Cross British Sports Book Awards: Bill Jones, Chris Waters, Stewart Taylor and Nick Townsend take on headline names

  • Triple nomination for Roy Keane bestseller

  • Bobby Moore: The Man in Full also named in three categories

  • Trueman author Waters in contention with 10 for 10

  • Townsend's The Sure Thing stands out among racing books

The shortlists for the 2015 British Sports Book Awards include some predictable nominations as well as some that did not make the bestseller lists but win some well deserved recognition.

Familiar titles include The Second Half, the memoir penned on Roy Keane's behalf by Booker Prize-winning novelist Roddy Doyle, which is nominated in three categories.

Other well-known names among this year's 10 categories include rugby stars Brian O’Driscoll, whose The Test is shortlisted for  Rugby Book of the Year and Autobiography sections, and Gareth Thomas, also nominated in Rugby and Autobiography for Proud, on which he collaborated with Michael Calvin, whose own book, The Nowhere Men, won the Football category and the vote for overall Sports Book of the Year in 2014.

Motorcycling champion and TV presenter Guy Martin, whose autobiography was one of the publishing sensations of 2014, makes the Autobiography shortlist along with Ryder Cup golfer Ian Poulter and two cycling champions, Tour de France winner Chris Froome and Olympic champion Nicola Cooke.

No surprise either to see Matt Dickinson's excellent biography Bobby Moore: The Man in Full nominated in the Biography, Football and Outstanding General Writing categories, or for Peter Oborne's Wounded Tiger: The History of Cricket in Pakistan, to make the Cricket section.
Pleasingly, there are several authors in the running whose books did not attract such attention but are no less worthy of their place among the candidates.

These include Chris Waters, cricket correspondent of The Yorkshire Post, who won Cricket Book of the Year in 2012 for his excellent biography of Fred Trueman and is shortlisted in that grouping for 10 for 10: Hedley Verity and the Story of Cricket's Greatest Bowling Feat.

Bill Jones, who was Best New Writer in 2012 for Ghost Runner, is nominated in the Biography and Outstanding General Writing lists for Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry.

John Carlin, a fine journalist with expertise in politics and sport and an intimate knowledge of Spain and South Africa, is nominated in the Biography category for his portrait of Oscar Pistorius, from his remarkable rise to his dramatic fall.

The Biography nominations also include the late Jonathan Rendall's posthumously published Scream: The Tyson Tapes, based on a manuscript for a full biography of world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson that he never completed, which was discovered in a bin bag of his possessions after his death.

David Goldblatt's The Game of Our Lives is another that stands out among those put forward in the Outstanding General Writing category.  Goldblatt presents a history of football in post-Thatcher Britain, based on his own personal observations as well as much detailed research, in what is a superbly crafted analysis of the game, where it has been and where it is now, set in a socio-economic as well as sporting context.

Special mention needs to be made, too, in the Horse Racing category of Nick Townsend's The Sure Thing: The Greatest Coup in Horse Racing History, in which he tells the story of renowned gambler Barney Curley, who took the bookmakers for £300,000 with a famous coup in 1975, and who decided 35 years later he would plan another spectacular event, this time collecting close to £4 million.

And last but not least there is Stuck in a Moment: The Ballad of Paul Vaessen, the Arsenal player who scored one of the most famous goals in the club's history at the age of 18 but then suffered a career-ending injury, which forced him out of the game and into a life of drug addiction and petty crime that led to his death, penniless, at just 39.  Stewart Taylor's superbly researched and beautifully written portrait puts him in the running for New Writer of the Year, in which Night Games, which won the 2014 William Hill Sports Book of the Year prize for Australian author Anna Klein, is also a contender.

For the first time in the awards’ 13 years history there will be an award for Cycling Book of the Year, recognising the huge rise in sports writing in this area. Among the contenders for this award are Richard Moore’s Étape, Ned Boulting’s 101 Damnations, and The Race Against the Stasi by Herbie Sykes.

The awards have a new sponsor this year in Cross, the makers of high quality writing instruments.  Winners will be announced at a ceremony hosted by BBC Cricket Correspondent Jonathan Agnew at Lord’s Cricket Ground on Wednesday, June 3.  An hour-long highlights show will be shown on Sky Sports after June 7.

The shortlists in full:


Guy Martin: My Autobiography, by Guy Martin (Virgin Books)
No Limits: My Autobiography, by Ian Poulter (Quercus)
Proud: My Autobiography, by Gareth Thomas (Ebury Press)
The Breakaway: My Story, by Nicole Cooke (Simon & Schuster)
The Climb: The Autobiography, by Chris Froome (Viking)
The Second Half, by Roy Keane with Roddy Doyle (W & N)


Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry  by Bill Jones (Bloomsbury)
Bobby Moore: The Man in Full, by Matt Dickinson (Yellow Jersey)
Chase Your Shadow: The Trials of Oscar Pistorius, by John Carlin (Atlantic Books)
One Day as A Tiger: Alex Macintyre and the Birth of Light and Fast Alpinism, by John Porter (Vertebrate Books)
Scream: The Tyson Tapes, by Jonathan Rendall (Short Books)
Shadows on the Road: Life at the Heart of the Peloton, from US Postal to Team Sky, by Michael Barry (Faber & Faber)


