A darker side to the Trautmann legend

Bert Trautmann's place in Manchester City folklore was secured on May 8th, 1956, when an x-ray revealed that he had played the final 17 minutes of City's 3-1 victory over Birmingham in the FA Cup final at Wembley three days earlier with a broken bone in his neck.

The City goalkeeper had suffered the injury diving at the feet of the Birmingham inside left, Peter Murphy, yet made several saves in the minutes that followed. For the former German paratrooper, who had earned five military medals fighting for the enemy in World War Two, it was the moment that completed a journey to acceptance that had seemed impossible when 20,000 attended a demonstration opposing City's decision to sign him in 1949.
His life story was told by Alan Rowlands in a biography first published in 1990 and updated in 2005. Rowlands drew attention to Trautmann's involvement with the Hitler Youth movement and his evident commitment to Germany's cause but somehow managed not to diminish his standing in the eyes of City fans.
Now a new version of the Trautmann story, written by television producer Catrine Clay, addresses some of the questions Rowlands left unanswered. It is based on many interviews with Trautmann. now aged 86, and is written sympathetically, yet presents a portrait that many admirers may find less appealing.
Indeed, in his review in The Times, Howard Davies, who is the director of the London School of Economics when not indulging his passion for Manchester City, admitted that, while interesting, it was a book he wished he had never read.
"My father told me that Trautmann was a good German, not a Nazi... a gentle giant who never hurt a fly," Davies wrote. "The only problem is that none of the above description of his life is true."
According to Clay, Trautmann was an enthusiastic member of the Hitler Youth and volunteered for the Luftwaffe at 17, later witnessing the killing and burying of Jews in the Ukraine. Captured by the British on the Western Front, he wound up at a prisoner-of-war camp in the Manchester area, where he was classified as a Nazi supporter.
Clay, who produced her first BBC documentary in 1989 and has contributed several films to the Timewatch series, many dealing with aspects of Nazi Germany, does not mention Trautmann's signing for Manchester City until page 273, which means that the status of Trautmann's Journey: From Hitler Youth to FA Cup Legend as a sports book is questionable.
Nonetheless, many football fans will find it irresistible. It is published on April 1st by Yellow Jersey Press.

Buy Trautmann's Journey: From Hitler Youth to FA Cup Legend

See also: Trautmann by Alan Rowlands.



Can the 2010 World Cup deliver classic reads?

Nothing stirs a football writer's typing fingers quite like a World Cup and with 73 days to go before the 2010 finals kick off in Johannesburg if one thing is certain it is that the trees felled to supply the paper required by the publishing industry would cover many more football pitches than will be needed to play the month-long tournament.

Quantity, therefore, is guaranteed. Quality, of course, is another matter. The Sports Bookshelf will attempt to provide some guidance as to which books might have a shelf life beyond the final on July 11th.

At least half a dozen titles will hit the book shops on April 1st, including the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Official Book, edited by the former World Soccer magazine editor, Keir Radnedge.

Gabrielle Marcotti's authoritative study of England's head coach, first published as Capello: Portrait of a Winner, is repackaged by Bantam Books as Capello: The Man Behind England's World Cup Dream

And Brian Glanville's superb, definitive history of the competition, first published in 1973, has been given its customary update by the doyen of English football writers, reissued by Faber and Faber as The Story of the World Cup: The Essential Companion to South Africa, 2010 (World Cup 2010)

Glanville's book can be rightly described as a classic of the genre, as perhaps might Marcotti's, if nothing else but for the thoroughness of the research, underpinned by quality writing.

However, there is always room for a new perspective, and one almost certainly worth investigation comes from Gavin Newsham, a fine writer whose work has appeared in the Guardian, the Sunday Times, FHM and Maxim magazines among other places.

Newsham has acquired a highly respectable pedigree in sports writing. His biography of golfer John Daly, subtitled Letting the Big Dog Eat, won him the best new writer prize at the National Sporting Club awards in 2004, and he won praise for Once In a Lifetime, his story of the New York Cosmos side of the 1970s.

