Showing posts from 2015

Books for Christmas: A Sports Bookshelf selection of gift idea for the sports fan

What can be recommended as a Christmas stocking filler from 2015's crop of sports books? Given the whiff of corruption rising pungently from the upper echelons of athletics and football, this may not be a good Christmas to celebrate the glories of contemporary sport.  As an antidote to unwelcome scandals, there is always the memory of more innocent days to fall back on and this year there are several absorbing diversions. Football romantics, particularly those with ties in Nottingham and Manchester, have a couple of gems to take them back. Evocative of a wonderful moment in the history of the English game is I Believe In Miracles: The Remarkable Story of Brian Clough's European Cup-winning Team (Headline), a superb reconstruction by Daniel Taylor of the rise, in the late 1970s, of Nottingham Forest from Midland mediocrities to double European Cup winners under a manager of unconventional genius, Brian Clough. Taylor's interviews with many of the principal chara

The Summerbee, Bell and Lee years: new book revisits Manchester City's other golden era under Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison

Forever Boys: The Days of Citizens and Heroes, by James Lawton (Wisden Sports Writing) £18.99 Jim Lawton's disappearance from the pages of The Independent has been mourned by many whose reading experience was enriched by the depth and elegance of his prose as he described the great moments in sport from around the world. Happily, freed from the requirement to deliver a daily commentary -- not that he ever saw it as a chore -- Lawton has had time to research and write a fine book that has taken him back to the beginnings of his career as a national newspaper sports writer in Manchester, when he was privileged to report on the emergence from United's shadows of the Manchester City side managed by the venerable Joe Mercer and coached by his assistant, the maverick Malcolm Allison, who between them oversaw the creation of a brief but brilliantly golden period for the sky blue half of Lancashire's great city. It might be argued that, in many respects, there has never

The Game of Our Lives beats strong field to take William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2015 prize for David Goldblatt

David Goldblatt mimicked the reaction of Sir Alex Ferguson to winning the Champions League with Manchester United in 1999 after his book was named William Hill Sports Book of the Year for 2015. On receiving the award at a ceremony at BAFTA in central London, Goldblatt said: “In the words of Sir Alex Ferguson: sports writing, bloody hell.” Goldblatt’s The Game of Our Lives: The Meaning and Making of English Football took the £27,000 prize ahead of a strong field from which twice past winner Donald McRae's A Man's World and Andy Bull's Speed Kings were both highly commended. The Game of Our Lives examines how football affects urban identities from the biggest cities to the smallest towns, how a successful team can spark economic regeneration and describes how a sport that seemed to reflect urban decline only a few decades ago is now an economic phenomenon that has boomed even in times of wider recession. Chairman of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year judging

Counting down to William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2015 Announcement

The winner of the 2015 William Hill Sports Book of the Year will be revealed at a lunchtime ceremony at BAFTA in London on Thursday.  Here is a reminder of the six titles shortlisted for the award. Speed Kings: The 1932 Winter Olympics and the Fastest Men in the World , by Andy Bull (Bantam Press) The early days of bobsleigh were dominated by rich and adventurous young men drawn to the thrill of hurtling along sheer ice tracks at breakneck speeds, typified by the disparate group that came together to win the four-man bob titles for America at the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1932.  Andy Bull traces their back stories in a tale of loose living, risk taking and hell raising from a golden age of decadence. "Hollywood stars, politicians, royalty, gangsters and other denizens of the demi-monde – hedonists and hucksters, harlots and heroes – flicker through a well-paced narrative," wrote Richard Williams in The Guardian , commenting that although none of the quartet survi

Authors on the platform: star line-up at London Festival of Sports Writing 2015

A host of authors will be discussing their books at the London Festival of Sports Writing, which takes place at Lord's Cricket Ground from Thursday (November 12) to Sunday this week. This is the third year of this new festival dedicated to the best in sports writing, jointly hosted by David Luxton Associates and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) with the support of media partner London Evening Standard. The four-day celebration kicks off on Thursday with cricket, football and tennis on the agenda for the opening day. Among the authors appearing will be Richard Tomlinson, author of Amazing Grace: The Man Who was W.G. , William Skidelsky, author of Federer and Me: A Story of Obsession . Tomlinson will sit down with Lawrence Booth, editor of Wisden, and Jonathan Rice, who compiled Wisden on Grace , to discuss the legacy of the great W. G. on the 100th anniversary of his death in the company of Richard Whitehead, editor of The Times on the Ashes . Skidelsky will talk about his