I Am The Secret Footballer: An honest if anonymous glimpse inside the closeted world of the modern professional footballer


Here's a Sports Bookshelf selection of new titles published in the last few days.  Keep coming back for more news of new releases. 

Click on the titles or the picture links for more information and to buy.

I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game
Author Anonymous (Guardian Books)

Who is The Secret Footballer? The identity of the author of a column under that name carried by the Guardian newspaper for the last 18 months is a secret known to just a handful of people.
But whoever he is - and whoever he plays for - he is always honest, always fearless and always opinionated...and, we are told, absolutely genuine.  This story of one player's career is a unique combination of considered analysis, tell-all gossip and the joys and frustrations that only someone who plays the game at the highest levels can really feel.  It tells us that, while football is a game we watch, study and digest in fine print detail, on radio, television and the internet, we know very little of what goes on inside the dressing room and even on the pitch, of the lives of those who we study at a distance. The Secret Footballer takes the reader into a world inhabited by sometimes terrifying and sometimes tortured managers, by agents that know every trick in the book, and by teammates ranging from the carefree to the paranoid.  The book gives a unique perspective on a shrouded, secret world.

In Sunshine Or In Shadow: A Journey Through the Life of Derek Dougan
By David Tossell (Pitch Publishing)

Derek Dougan was a flamboyant striker who scored more than 200 League goals and, as players' union chief and club administrator, was involved in some of professional football's most significant developments of the past 40 years.
David Tossell, author of several acclaimed biographies, had begun working on a collaboration with Dougan when the Ulsterman most famous for his long service to Wolverhampton Wanderers died suddenly from a heart attack in 2007, but decided to continue the project.  Tossell has retraced the steps of Dougan's life through an exhaustive series of interviews with teammates, opponents, friends and family members, offering the definitive portrait of one football's most complex and controversial figures.

David Tossell, head of European Public Affairs for the NFL (National Football League), is the author of nine sports books, including biographies of Bertie Mee, Tony Greig and Malcolm Allison.

The Ryder Cup: The Complete History of Golf's Greatest Competition
By Nick Callow (Carlton)

The Ryder Cup has become an eagerly anticipated feature of the sporting calendar, uniquely pitting the individual stars of the golf world's superpowers -- Europe and the USA -- in a biennial team competition. With national pride at stake, the top players from both sides of the Atlantic fight for a place on their respective teams, with the team captain shouldered with major responsibility. The TV coverage and audience expectation that goes with each Ryder Cup propels the event to the forefront of sports coverage in the world's press. This beautifully illustrated book tells the full story of this great tournament, from its beginnings in 1927 when Great Britain played the USA for a trophy provided by seed merchant Samuel Ryder. It charts the post-war dominance of the US team, the introduction of European golfers into the GB and Ireland team in the late 1970s, and the titanic, see-saw struggles of the modern day. It looks at each of the Ryder Cups, and features the great players, pairings, captains and courses along the way, creating a definitive official history chronicling the excitement and prestige of this global sporting event.

Robbie: Rugby Warrior -- The Autobiography
By Robbie Paul (Great Northern Books)

Robbie Hunter-Paul -- known in his playing days as simply Robbie Paul -- was the marquee player of Bradford Bulls and Rugby League's Super League competition, the inspirational heart of a team who dominated the competition and transformed the sport on and off the pitch.
In 1996, as well as being the youngest captain to lead his team at the famous stadium, he became the first player to score a hat-trick in a Rugby League Challenge Cup final at Wembley.  An inspirational leader and proud Maori, who represented his native New Zealand 30 times, Robbie is also a talented artist and musician, a motivational speaker and media commentator.  On a journey from humble bush boy to international star, he has come through trials and tribulations and learned from his mistakes and continues to be fearless in trying new ventures. Written in collaboration with rugby league journalist Chris Irvine, Robbie Paul's compelling life story is enhanced by his own High Performance guide to what it takes to be a professional player, offering practical advice aimed at aspiring rugby players, coaches and parents as well as fans of the game.

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El Clasico, by Richard Fitzpatrick: Tales of kidnap, murder and social division - welcome to the world of Barcelona against Real Madrid


Here's a Sports Bookshelf selection of new titles published in the last few days.  Keep coming back for more news of new releases. 

Click on the titles or the picture links for more information and to buy.

El Clasico: Barcelona v Real Madrid -- Football's Greatest Rivalry
By Richard Fitzpatrick (Bloomsbury)

Boasting stars of the magnitude of Lionel Messi on one side and Cristiano Ronaldo on the other, Barcelona and Real Madrid are two of the most powerful and popular clubs in world football and share of the world's most bitter sporting rivalries, one that reaches into the heart of Spanish life, politics and culture.
El Clasico penetrates the heart of that rivalry, investigating the intrigue, the characters and the political battlelines, going back to the bloodshed of Civil War and 40 years of fascism. There are tales of murdered presidents, kidnapped players and violent hooliganism -- plus the odd memorable football match.  Drawing on interviews with key figures such as Luis Figo and Hristo Stoichkov, each passionately hated by their rivals' fans, and the former Barcelona president turned separatist politician Joan Laporta, as well a host of ex-players, ex-managers, agents, referees, hooligans, editors, historians, sociologists, filmmakers, novelists, photographers, TV presenters and celebrity fans, the author has created a story that draws together the fascinating history of two great football teams and paints a vivid picture of a country divided.
Author Richard Fitzpatrick is a freelance writer who has worked in Dublin, San Francisco and Toronto and now lives in Barcelona.

