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Sports Books for Christmas

Part One -- Five on Football


Between now and December 25th, The Sports Bookshelf will provide a regular selection of sports books that might tickle your fancy or interest a son, daughter, friend or partner as you weigh up what to put under the tree this Christmas.  Click on the title or the picture to buy securely from Amazon.


John Giles: A Football Man - My Autobiography

Johnny Giles, brilliant midfield craftsman of the Don Revie era at Leeds United, hits back at what he considers the myth of ‘Dirty Leeds’, suggesting that the image of the club has been tainted by repeated distortions of the truth, the worst of which have come about since David Peace’s fact-into-fiction account, The Damned United, was turned into a film, which Giles described as “a misinterpretation of the misinterpretation of the book”.  Those Leeds supporters of a certain age who have to scratch their heads to remember Giles as the sly psychopath of recent reinvention will see this as a welcome revision.



Kenny Dalglish charts his 33-year love affair with Liverpool Football Club in a second tranche of autobiographical recollections, as told to his ghostwriter, the Daily Telegraph football correspondent Henry Winter, who was congratulated by one reviewer for “discarding the needless pomposity prevalent in his [newspaper] writing” and not interfering with Dalglish’s voice, which Winter may or may not take as a compliment.   Must-have reading for Liverpool fans.


George Best & Me: Waggy's Tale: GEORGE by the Man Who Knew Him BEST

Fresh tales of the Fifth Beatle as Malcolm Wagner, who was Best’s closest friend, minder and Mr Fixit during the glory years and beyond, shares his personal memories of life with George.   Known also as the Village Barber -- his hairdressing business was nextdoor to Best’s boutique -- Wagner was the central character in the Best entourage known as ‘the Chaps’ and his stories from the glitzy and the murkier sides of Manchester nightlife in the 1960s and 70s -- from the 24-hour drinking club run by Thin Lizzie star Phil Lynott’s mum to Best’s relationship with the infamous Quality Street Gang -- will appeal to Life on Mars fans as well as Manchester United supporters.

Please Don't Go: Big John's Journey Back to Life

The story of former Arsenal, Celtic and Wales striker John Hartson’s remarkable battle against cancer has won plaudits not only for its harrowing candour but also for the quality of the narrative, which intersperses the player’s account with the thoughts of his then-pregnant wife, Sarah, and extracts from a diary kept by his sister, Victoria.  In this respect, Please Don’t Go clearly benefits from the skill of ghostwriter Rachel Murphy, a former Daily Mirror journalist who also runs a thriving community website in Kent, www.tonbridgepeople.co.uk.



Pay As You Play: The True Price of Success in the Premier League Era

If Manchester City become Premier League champions, most football fans would take it as confirmation that football success always comes to those with the richest owners or most generous bank managers.  But is that necessarily the case? Pay As You Play attempts to measure the correlation between success and transfer spending by converting all Premier League transfer fees since 1992 to current-day prices using a price index based on ‘football inflation’ figures.  The findings suggest which managers have excelled in the transfer market, which clubs punched above their financial weight and which players proved good or bad value for money.


Sports Books for Christmas: Part Two - A Quintet on Cricket

For more sports books for Christmas, visit The Sports Bookshelf Shop.

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