He turns his attention to football again in Hype and Glory: The Decline and Fall of the English National Football Team (Atlantic Books), which seeks to explain why, since 1966, every World Cup or European Championships for which England has qualified arrives on a wave of expectation only to be followed with disappointment.

Demonstrating his versatility, Newsham is the author of the junior guide to the World Cup, the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Fact File, also published on April 1st.

A history of Manchester United in green and gold

It is hard to imagine that anyone has a wider knowledge of West Ham than Brian Belton, born and brought up within five minutes of the Boleyn Ground and the author of more than a dozen books on the East End club.

But the 54-year-old college lecturer and youth worker continues to demonstrate interests beyond the claret and blue and the green and gold currently favoured by many Manchester United supporters is at the heart of his latest book, published today.

Red Dawn - Manchester United, in the beginning: From Newton Heath: 1 (Pennant Books) is an account of the beginnings of Manchester United as Newton Heath FC, whose green and gold colours have been symbolic of the protest against United's American owners, the Glazer family.

Belton's history charts the club's first three decades after Newton Heath FC was formed as a works team at the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot in what is now an urban area of Greater Manchester, around three miles north east of the city centre.

It is a history that might be seen to have parallels with today in that the birth of Manchester United in 1902 came about when Newton Heath, on the verge of going bust, was effectively bought out by a consortium of local businessmen, one of whom -- brewery owner John Henry Davies -- decided on the change of colours to red, white and black.

Belton's extensive portfolio also includes books on the bobsleigh triumph of Britain's Tony Nash and Robin Dixon at the Winter Olympics of 1964, the East End boxing legend Terry Baldock and the infamous Battle of Montevideo, when Celtic met Racing Club of Buenos Aires to decide the 1967 World Club Championship.


Brearley's classic work still relevant

It is 25 years since former England cricket captain Mike Brearley sought to explain what he knew about team leadership in his acclaimed work, the Art Of Captaincy.

The book was hailed as a tour de force from the man who led England to their breathtaking triumph in the Ashes series of 1981, having taken over the captaincy from Ian Botham.

The game has evolved in some ways beyond recognition since that glorious summer.  Brearley, meanwhile, has gone on to become a highly respected psychoanalyst and psychotherapist, but his thoughts on cricket still command enormous respect.

So much so, in fact, that Marcus Trescothick's preparations for his first season as Somerset's captain have included a consultation with Brearley.

Former England opening batsman Trescothick was only five in 1981 but believes there is still much he can learn from 67-year-old Brearley, who lost only four of his 31 matches as England skipper.

"Everyone talks about Brearley when he was captain of England and I will try and tap into anyone who has that sort of knowledge," Trescothick told the Bristol Evening Post.

With his analyst's hat on, Brearley would doubtless like to learn more about how Trescothick has tackled the psychological problems that dogged the latter stages of his own international career, which he described with such feeling in his commended book, Coming Back to Me: The Autobiography of Marcus Trescothick.

The Art of Captaincy was reprinted in 2001, with a foreword by the film director, Sam Mendes.


Tiger tales spark race to print

Tiger Woods' upcoming return to the golf course will be good news for authors Steve Helling and Robert Lusetich, who have been racing neck and neck to have their tales of the world number one's fall from grace hit the book shops.

So far, it seems that Helling, a Florida-based writer for People Magazine, might get to tee off first, although only by a matter of days.

Helling's Tiger: The Real Story (Da Capo Press) reckons to provide "a never-before-seen portrait" of the troubled star, drawn from interviews with "intimate sources, many speaking out for the first time".

Lusetich, a senior columnist for FoxSports.com who reported on Woods throughout 2009, describes how the player "built a public persona at odds with his private life" in his account,Unplayable: An Inside Account of Tiger's Most Tumultuous Season (Simon and Schuster).

The Helling version is due out on May 20th, a week ahead of Lusetich's. Click on the links to pre-order.

Woods is due to make his comeback at the Masters in Augusta on April 8th.


Tennis star's battle against depression

After Andre Agassi's confession that he hated tennis and took crystal meth at a low point in his life, another former tennis star is about to reveal that he battled with depression through much of his career.

