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A Paul Rance Article On The Football Books That Were Selling Like The Proverbial Hot Cakes In 2005-06

 : Fowler: My Autobiography

Robbie Fowler's recent move back to Liverpool, from Manchester City, may be a major factor in his autobiography being the best selling sport-related book at at the moment.

Liverpool supporters seem to be doing a lot of reading these dark nights, with two Rafael Benitez books, Phil Thompson's 'Stand Up Pinnochio' (worth buying for the title alone!), and ''The Miracle of Istanbul: Liverpool FC, from Paisley to Benitez' all selling well.

 : Alan Shearer: Captain Fantastic

Alan Shearer passing Jackie Milburn's Newcastle goalscoring record won't harm 'Alan Shearer: Captain Fantastic' sales, and Jose (I'd like to see how miserable he'd look if Chelsea were struggling) Mourinho has a couple of books about him doing well.

Man United legend George Best was probably Britain's greatest-ever footballer, and West Ham and England's greatest-ever captain, Bobby Moore, was not far behind. These 1960s/1970s footballing icons both have books in the bestseller lists. Bobby's book has an interesting author, his ex-wife, Tina.

Books about players from the 1960s and 1970s seem to be as popular as books about modern stars, with Colin Bell, Colin Harvey, Jimmy Greaves, and Peter Shilton all doing well in the Man City, Everton, Spurs, and Nottingham Forest lists, respectively. The Forest list is full of biographies on real characters, with books about Brian Clough and Stuart Pearce flying high.

 : Colin Bell - Reluctant Hero: The Autobiography of a Manchester City and England Legend

It's Arsenal's final season at Highbury, and it's not surprising a book about this great old stadium is doing so well in the Arsenal lists.

In the Leeds list, it's a fan's fanatical devotion to the club which is in the top spot, and for Villa it's Dave Woodhall's 'The Little Book of Aston Villa'.

North of the border the mouthful of a title, 'Bhoys, Bears and Bigotry: Rangers, Celtic and the Old Firm in the New Age of Globalised Sport' is high in both the Celtic and Rangers lists.

For those interested in great non-British clubs, Real Madrid and Hungary great, Ferenc Puskas, and Barcelona and Holland wizard, Johan Cruyff, have books about them doing well. A book about Ajax's much vaunted training methods is the bestseller on their list.

- Paul Rance,


Club Honours, Football Books, DVDs, and more (by club)
Aston Villa
Birmingham City
Blackburn Rovers
Bolton Wanderers
Bradford City
Brighton & Hove Albion
Bristol City
Cardiff City
Charlton Athletic
Coventry City
Crystal Palace
Derby County
Dundee United
Huddersfield Town
Hull City
Ipswich Town
Leeds United
Leicester City
Luton Town
Manchester City
Manchester United
Newcastle United
Norwich City
Nottingham Forest
Notts County
Oxford United
Plymouth Argyle
Preston North End
Queens Park Rangers
Real Madrid
Sheffield United
Sheffield Wednesday
Stoke City
Swansea City
Swindon Town
Tottenham Hotspur
West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
Wigan Athletic
Wolverhampton Wanderers


Roy Keane

Roy Keane
Author: Roy Keane, Eamon Dunphy Review
The most talked about, written about and argued over sports autobiography of 2002, Keane: the Autobiography does not disappoint. This story of Manchester United and Ireland captain Roy Keane's brilliant and controversial career, written in collaboration with Irish journalist and former professional footballer Eamon Dunphy, crackles with score-settling vigour.

It presents a revisionist view of a life in football that has had tabloid editors rubbing their hands with glee almost from the moment the fiery, confrontational midfielder made his British debut for Nottingham Forest under arch eccentric Brian Clough right through to his sensational bust-up with international boss Mick McCarthy and subsequent departure from the 2002 Irish World Cup squad on the eve of the finals.

