Showing posts from October, 2014

Bobby Moore: new biography delves beyond the veneer of England's World Cup superhero

In the eyes of his most fervent admirers, Bobby Moore enjoys the status of a deity, his greatness only enhanced by the passage of time and what feels like a forever diminishing likelihood that another England captain will reach the pinnacle Moore attained at Wembley on 30 July, 1966. Some, therefore, have not welcomed Matt Dickinson's new biography of their hero with particular enthusiasm, given the sides of Moore he revealed. Rob Shepherd, the Mail Online football columnist, took exception even with the choice of cover picture: "The image makes England’s original golden boy look more like an east London gangster of the Sixties than an icon of whom Pele said was the best, and most handsome, English footballer he had ever seen or played against."  Throughout his playing career and the life that followed, one that was terminated all too prematurely by cancer, Moore's inherent modesty and reserve enabled him to build and maintain an aura of benign mystery, al

Shortlist announced for William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2014

The shortlist for the 2014 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award was announced today. After deliberating over the 15 titles named on the longlist at the end of last month, the judges have whittled the field down to seven.  The winner will be announced on November 27.  The shortlisted titles are: Bobby Moore: The Man in Full, by Matt Dickinson (Yellow Jersey Press), in which Times journalist Dickinson explores the sometimes dark personal story behind the sporting success of the World Cup captain. Played in London: Charting the Heritage of a City at Play, by Simon Inglis (English Heritage), in which the author combines his rich knowledge of sport and architecture in a fascinating and wonderfully illustrated history of sport in the capital through the places it has been played. Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry, by Bill Jones (Bloomsbury). Writer and documentary maker Bill Jones charts the brilliant, troubled and tragically short life of Olympic skating champio

Impressive cast of top authors appearing at four-day London Festival of Sports Writing

Lord's cricket ground this week hosts an event the organisers hope will become an important annual fixture on the sports books calendar as the home of cricket stages the London Festival of Sports Writing for the second time. A host of authors will take part in four days of fascinating conversation over a series of talks, panel discussions, book signings and masterclasses. Top-of-the-bill Roy Keane's appearance on Saturday evening, when he will be discussing his hard-hitting new autobiography, The Second Half, with co-author Roddy Doyle has already sold out, but there plenty of other opportunities to listen to other authors talking about their work. Brian Moore, the former England and Lions hooker, appears on tomorrow's programme with the Mail on Sunday's Alison Kervin to discuss his latest book, What Goes on Tour Stays on Tour, due out next month, a memoir that happily promises not to live up to its title. Moore, now a columnist and pundit, won the 2010 Wil

Stuck in a Moment: tragic story of Arsenal star Paul Vaessen brilliantly told in new biography

Football is not short of poignant tales of players struck down by injury in their prime, potential unfulfilled, dreams left slowly to evaporate.  Yet it is difficult to imagine one quite so desperately sad as the story of Paul Vaessen, which is retold with great feeling and skill by Stewart Taylor in a brilliant biography. In a career that comprised only 39 first-team appearances, Vaessen scored nine goals for Arsenal, but one of them ensured him a permanent place in the club's history, when he came on as substitute in a European Cup-Winners' Cup semi-final against Juventus in Turin and scored the goal, with two minutes remaining, that put Arsenal into the final, 2-1 on aggregate.  It was the first time the Italian team had lost at home to a British opponent.  Vaessen was an 18-year-old forward suddenly with the world at his feet. Scarcely two years later, after three operations, a knee ligament injured suffered in a north London derby forced him to retire, not yet 21.  