Gary Speed Remembered: A Celebration of a Life in Football
By Paul Abbandonato (Andre Deutsch)

A tribute to the late manager of the Wales national team, covering a career that made him one of the most respected players in Premier League history. From his ascent as a teenage prodigy at Leeds United through distinguished service to Everton, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United, and his 85 caps for Wales, Speed was always a fans' favourite and highly regarded for his skilful, yet combative style.  The dramatic impact he made as Wales boss saw them win FIFA's 2011 annual award for the team showing the greatest improvement, heralding a belief that he was leading Wales into a new golden era, which made his sudden death a painful moment even for those who did not know him personally.  Interviews with many former friends, teammates and managers confirm Speed's reputation as one of football's gentlemen.
Author Paul Abbandonato is currently Head of Sport for the Media Wales group of newspapers.

Breakaway: From Behind the Iron Curtain to the NHL -- The Untold Story of Hockey's Great Escapes
By Tal Pinchevsky (John Wiley & Sons)

The true story of the trailblazing men who risked everything to cross the Iron Curtain and become ice hockey superstars in the United States, revealing untold stories of midnight meetings in secluded forests and of evading capture by military forces and secret police.
It features exclusive interviews with hockey legends willing to go to any lengths for the chance to play on the world's greatest stage, many of them speaking about their experiences for the very first time. The book looks at how Peter Stastny, Igor Larionov, Petr Klima, Petr Nedved, Sergei Fedorov, Slava Fetisov, Alexander Mogilny, and other hockey superstars captured the imaginations of fans around the world, but only after taking enormous personal risks to taste freedom -- as much a tale of espionage and social history as a gripping hockey chronicle.
Author Tal Pinchevsky is a producer at NHL.com.

Neville Southall: The Binman Chronicles
By Neville Southall (De Coubertin)

Neville Southall's life story covers his early years in Llandudno, where he was born in 1958, through his time at Bury and a 17-year career with Everton, where he was part of a side that won two League championships, an FA Cup and a European Cup-Winners' Cup.
He made a club record 751 appearances for the Toffees and has more Wales caps than anyone else. He became an MBE in 1995.  After leaving Goodison, he also turned out for the likes of Stoke, Bradford and Torquay and had spells in management with Dover Athletic, Hastings United and Margate.  Before he turned professional, he briefly worked as a hod carrier, waiter and refuse collector, from which he gained the tabloid identity as a "former binman" that stuck with him for years.  He decided to make it part of the book title after asking for suggestions via club website evertonfc.com. "For some reason, everybody assumes I was a binman for years and years and years, even though it was only six weeks", Southall said.

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London 2012: The Greatest Show on Earth, by Jon Mattos: Keep the Olympic passion burning with this - and more - lavish commemorative books


It may have finished but it will never be forgotten -- and there are plenty of upcoming books that will provide the prompts to help relive the magic of the Olympic dream that was London 2012.

Indeed, there is a whole series of official London 2012 Olympic Games commemorative titles due to appear between now and October -- and these are some to look out for.  They can be pre-ordered by clicking on the picture links or the highlighted titles.

Quick off the blocks is London 2012: The Greatest Show on Earth, which promises to relive every important moment from every day, from Opening Ceremony to last Sunday's fantastic finale, with everything in between, recording the joy and exultation of the Olympic gold medallists as well as remembering some of the hard-luck stories.

The book is structured in such a way to provide a day-by-day record not only of who won what but of the great stories, outstanding achievements and heroic performances that lay behind each triumph, all brought to life by stunning action photographs.  It will serve as the perfect keepsake from a fantastic Games.

Written by Jon Mattos, who was part of the Press Association's team covering the Games, and published by Carlton Books, it is due to be released on September 13. Pre-order it now.

If you are prepared to wait a little longer, an October 12 publication date is the target for what promises to be the ultimate story of perhaps the finest two weeks of sport ever witnessed on English soil.

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games : The Official Commemorative Book traces the whole incredible story, from early concepts through to the physical creation of the Olympic Park, the Torch Relay and the innovative Cultural Olympiad. It explores both Games in detail, revealing how record-breaking athletes, spectators, volunteers and locals combined to make London 2012 such a stunning success story.  Beautifully designed and featuring the Games' most evocative photography and a foreword by Lord Coe, the driving force behind bringing the Olympics to Britain and making it such a triumph for the nation, London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games: The Commemorative Book promises to capture and preserve the magical atmosphere of a once in a lifetime event.