Amid all the wrangling and point-scoring Dunphy and Keane have written a rags-to-riches review of Keane's journey from a poor, battling background in Cork to the £50k a week highlife at Old Trafford. It's very entertaining, although an independent biographer would doubtless have put a less heroic spin on proceedings.

The two key headline-grabbing stories--the war with McCarthy and the allegedly deliberate injuring of Alfie Haaland--read somewhat differently in the book from the way they did in the papers. Make no mistake about it, Keane is frank about his own failings, franker about the failings of others and prepared to spill the beans to some extent about being the odd-man-out in the Old Trafford glam-fest. But this is very much his side of the story. --Alex Hankin

A publishing phenomenon in hardback, Roy Keane's autobiography was the biggest selling sports book of the year. The book will include a new chapter covering events that followed the books publication: Keane's vindication by the FAI report; the punishment meted out by the FA and Mick McCarthy's resignation. Brilliantly reviewed, Roy Keane's riveting, brutally honest autobiography has the potential to be one of the year's biggest paperback bestsellers.


The Second Half
Roy Keane

Roy Keane's updated autobiography. Essential bedtime reading for anyone brave enough! - P.R.


Alan Ball

Playing Extra Time
Author: Alan Ball

Synopsis (obviously written before's Alan's untimely death)
Alan Ball always wanted to be the best. Small in stature, red-haired and fiery, Alan was one of the most recognisable players of his generation. Fans on the terraces and team mates immediately took to his whole-hearted enthusiasm and never-say-die attitude. Alan is a fighter - from overcoming his diminutive size to become a professional player and the youngest member of the 1966 England squad, to the rejection he repeatedly faced as a club manager. In 2004 Alan faced the toughest battle of his life. His wife Lesley lost her fight with cancer. From the moment their daughter was diagnosed, to the shocking realisation that Lesley also had the disease; Alan learnt to cope in the face of insurmountable odds. His hugely successful playing and managerial career that took him to Everton, Arsenal, Manchester City, and two World Cups with England took a back seat to the real test of character brought about by the illness of his loved ones. Now Alan is learning to live life without his beloved Lesley, while continuing to support his daughter whose cancer is in remission. 'I have never stopped fighting but now I am on a different playing field - this has been the biggest fight of my life.' This is an autobiography that transcends football - a story that is both inspirational and deeply moving.


Brilliant Orange
Author: David Winner Review

"1974 was actually very painful to us all," says Dutch psychoanalyst Anna Enquist. "We can't admit to ourselves that something can be so important. But it matters very much. There is still a deep, unresolved trauma about 1974. It's a very living pain, like an unresolved crime."

En Vincent zag het koren
En Einstein het getal
En Zeppelin de Zeppelin
En Johan zag de bal

(And Vincent saw the corn
And Einstein the number
And Zeppelin the Zeppelin
And Johan saw the ball)
--Dutch cabaret song

The intellectualisation of football has always foundered on a simple problem--the players. Doing all your most rewarding thinking with your feet seems to dull the philosophical impulse. Unless, of course, you are Dutch. According to legend, Europeans played a moronic, muscular version of the world's game, until Holland proclaimed its vision of total football in the 1974 World Cup, and enlightenment dawned.

In Brilliant Orange--the neurotic genius of Dutch football, journalist David Winner explores his personal fascination with the land that gave the world Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Johan Cruyff--searching for reasons why such a tiny country has produced some of football's most intelligent, enigmatic and unfulfilled teams.

Winter talks with the players, past and present--including Johnny Rep and Ruud Krol from the losing World Cup Final sides of 1974 and 1978--uncovering their personal experience of the public triumphs and disasters. But it is the breadth of his enquiry into what it may mean to be Dutch--reconciling a colonial past with a multi-cultural present; living with the memories of wartime occupation and collaboration; the tensions between a fiercely individualistic, libertarian spirit and the principles of communality--that makes this such an extraordinary and wonderful book. --Alex Hankin

'Winner paints a suitably glowing picture...Ambitious and impressive'

My Father and Other Working Class Football Heroes
Author: Gary Imlach


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