Keane story nudging ahead of Pietersen in battle of the sports biography big hitters

You have to hand it to Roy Keane, he has done his best to steal a few headlines from Kevin Pietersen after the two most controversial sports books of the year appeared in the shops on the same day this week. After sitting back and allowing KP the first round of media calls ahead of the publication of KP: The Autobiography ,  Keane made the most of his chance with a powerful response at the launch of Roy Keane: The Second Half. Both books are already selling in thousands, with online retailer Amazon this afternoon placing them at second and third in their bestsellers chart, with Keane nudging just in front of the former England cricketer.  Only Awful Auntie, a children's novel written by David Walliams, is currently attracting more sales. Keane's big selling point is his scrap with Sir Alex Ferguson, from whom he famously parted on bitter terms after 12 years of enormous success at Old Trafford and who he claims fed deliberate lies to the media in order to discredit hi

If somehow you didn't catch a KP interview, pop along to Cheltenham on Sunday

Just in case anyone has somehow failed to see or hear any of the Kevin Pietersen's interviews promoting his book -- or more accurately giving several former teammates and coaches a good kicking -- there is a chance to witness his anger and dismay close up when the ostracised England batsman appears at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on Sunday (October 12). Pietersen will be talking about his colourful and controversial life and the elements of it that make up KP: The Autobiography in the company of his ghostwriter, the Sunday Times journalist David Walsh, in The Times Forum marquee in Montpellier Gardens. The event begins at 7.30pm and is due to last an hour and a quarter.  Tickets are available from the Festival's own website , priced at £16. Incidentally, setting aside the nature of the content, which will appeal to Pietersen's supporters and confirm to his detractors why they loathe him, the book is superbly written by Walsh, whose style perfectly captures P

Why Keano may have to content himself with sitting in Keven Pietersen's shadow

When Roy Keane's publishers chose this Thursday -- October 9 -- as the date to release the controversial client's new autobiography, did they not know that they were clashing with a certain Kevin Pietersen? If there is one person who could trump Keano for headline-making revelations, then it is KP. Pietersen's first major pre-publication interview appeared in the Daily Telegraph on Monday, prompting just about every national newspaper to clear their pages for the inevitable reaction. The Times have exclusive extracts to the Keane biography, The Second Half, which is ghosted, interestingly, by the Booker prize-winning Irish novelist Roddy Doyle, and give them due prominence. Elsewhere, however, he barely gets a look-in as cricket correspondents and chief sports writers get to grips with KP's revelations and the fall-out, which has already reached levels unprecedented in the long history of cricket books. Keane was helped when a Tesco store in Greater M

"10 for 10" named Book of the Year by the Cricket Writers' Club as Waters wins another award

Chris Waters, whose biography of Fred Trueman won three prestigious awards, has scored another hit with his excellent work on another Yorkshire cricketer, Hedley Verity. 10 for 10: Hedley Verity and the Story of Cricket’s Greatest Bowling Feat was named Book of the Year by the Cricket Writers’ Club at their annual members’ lunch at the Plaisterers’ Hall in London. The judges were impressed with the skill with which Waters was able recreate the atmosphere around cricket in Verity’s era, the 1930s, and in particular the match against Nottinghamshire at Headingley in July 1932 in which he took all 10 wickets to fall in the visitors’ second innings at a cost of only 10 runs, a world record analysis in first-class cricket that remains unsurpassed. While that great feat of bowling is the book’s centrepiece, Waters revisits Verity's past and takes the story on, beyond the outbreak of war that ended his career to his death in Italy in 1943 from wounds sustained in battle.  It is

Rugby star Gareth Thomas's autobiography Proud on longlist for 2014 William Hill Sports Book of the Year

The autobiography of Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas – the former captain of Wales and the British Lions and the highest-profile sportsman in the UK to come out as gay – is among 15 titles on the longlist for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2014. Thomas’s book Proud , published last month, tells the full story of his struggle with his sexuality, which he kept from his now ex-wife Jemma and teammates through much of his career, and how several times he contemplated taking his own life before deciding to make his homosexuality public in 2009. Biographies and autobiographies dominate the list, from which will be selected the 26th winner of the award, the most valuable and prestigious prize in sports literature. Mike Tyson‘s no-holds-barred Undisputed Truth is among them, alongside Alone , the story of the tragically short life of John Curry, the figure skater who had 20 million Britons glued to their TV sets as he changed the perception of ice skating from marginal sp