in my brain and gave me an escape.

FBR: How did you get into writing?

CR: It all came about really by helping a friend who was doing their own book and getting involved in searching for references/evidence for what they were writing. He sent a draft copy of a chapter of his book into a WhatsApp chat and I looked through and saw he was missing some stats. I then started researching for them and in spending time doing this I realised that even in one of my darkest periods it had taken my mind off of the situation I was dealing with. This then motivated me to think this could be a good idea and even if it didn’t lead to a book this could be an escape for me.

FBR: How difficult was it to get the book published?

CR: I have self-published the book as I am raising money for a local mental health charity in Liverpool Sean’s Place that has provided me with counselling. I used Amazon to do this as I was trying to raise as much money as possible for them and this allowed the book to receive more royalties.

FBR: What impact do you hope the book has?

CR: I hope the book helps others who may be struggling with their mental health to reach out and ask for help. The book shows the dark side of football and how mental health affects lots of professionals too. Our heroes who we treat like superheroes/superhuman are human too – everyone struggles and it’s important we reach out for help.

FBR: Finally, how do you see the game in 10 years from now?

CR: The game is changing in a way that I don’t think is for the better. My book shows the dark side of the game and greed is one chapter of the book that I focus on. This greed is what I think could potentially cause the game we love to be ruined. We saw that with the attempted European Super League, and most importantly I think you see that across the English Premier League (EPL) with how local children are priced out of ever watching their favourite team. Non-League football attendances are on the rise due to this and I know lots of people are leaving watching their favourite EPL team and you now see a more corporate fan base arising.

FBR: Thank you Chris and good luck with the book and raising funds.


Fear and Loathing at Goodison Park chronicles the David Moyes era at Everton when a fallen giant of the English game fought to re-establish itself among football’s elite.

With relegation dogfights making way for Champions League qualification and the first cup final since 1995, David Moyes’ tenure was underpinned by stability and a hopefulness that success would soon return to the blue half of Merseyside.

It was, however, a period when the notion of success was redefined, not only for Everton but within the game as a whole.

With the financial gulf widening in a league deluged by an influx of foreign investment and media conglomerates, Moyes’ Everton became synonymous with operating on a shoe-string budget, in an era of multi-million-pound transfers and bloated wages.

With billionaire takeovers reshaping the landscape of English football forever, the people’s club’s hopes of breaking through football’s glass ceiling faded, leaving only fear and loathing at Goodison Park.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. May 2023. Hardcover: 272 pages)


Buy the book here: Fear and Loathing


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


Three Games in May takes us all the way back to Manchester United’s final three matches of the 1998/99 season.

Prior to these games, United had won nothing that year. However, what unfolded over those 11 days at the end of May would see them complete THE most unique of trebles, and it all came down to the final few seconds of the Champions League Final at the Camp Nou. Drama at its finest!

By chronicling the twenty-year period of 1989 to 2009, including anecdotes from the players, fans, and journalists who witnessed the historic events first-hand, Three Games in May provides a unique perspective on the events leading up to those fateful three games, as well as the three great dynasties that Sir Alex Ferguson built at Old Trafford; a period that began with United’s greatest-ever manager facing the sack!

A must-read for all Manchester United supporters, Three Games in May demonstrates that there is more to the story than those three trophies and takes the reader on a nostalgic journey through all the trials, tribulations, and, ultimately, the glory.

For every copy sold a donation will be made to Prostate Cancer UK.

(Publisher: Morgan Lawrence Publishing Services. March 2023. Paperback: 232 pages)


Buy the book here: Three games in May

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Before the Premier League looks at the major developments in English football between the late 1950s and the early 1990s that led to the transformation of the game. The book traces the changes over the last decades of a unified Football League, and details how they combined to revolutionise the sport. From the transfer market and attendances, playing conditions and wages, to the influence of sponsorship and television Before the Premier League is an account of the factors which shaped modern football.

Several in-depth interviews with players and fans of this era bring the history to life and illustrate the main themes which run throughout the book. Their first-hand experiences and memories of English football give a unique insight into how the game was played and watched long before the Premier League.

This is a book that the author spent several years researching and writing. It covers a period in time stretching back from his formative years watching football in the 1980s, to the late 1950s when the Football League moved to four national divisions for the first time. Whittle’s main inspiration for the book was R.C. Churchill’s Sixty Seasons of League Football, published in 1958, which looked at the history of the Football League from its formation in 1888 up to that point. Whittle’s idea was to continue that history and bring it up to the creation of the Premier League in 1992, which changed the face of English football. With the help of several fans and ex-players, he has attempted to tell the story of the last decades of the unified Football League.

