Okay, the clocks haven’t gone back yet and it’s still light at 6pm but that doesn’t mean it isn’t nearly Christmas. Which means, of course, there are presents to be bought.
A good sports book under the tree is always welcome, so to help you choose -- or help someone else who might need to know what’s on your wishlist -- here is The Sports Bookshelf’s selection of new releases from the last week or so.
Football - Bloody Hell!: The Biography of Alex Ferguson
Patrick Barclay’s penetrating biography of Sir Alex Ferguson, written with the insight of those who know Ferguson best -- fellow managers, former players, colleagues and commentators -- whom Barclay has interviewed to reveal Ferguson to be a relentless character whose ability to intimidate, control, cajole and encourage has driven his unparalleled success.
Only now, as Ferguson nears the end of his career, can conclusions can be drawn about an extraordinary career.
Thanks, Johnners: An Affectionate Tribute to a Broadcasting Legend
An affectionate tribute to Brian Johnston from his former Test Match Special colleague, Jonathan Agnew.
The pair worked together for only three years but their special relationship -- immortalised when Agnew’s on-air description of Ian Botham's attempt to avoid stepping on his stumps – "He just couldn't quite get his leg over" - reduced Johnston to uncontrollable giggles -- spawned many moments that demonstrated how Johnston’s wit, warmth and sense of fun was a feature not only of his cricket commentaries, but also the way he lived his life. "Aggers" recalls many here in a book that blends biography and anecdote in a feast of remembered pleasures.
The Iron Duke: Bobby Windsor – The Life and Times of a Working-Class Rugby Hero
Co-written with veteran rugby journalist Peter Jackson, the story of Lions legend Bobby Windsor, who enjoyed triumphs beyond the dreams of most international players as the best hooker in the British Isles during the second golden era of Welsh rugby in the 1970s.
It is a tale of blood and thunder on the pitch as well as riotous incidents off it, along with revelations about illegal payments during the so-called amateur era and what Windsor did to upset the Establishment and become blackballed by one of the most famous clubs in the world. But Windsor also suffered tragedy, tipping him into a personal crisis that drove him to plan suicide.
Please Don't Go: Big John's Journey Back to Life
Former Celtic and Wales soccer star John Hartson’s harrowing but uplifting story of his fight for life after being diagnosed in July 2009 with testicular cancer, which subsequently spread to his lungs and brain.
Interwoven with the poignant recollections of his pregnant wife, Sarah, as well as with extracts from his sister Victoria's personal diary, the book covers the five-week period during which his survival was most in jeopardy and presents a remarkable account of how he has managed to overcome a very aggressive form of cancer in a manner that will offer hope and courage to others affected by the disease.
Botham's Book of the Ashes: A Lifetime Love Affair with Cricket's Greatest Rivalry
Sir Ian Botham charts a lifetime’s relationship with cricket’s oldest and most treasured prize, revealing how it has shaped his life.
From the moment he first watched the likes of Ken Barrington stride to the wicket in jaw-jutting defiance to the day he flayed Australia’s bowling attack around Headingley as if playing with his mates in the park, and then onwards to his role in commentating on what was arguably the finest series of the lot, in 2005, Sir Ian has a rich and varied connection with the Ashes, and he tells all here.
European Football Yearbook 2010/11
Widely regarded as the last word on European football, Hammond‘s tome contains information on every major match played across the continent in the 2009-10 season at club and international level, right up to the end of June.
Full details of every European league's premier division - with each club's individual results listed - complemented by an seasonal perspective of football in each country. As well as club football, each nation's international progress is covered, with a list of every player to represent the particular nation and their performance in each game.
The Best Views from the Boundary: Test Match Special's Greatest Interviews
‘Views From the Boundary' - the Saturday lunchtime interview - has always been a highlight of the BBC's Test Match Special, in which famous names who share a love of the game are subjected to the gentle interrogations of Brian Johnston, Jonathan Agnew, Henry Blofeld and others.
Interviews personally selected by long-time TMS producer Peter Baxter include John Cleese, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Gary Lineker, David Essex, John Major, Peter O'Toole, Brian Johnston, John Paul Getty Jr., Dennis Skinner, Stephen Fry, Nigel Havers, Elton John, Boris Johnson, Piers Morgan, Daniel Radcliffe, David Cameron, Lily Allen, Bill Wyman and more.
Pacman: Behind the Scenes with Manny Pacquiao - The Greatest Pound-for-pound Fighter in the World
A biography of the only boxer to ever win seven world championships in seven different weight classes.
Manny Pacquiao, 30, is considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and was recently named the 'fighter of the decade' by the Boxing Writers Association. But Pacquiao grew up in a cardboard shack in General Santos City in the Philippines and ran away from home at 14, reaching the United States to hook up with trainer Freddie Roach in 2001 and from there his fighting career took off. Now the fighter, who has a photographic memory and learned to play the piano in one week, donates millions to charities in the Philippines.
The Thoughts of Chairman Moore: The Wit and Widsom of Brian Moore
Brian Moore made his name as a take-no-prisoners hooker at the heart of the England rugby team's pack, one of the game's original hard men at a time when rugby was still an amateur sport.
Since his retirement he has become a similarly unforgiving pundit, never afraid to tell it like it is. In this controversial, funny and forthright collection of thoughts and writings, Brian Moore shares his insights and frustrations on topics ranging from the problems with the England rugby team today to the 'soap opera' that is the FA, the feeble state of British tennis and the threats posed by corruption and drug-taking.
Charles Buchan: A Lifetime in Football
An engrossing autobiography, originally published in the 1950s, from a character once synonymous with the game.
Born in London in 1891, Buchan enjoyed a successful playing career with Sunderland before enlisting as a soldier in the First World War, after which he picked up with Sunderland before being capped by his country and transferring to Arsenal. Gradually he moved into journalism, writing the first football coaching manual and reporting on the sport for the BBC. Then, in 1951, Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly was set up, reaching sales of more than 100,000 at its peak.