Cliff Richey, who beat Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall among others to become the sport's first Grand Prix world champion in 1970, was the bad boy of tennis long before John McEnroe came along, his talent on the court often sullied by temper tantrums and general boorishness.

In Acing Depression, the Texan -- brother of one-time Australian and French Open champion Nancy Richey -- describes how his behaviour was a mask behind which he waged a lonely struggle against psychological problems that would sometimes drive him to black out the windows of his house and spend whole days in bed, crying.

Now 64, Richey's condition is under control and he devotes much energy to raising awareness of mental health issues. His book contributes to his campaign by describing his personal nightmare and how it was not until the eve of his 50th birthday that his illness was properly diagnosed and treatment allowed to begin.

In the foreword to Acing Depression, his friend Jimmy Connors, the former world number one, said that Richey has approached depression as he would an opponent, learning "what its weaknesses are and what strategies you can use against it.

"His hope is that people who read his story can learn about the disease and learn that people who suffer can have a better quality of life."

Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion's Toughest Match is published by New Chapter Press on April 1.


Fresh fallout from The Damned United

The perils of blending fact with fiction have been exposed again after a second footballer won redress over his depiction in The Damned United.

According to Rick Broadbent in The Times, the former Tottenham Hotspur icon, Dave Mackay, has reached a settlement with the producers of the film based on David Peace's novel.  It was suggested in the screen version that the Scotland international, now 75, broke ranks with protesting players to accept an offer to become manager when Brian Clough resigned as Derby County boss in 1973.

In fact, while Mackay did succeed Clough in the Derby manager's chair, he had left the Baseball Ground in 1971 to begin a managerial career elsewhere.

The former Leeds player, Johnny Giles, won an earlier libel action against the publishers of The Damned United over his portrayal as a Machiavellian plotter in the Elland Road dressing room.

Mackay's own story, The Real Mackay, was published in paperback in 2005.

The Real Mackay: The Dave Mackay Story (Mainstream Sport)


Hoy sets sights on a new chapter

Olympic cycling giant Sir Chris Hoy, whose autobiography was shortlisted in the Sports Book of the Year awards, will need to update his story if he achieves his ambitious targets for this week's World Track Cycling Championships in Copenhagen.

The Scot, whose 34th birthday falls on March 23rd -- the eve of the championships -- has his eyes on a treble in the Danish capital, aiming for gold in the individual sprint, team sprint and keirin — his three gold medal events at the Beijing Olympics.

Success would not make him the first man to leave a world championships with three track golds -- but no one has landed titles in those three disciplines at the same games.  With nine world titles to his name already, Hoy will not find many doubting he can do it.

The event tests his mettle in another sense.  It is his first major championships since the 2008 Olympics following the hip injury that kept him out of last year's world track event.  What's more, it was at the Copenhagen circuit in February last year that he suffered the crash that caused the damage.

Chris Hoy: the Autobiography


Racing giants fail to follow Powell's script

With a book on the epic horse racing rivalry of Denman and Kauto Star due for publication in August, the Cheltenham Gold Cup did not follow the script that author Jonathan Powell had in mind when Kauto Star fell and Denman found himself outrun by Imperial Commander.

We can probably discount any thoughts that the two great stable companions might now be retired, however, even if the blue riband of jump racing has passed to another.

Kauto Star's frightening nosedive appears to have left no lasting damage and though he will be 11 years old by the time the 2011 Cheltenham Festival comes around, jockey Ruby Walsh sees no reason why he should not be backed to regain the Gold Cup for a second time.

Trainer Paul Nicholls observed that "we all get a bit slower" with the passing years but Walsh said: "He got knocked down before and stood up again. Why shouldn't he be back at Cheltenham next year?"

Denman, meanwhile, may try to become only the third horse in history to win a Grand National as well as a Gold Cup, joining Golden Miller and L'Escargot in racing legend.  Owner Harry Findlay reportedly has it in mind to tackle the four-and-a-half mile Aintree marathon next year.

Powell, the racing correspondent of the Mail on Sunday, has written or ghosted a number of books, including trainer Nicholls' acclaimed Lucky Break, which was shortlisted for best autobiography in the recent British Sports Book Awards.