(Publisher: Wibble Publishing. October 2021. Paperback: 216 pages)


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Book Review: You Can Do It: How to Find Your Voice and Make a Difference by Marcus Rashford (Written with Carl Anka)

Footballers are often referred to as role models and while a lot of footballers do try to serve this purpose, few really embrace and take full responsibility in the way that Marcus Rashford has. As well as his performances on the pitch, off it, in recent years he’s really stepped up, in particular with regard to his fight for free school meals. In addition, in 2021 he launched a book club aimed at children aged 8 to 12 as a means of developing literacy and a love of reading. As part of this project, last year saw him release his first book, You Are A Champion – an inspirational book to guide and educate young people to be the best they can be – and this year his first children’s novel, The Breakfast Club Adventures, was published. Not one to rest on his laurels, Rashford has followed up You Are A Champion with a second inspirational life guide for children and teens – You Can Do It.

Styled and designed in the same dynamic and engaging way as his first book, You Can Do It maintains, too, the positive, inspiring and motivational approach as it tackles really important themes, such as kindness, tolerance, acceptance, resilience and community. The book doesn’t shy away from difficult issues too, openly raising them and tackling them in ways that are relatable, wise and constructive. The sense of inclusivity is also really prominent and the way the book encourages positive dialogue around race, religion and gender is superb. So too are the book’s resounding messages, which really aim to bolster young people and foster positive characteristics. It is the type of book that has the power to really speak to young readers and to make a difference and having Marcus Rashford’s name behind it only serves as further inspiration.

Indeed, while a lot of footballers, and sports stars in general, opt to take the autobiography route when it comes to book deals, and there is often more than a hint of self-promotion to it all, it is refreshing and inspiring that Rashford, still a young man himself, has chosen to extend his genuine interest in, and fight for, young people by writing a book aimed specifically at them. There’s no ego or self-importance here; Rashford uses his voice and his power not to explore his own life but to help young people explore theirs. His role matters only in as much as he is reaching out and encouraging others. And how encouraging it is for young people to have an England and Manchester United star taking the time and interest in them, to feel a connection with and be understood by a footballing hero. It’s one thing parents, teachers and guardians trying to inspire young minds, but a bona fide superstar is quite another – I know who I’d be inclined to listen to as a football-mad youngster! And that Marcus Rashford has chosen to use his voice in this way is a real testament to him and his values. Wouldn’t it be great if other footballers, sports stars and celebrities took up the baton too?

Jade Craddock

(Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books – Main Market edition. July 2022. Paperback: 224 pages)


Buy the book here:Marcus Rashford

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1992 to 2022 was a period like no other for West Ham United.

Taking in the rise of the Premier League, promotion, relegation, European nights and so much more, Daniel Hurley looks at key moments in West Ham’s recent history from a fan’s perspective, remembering joy and despair in equal measure along his journey as a football supporter from child to adult.

The Games That Made Us is the story of an unforgettable period in West Ham’s history told through the club’s 50 most important matches over the past 30 years, with each game put into context and the consequences examined.

From Dicks to Di Canio, Harewood to Antonio, Redknapp to Allardyce, The Games That Made Us tells tales of last-minute winners and last-second heartbreak, of trips to Cardiff, 5-4 victories and 4-2 defeats, plus more matches against Wimbledon than you would expect.

Find out how a former manager once gave Daniel a transfer exclusive, why his son’s first game was possibly the worst debut in history and why John Hartson ruined his 14th birthday.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. August 2022. Hardcover: 352 pages)


Have you ever wondered how football finds its star players?

Uncover the inner workings of English football’s talent hotbeds in this captivating book.

For decades working-class northern towns have churned out players – places like Huyton, a town of just over 33,000 that has produced the likes of Steven Gerrard, David Nugent, Peter Reid, Joey Barton and Tony Hibbert.

However, the emergence of south London as a new talent hotbed is equally as exciting with a new generation of players coming through – Jadon Sancho, Wilf Zaha, Joe Gomez and Joe Aribo among others.

Players produced here are like nothing seen before in England.

Bringing together thoughts, ideas and exclusive interviews with those involved at every level of the game – from the south London estate cages to the Premier League and Europe’s elite – this book unearths the secrets of two of England’s biggest talent hotbeds that represent the past, present and future of English football.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. August 2022. Hardcover: 224 pages)


Like most young boys, Malcolm Christie grew up dreaming of becoming a professional footballer.

Rejected by his hometown club Peterborough United and working at Somerfield supermarket, playing amateur football at 19, Malcolm thought the moment had passed him by.

But dreams do come true.

Just months after he was stacking shelves, Malcolm was playing for Derby County in the Premier League. International honours and a big money move to Middlesbrough followed as Malcolm became one of English footballs brightest prospects until a succession of injuries led to a premature end of his promising football career.

The Reality of the Dream chronicles the amazing story of Malcolm Christie’s journey to become the only person in history to go straight from non-league to scoring in the Premier League and representing his country without ever joining a professional academy.

Sad, funny and often emotional, Malcolm’s unique tale provides a brutally honest insight into the reality of life as a footballer, an injured footballer and worse – a retired footballer.

(Publisher: Morgan Lawrence Publishing Services. June 2022. Paperback: 248 pages)