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Football Books: News and Reviews


Archive for ‘World football’


Winter/spring news 0

Posted on March 02, 2012 by samh

There were lots of trivia/fun books released at the beginning of 2012, including The Football Grounds Quiz Book: 250 Questions on Football Stadium History, by Kevin Snelgrove, 101 Things That Get Our Goat: About Football, by Rick Holden and Dave Moore, and The Football Lover’s Companion, by Johnny Morgan. Among the new biographies were The Didi Man, by Dietmar Hamann.

One of the most interesting of the recent crop of new football books, though, is the acclaimed Up Pohnpei, by Paul Watson, which is rather lengthily subtitled “A quest to reclaim the soul of football by leading the world’s ultimate underdogs to glory.” It tells the tale of two Brits who coached the worst football team in the world to their first ever victory. The island of Pohnpei is a small dot in the Pacific ocean with a population of 36,000 people. It’s one of the wettest places on earth and two thirds of the population suffers from obesity. But, Matt and Paul helped overturn the “worst team in the world” moniker by coaching them to their first victory, avenging a 16-1 defeat to neighbouring island, Guam, ten years before.

The pair were on Soccer AM recently talking about the book, and are making a film about their adventures – see the trailer here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2028948731/the-soccermen.

Keep a lookout here for more updates – hopefully we’ll be able to report on the book and future projects soon. The film project needs to raise $35,000, so do visit the Kickstarter website to find out more.

The Unofficial Football World Championships: An Alternative Soccer History 0

Posted on September 01, 2011 by samh

The Unofficial Football World Championships: An Alternative Soccer History, by Paul Brown (2006)

This book reveals an alternative international soccer competition and claims to discover football’s real champions.

Football fans facing the prospect of waiting four years to see their side make another early exit from the next World Cup finals need not despair.

The UFWC determines football’s world champions via a continuous series of boxing-style title matches dating back to the first ever international game in 1872, 58 years before the first World Cup. This book is an official guide to this unofficial competition, its matches, players, and stats. Read more…

A Game of Two Halves: A Collection of the World’s Greatest Football Writing 0

Posted on September 01, 2011 by samh

A Game of Two Halves: A Collection of the World’s Greatest Football Writing, edited by Stephen F Kelly (1992)

Apart from the clichéd title, this book includes some first-class writing and is thoughtfully compiled in sections dedicated to all aspects of football.

Editor Kelly shows a keen eye for good writing, choosing some writers not widely known for writing about football. George Orwell’s famous attack on international sport, The Sporting Spirit, is included, as are short works by Albert Camus, Ted Hughes, Alan Sillitoe, H. E. Bates, Harold Pinter and J. B. Priestley. There’s even a football-related extract from Hancock’s Half Hour. Read more…

Sightlines: A Stadium Odyssey 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Sightlines: A Stadium Odyssey, by Simon Inglis (2001)

Self-confessed stadium addict Simon Inglis pursues his obsession to bring us the weird and wonderful worlds of usherettes at the Houston Astrodome, competing architects in Australia, angry neighbours in Auckland and wistful groundsmen in Bombay.

Watching live sport as a regular spectator is all very well, reckons Inglis. But stadiums are far more interesting because in a stadium, whether it be a cathedral of sport or a collection of sheds in the back end of town, you can tune in to the mood of a nation or a community. Read more…

Posts, by Neville Gabie 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Posts, by Neville Gabie (1999)

This book is a collection of full-colour photographs of football goalposts around the world, taken by sculptor and photographer Neville Gabie.

The improvised structures that have been put up, sometimes in the most unlikely landscapes, occasionally become things of startling and original beauty. Gabie photographed posts in many countries: the deserts of Namibia, the urban wasteland of a Polish city and half-submerged in flooded Gloucestershire fields.

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Post-fandom and the Millennial Blues: The Transformation of Soccer Culture 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Post-fandom and the Millennial Blues: The Transformation of Soccer Culture, by Steve Redhead (1997)

Football fandom has traditionally been seen as an important part of adolescent, generally male, identity-making.

In this timely and important contribution to the field of popular cultural studies, Steve Redhead looks at the way youth culture is being reshaped by media culture in its various aspects at the end of the millennium. Read more…

Pele: The Autobiography 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

Pele: The Autobiography (2006)

The world’s greatest footballer gives us the full story of his incredible life and career.

Told with his characteristic grace and modesty, but covering all aspects of his playing days and his subsequent careers as politician, international sporting ambassador and cultural icon, this is an essential volume for all sports fans, and anyone who admires true rarity of spirit.

Pele was the best of a generation of Brazilian players universally acknowledged as the most accomplished and attractive group of footballers ever to play the game. He won the World Cup three times and is Brazil’s all-time record goalscorer. But how did this man – a sportsman, a mere footballer, like many others – become a global icon? Was it just by being the best at what he did, or do people respond to some other quality? These questions and more are answered in this entertaining autobiography.

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The Passion and the Fashion: Football Fandom in the New Europe 0

Posted on August 29, 2011 by samh

The Passion and the Fashion: Football Fandom in the New Europe, edited by Steve Redhead (1993)

This book was one of the first to analyse the changing culture of the soccer terrace.

Commentators are now as likely to refer to the carnival or “party” atmosphere at football matches as violence and disorder. This does not mean that “football hooliganism” – as the media labelled it for the past 30 years – has somehow disappeared. Read more…

John Charles: Gentle Giant 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

John Charles: Gentle Giant, by Mario Risoli (2003)

In Italy, where John Charles played for Juventus and Roma, he was known as Il Gigante Buono – the Gentle Giant – because of his placid temperament.

In a playing career of 21 years, he was never booked. One of the greatest footballers Britain has ever produced, Charles left his native Swansea at 16 to join Leeds United, where he was switched from defence to attack. The Yorkshire club reached the First Division for the first time in its history thanks to Charles’s phenomenal strike ratio of a goal every other game. Read more…

The Italian Job, by Gianluca Vialli and Gabriele Marcotti 0

Posted on August 28, 2011 by samh

The Italian Job, by Gianluca Vialli and Gabriele Marcotti (2006)

Former Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli, in conjunction with sportswriter and broadcaster Gabriele Marcotti, tackles the debate about how the characteristics of England and Italy affect the game of football in the two soccer-mad nations.

Do the national stereotypes of Italians as passionate, stylish lotharios and the English as cold-hearted eccentrics still hold true when they kick a ball around? The authors provide a fascinating and often controversial commentary on where football is now and where it is headed, and they have invited some of the biggest names in the sport to join in their discussion.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Fabio Capello and Marcello Lippi, among others, add their not inconsiderable weight to the debate, which looks at every aspect of football, be it tactical and technical or cultural and sociological.

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