Pre-order Kauto Star and Denman (Orion, August 2010)


Just when you thought it had all been said...

...along comes another collection of memories inspired by the Brian Clough story, this time from the man who was to accompany Clough and Peter Taylor throughout their managerial partnership.

Maurice Edwards, now a sprightly 83, joined the duo when they teamed up for the first time at Hartlepool in 1965 and went on to serve as their chief scout at both Derby County and Nottingham Forest.

As a trusted ally, not only was he privy to much of what took place behind the scenes both in good times and bad, he was often the central figure, during an era without agents, in the facilitating of major transfer deals.

Until now he has kept his immense fund of stories largely to himself, but after the interest generated by the David Peace novelisation, The Damned Utd, and Duncan Hamilton's Provided You Don't Kiss Me: 20 Years with Brian Clough, he decided it was time to tell his tale, if only to set the record straight on parts of the Clough-Taylor legend he felt had not been properly represented.

He has brought his memories together in Brian and Peter a Right Pair: 21 Years with Clough and Taylor (DB Publishing), which -- unlike The Damned United -- has been well received by the Clough family, particularly his widow, Barbara.

Some of the stories are fascinating for the insights they reveal into the character of the two men, others for the fact that they have hitherto remained secret, such as the revelation that the Forest years might never have happened had Taylor taken up an offer to become assistant manager at Manchester United while the pair were still at Derby.

Edwards met Taylor when the latter was appointed manager at Burton Albion in 1962 and he will be at the Staffordshire club's Pirelli Stadium on Monday evening (March 22) from 5.30pm onwards, signing copies of the book.  A number of former Forest and Derby players have promised to go along.


Rooney gets the Sweeney treatment

Readers disappointed with Wayne Rooney's first 'official' biography may be drawn to the unauthorised account of the life so far of England's prospective World Cup hero due to hit the bookstands in May.

Rooney's Gold, written by award-winning but controversial investigative journalist John Sweeney, promises to cut to the chase with somewhat less restraint than one suspects Hunter Davies could allow himself when Wayne Rooney: My Story So Far (HarperSport) appeared in 2006.

Sweeney, whose back catalogue includes works on the despotic Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu and Britain's arms trade with Iraq, gained notoriety in 2007 for his on-screen shouting match with Church of Scientology representative Tommy Davis, which was aired on the BBC's Panorama programme.

His delving into Rooney's Liverpool upbringing and what now has to pass for a 'private' life was due to have been published in the same year, under the Random House imprint Century and entitled Roo Unzipped, but was withdrawn, reportedly because of legal issues.

The revised and updated version, said to include observations on Liverpool's gang culture and the modern world's obsession with celebrity, is a first venture into sport for Biteback, a publisher on politics and current affairs run by the journalist, author and heavyweight political blogger, Iain Dale.

Up until now, Dale's passion for football had been indulged through his other, rather different blogging platform, West Ham 'Till I Die.

Rooney's Gold -- not to be confused with the 1984 novel of the same name by the late English crime writer Isobel Lambot -- is due for publication on May 27.

Featured titles (click for more information):

Wayne Rooney: My Story So Far

Rooney's Gold


More honours for Hamilton's Harold Larwood book

Duncan Hamilton has added a top prize at the British Sports Book Awards to his William Hill Sports Book of the Year award for his brilliant study of cricketer Harold Larwood (Quercus).

His authorised life story of the England fast bowler notorious for his role in the Bodyline tour of 1932-33 was named 'best biography' at a dinner at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London.

Hamilton, who spent 32 years as a journalist in Nottingham and Leeds, won wider recognition two years ago with Provided You Don't Kiss Me, his portrait of Brian Clough, which also won the William Hill prize.

Inspired by a fascination he can trace back to his days growing up in a Nottinghamshire mining community, where Larwood was a revered figure, Hamilton spent six weeks in Australia in his researching of Larwood's story, being granted access to family archives by the player's daughters.

The work that resulted has been compared favourably with Gideon Haigh's life of the Australian spin bowler, Jack Iverson, David Foot's portrait of Wally Hammond and Leo McKinstry's balanced account of the Geoff Boycott story among acclaimed cricket biographies.

