Showing posts from December, 2012

Pep Guardiola -- Christmas reading for Roman Abramovich and Sheikh Mansour?

SPORTS BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS: FOOTBALL BIOGRAPHIES No one would dispute Barcelona's status as the greatest club team of the century so far and two books in 2012 have gone a long way to explaining why the pride of Catalonia came to symbolise both power and artistry in football. Graham Hunter's Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World (Back Page Press) draws on the considerable knowledge of the club Scottish journalist Hunter has accumulated since deciding to base himself in Spain. Hunter was the only English-speaking  journalist to interview Pep Guardiola during his time as coach at the Nou Camp. Yet, perhaps inevitably, Hunter's admirable book is eclipsed by Pep Guardiola: Another Way of Winning (Orion), written by the Spanish journalist Guillem Balague -- who is based in England, as it happens. Balague, well known to English television viewers as one of the presenters of Spanish football on Sky Sports, won the trust of Guardiola in a way that no o

Wales and the Lions dominate rugby union's seasonal selection

SPORTS BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS: RUGBY UNION Christmas 2012 comes too early for the definitive story of the England rugby team's astounding victory over the All Blacks at Twickenham to make it into print but while that one waits to be written there are plenty of contenders for the rugby fan's wish list. They range from the year's bestseller, Jonny Wilkinson's Jonny: My Autobiography to Behind the Lions , a collection of stories that will whet the appetite for next summer's tour of Australia by the British and Irish Lions. Wilkinson's story, ghost written by Times journalist Owen Slot, made the longlist for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year for 2012 , both for the quality of the writing and the depth of the England fly-half's soul-searching.   Wilkinson has been a tortured soul, wracked by self-doubt, fearful of the future to the extent that, even in his career-defining moment, when his drop goal sealed England's historic World Cup victor