Bobby Moore: The Man in Full, by Matt Dickinson (Yellow Jersey)
I Don't Know What It Is But I Love It: Liverpool's Unforgettable 1983-84 Season, by Tony Evans (Penguin)
The Boy in Brazil: Living, Loving and Learning in the Land of Football, by Seth Burkett (Floodlit Dreams)
Fergie Rises: How Britain's Greatest Football Manager Was Made At Aberdeen, by Michael Grant (Aurum Press)
The Second Half, by Roy Keane with Roddy Doyle (W & N)
Thirty-One Nil: On the Road With Football's Outsiders, by James Montague (Bloomsbury)
In Search of Duncan Ferguson: The Life and Crimes of a Footballing Enigma, by Alan Pattullo (Mainstream)


Beyond the Horizon: Extreme Adventures at the Edge of the World, by Richard Parks (Sphere)
Behind the Rose: Playing Rugby for England, by Stephen Jones and Nick Cain (Arena Sport)
The Test: My Autobiography, by Brian O’Driscoll
Proud: My Autobiography, by Gareth Thomas (Ebury Press)
The Secret Life of Twickenham: The Story of Rugby Union's Iconic Fortress, The Players, Staff and Fans, by Chris Jones (Aurum Press)
Undefeated - The Story of the 1974 Lions, by Rhodri Davies (Y Lolfa Cyf)


10 for 10: Hedley Verity and the Story of Cricket's Greatest Bowling Feat, by Chris Waters (Wisden)
Britain's Lost Cricket Festivals: The Idyllic Club Grounds that Will Never Again Host the World's Best Players, by Chris Arnot (Aurum Press)
Field of Shadows: The English Cricket Tour of Nazi Germany 1937, by Dan Waddell (Bantam Press)
The Final Over: The Cricketers of Summer 1914, by Christopher Sandford (History Press)
Wisden on the Great War: The Lives of Cricket's Fallen 1914-1918, edited by Andrew Renshaw (Wisden)
Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan, by Peter Oborne (Simon & Schuster)


Burrough Hill Lad: The Making of a Champion Racehorse, by Gavan Naden and Max Riddington (Chequered Flag Books)
Cheltenham et AL: The Best of Alastair Down, by Alastair Down (Racing Post Books)
If Horses Could Talk, by Gary Witheford (Racing Post Books)
McCoy: In the Frame, by Edward Whitaker (Racing Post Books)
The Sure Thing: The Greatest Coup in Horse Racing History, by Nick Townsend (Century)
William Hill: The Man & The Business, by Graham Sharpe with Mihir Bose (Racing Post Books)


Climbs and Punishment, by Felix Lowe (Corgi)
Etape: The untold stories of the Tour de France's defining stages, by Richard Moore (HarperSport)
Gironimo!: Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy, by Tim Moore (Yellow Jersey)
Great British Cycling: The History of British Bike Racing, by Ellis Bacon (Bantam Press)
The Race Against the Stasi: The Incredible Story of Dieter Wiedemann, The Iron Curtain and The Greatest Cycling Race on Earth, by Herbie Sykes (Aurum Press)
101 Damnations: Dispatches from the 101st Tour de France, by Ned Boulting (Yellow Jersey)


Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry, by Bill Jones (Bloomsbury)
Bobby Moore: The Man in Full, by Matt Dickinson (Yellow Jersey)
The Second Half, by Roy Keane with Roddy Doyle (W & N)
O, Louis: In Search of Louis van Gaal, by Hugo Borst (Yellow Jersey)
The Game of Our Lives: The Meaning and Making of English Football, by David Goldblatt (Penguin)
The Race Against the Stasi: The Incredible Story of Dieter Wiedemann, The Iron Curtain and The Greatest Cycling Race on Earth, by Herbie Sykes (Aurum Press)


Driven, by Toby Vintcent (Moreton Street Books)
Finding My Feet: Claire Lomas, by Claire Lomas (Claire Lomas)
Night Games: Sex, Power and a Journey into the Dark Heart of Sport, by Anna Krien (Yellow Jersey)
Salt, Sweat, Tears: The Men Who Rowed the Oceans, by Adam Rackley (Viking)
Sol Campbell - The Authorised Biography, by Simon Astaire (Spellbinding Media)
Stuck in a Moment: The Ballad of Paul Vaessen, by Stewart Taylor (CGR Books)


The Age of Innocence. Football in the 1970s, edited byReuel Golden (Taschen)
The Arsenal Shirt: The History of the Iconic Gunners Jersey Told Through an Extraordinary Collection of Match Worn Shirts, by James Elkin and Simon Shakeshaft (Vision Sports Publishing)
The Art of Sports Photography, by Marc Aspland (Prestel)
Formula One Circuits From Above, by Bruce Jones (Carlton Books)
Golf’s Royal Clubs, by Scott Macpherson (R & A)
Parkrun: A Celebration, by Paul Warrington, Rob Kemp, Julian Ward and Paul Duke (Parkrun Press)



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