Hamilton beat off competition from Observer journalists Jon Henderson (Last Champion: Life of Fred Perry) and Kevin Mitchell (Jacob's Beach: The Mob, the Garden and the Golden Age of Boxing), whose books were both published by Yellow Jersey, in a strong field for his category.

Andre Agassi's soul-baring Open: An Autobiography (HarperCollins) was judged the best autobiography, while the judges could not decide between Cantona by Philippe Auclair (Macmillan) and Feet of the Chameleon by Ian Hawkey (Anova) for the best football book.

The awards were organised and hosted for the eighth year by the National Sporting Club.


Who won what at the British Sports Book Awards

Here is the full roll call of winners and the shortlists for each category:

Best Autobiography: Winner -- Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi (HarperCollins)

Best biography: Winner -- Harold Larwood by Duncan Hamilton (Quercus)

Best illustrated title: Winner -- Centre Court (All England Lawn Tennis) by John Barrett and Ian Hewitt (Vision Sports)

Shortlisted: 100 Magic Moments of the Turf by Graeme Roe (Green Umbrella), Stuart Broad Bowled Over: An Ashes Celebration - My Side of the Story (Hodder & Stoughton), My Comeback: Up Close and Personal by Lance Armstrong (Yellow Jersey), Reuters - Sport in the 21st Century (Thames Hudson), Sea The Stars: The Story of a Perfect Racehorse by Sean Magee  (Racing Post).

Best new writer: Winner -- Eclipse by Nicholas Clee (Bantam Press)

Shortlisted: Simple Goalkeeping Made Spectacular: A Rioutous Footballing Memoir About the Loneliest Position on the Field by Graham Joyce (Mainstream), Blood Over Water by David and James Livingston (Bloomsbury), I AM THE GLORYHUNTER: One Man's Quest For The Ultimate Football Season by Spencer Austin (Know the Score Books), The Man Who Cycled the World by Mark Beaumont (Transworld), A Great Face for Radio: The Adventures of a Sports Commentator by John Anderson (Know the Score Books), Ashes 2009: When Freddie Became Jesus by Jarrod Kimber (Pitch Publishing).

Best football book: Joint winners -- Cantona: The Rebel Who Would Be King: 1 by Philippe Auclair (Macmillan) and Feet of the Chameleon by Ian Hawkey (Anova)

Best rugby book: Winner -- Confessions of a Rugby Mercenary by John Daniell (Ebury Press)

Shortlisted: Nobody Beats Us: The Inside Story of the 1970s Wales Rugby Team by David Tossell (Mainstream), For the Glory: Two Olympics, Two Wars, Two Heroes by Mark Ryan (JR Books), Just For Kicks: The Autobiography by Kenny Logan (Headline), The Red and the White: A History of England Vs Wales Rugby by Huw Richards (Aurum), Lion Man: The Autobiography by Ian McGeechan (Simon and Schuster)

Best cricket book: Winner -- Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the bad old days of Australian cricket by Christian Ryan (Orion)

Shortlisted: Imran Khan: The Cricketer, The Celebrity, The Politician by Christopher Sandford (HarperCollins), Michael Vaughan: Time to Declare - My Autobiography by Michael Vaughan (Hodder and Stoughton), Harold Larwood by Duncan Hamilton (Quercus), Of Didcot and the Demon: The Cricketing Times of Alan Gibson by Anthony Gibson (Fairfield).

Best publicity campaign: Winner -- Madelaine Toy of Transworld for The Man Who Cycled the World by Mark Beaumont

Shortlisted: Anna Robinson of Simon and Schuster for Lion Man: The Autobiography by Ian McGeechan, Lisa Gooding of Yellow Jersey for Ben Ainslie: Close to the Wind - Autobiography of Britain's Greatest Olympic Sailor by Ben Ainslie, Sue Amaradivakara of Yellow Jersey for The Last Champion: The Life of Fred Perry by Jon Henderson, Louise Swannell of Hodder & Stoughton for Andrew Flintoff: Ashes to Ashes by Andrew Flintoff and Michael Vaughan: Time to Declare - My Autobiography by Michael Vaughan.