The authors are the husband-and-wife team of Sybil Ruscue and Tom Knight, who were asked by publishers John Wiley and Sons to take on the mammoth project together.  Ruscoe is best known as a former BBC Radio Five Live presenter but whose experience of sports reporting goes back to her days on weekly papers in Shropshire in 1978.  Knight is a former Daily Telegraph athletics correspondent with more than 30 years in sports journalism, and who has witnessed eight Olympic Games. Follow this link to pre-order.

A week later, a Box Set will be released that combines the official Commemorative Book with The Games, written by another Telegraph journalist, Brendan Gallagher.

The Games: Britain's Olympic and Paralympic Journey to London 2012 traces Britain's Olympic and Paralympic past through powerful narrative, striking anecdotes and over 250 original images. It captures the individual atmosphere of past Games across the world, from 1930s Berlin to 1980s Moscow, Sydney in the Millennium to Beijing's Birds Nest in 2008, and explores the explosion of interest in the Paralympic Games.

London's previous roles as host, rescuing the Games in 1904 after Vesuvius erupted and battling with postwar austerity in 1948, are considered both as contemporaries saw them and from a historical perspective, as are individual stories of British medal winners. The final chapter focuses on preparations for London 2012, from individual athletes to the radical keynotes of sustainability and regeneration.

Gallagher is also the author of Making History at London 2012, which is subtitled 25 Iconic Moments at the Olympic and Paralympic games, a commemorative anthology featuring 25 first-hand accounts from some of the UK's finest journalists, whose powerful narrative conveys the intense atmosphere of the moments that defined London 2012, including the renovation of the Olympic Park, the nationwide Torch Relay, the inspiring performances by individuals and teams, the innovative Cultural Olympiad and spectacular Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

Also published by John Wiley and Sons on October 12, Making History at London 2012 will form half of another Boxed Set due for release a week later with Heat of the Moment, which is a collection of 25 extraordinary stories from the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Already available is The Olympic Torch Relay : Follow the Flame of London, which traces the route of relay around the UK week by week, Stunning photography and lively narrative explore the excitement of the Torch Relay as the countdown towards the London 2012 Games gathers pace. The book traces the route around the UK, week by week, celebrating the diverse regions in powerful images of landscape, buildings, banners and local specialities, from biscuits to beers.

Written by Sarah Edworthy and illustrated with many evocative photographs, it is a pageant of amusing anecdotes and intriguing stories from spectators and torch bearers, as well as adding the perspective of ‘local heroes' competing in the London 2012 Games. The Olympic Torch Relay : Follow the Flame of London (John Wiley & Sons) is a fascinating portrait of a nation full of expectation, poised on the brink of a sporting phenomenon, a reminder of how almost every corner of the land acquired a place in Olympic history.

To buy or pre-order any of these books, click on the illustrations or the highlighted titles to be taken to the amazon.co.uk site.

For more Olympic books, visit the Sports Bookshelf Shop



Between the Lines, by Victoria Pendleton: New autobiography will reveal Victoria's secrets

TRENDING...Olympic Gold

Team GB's Olympic gold rush will have spin-off benefits for the sports book industry with publishers and retailers eager to give high visibility to any gold medal stories they can push between now and the Christmas sales peak.

Among the first to hit the shelves will be cyclist Victoria Pendleton's autobiography Between the Lines, on which she has been working with Donald McRae, a writer who has twice won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award.

Due out on September 13 in the United Kingdom, Between the Lines: The Autobiography -- published by HarperSport -- promises to describe in 'searingly honest detail' a career of highs and lows and controversies that has just ended, following Pendleton's decision to retire at the end of London 2012.

It was a victorious finale for Pendleton, who failed to retain the track cycling sprint crown she won in the velodrome in Beijing but did claim her second Olympic gold in the keirin.

Yet a career that also brought her nine World championship wins as well as Commonwealth and European titles did not always run smooth.  She found herself at the centre of controversy when she revealed she was in a relationship with her coach, Scott Gardner, and more than once wanted to quit the sport as physical and mental pressures took their toll.

Donald McRae, whose interviews in the Guardian have become required reading, was part of that newspaper's team at London 2012.  He won the William Hill prize in 1996 for his book about boxing, Dark Trade, and in 2002 for Black and White: The Untold Story of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens.

Pre-order Between the Lines: The Autobiography (HarperSport)

In the meantime...

Sir Chris Hoy's story will need an update but the journey from boyhood to triple Olympic champion in Beijing is covered in Chris Hoy: The Autobiography (HarperSport), while Hoy's rise is at the centre of Richard Moore's excellent study of the track cycling revolution in Great Britain.

In Heroes, Villains and Velodromes (HarperSport), Moore shadowed Hoy for an entire season, in which he gained an unembellished insight into the mind of a World and Olympic champion. He was also afforded unprecedented levels of access to key players behind the scenes in British cycling, including top coaches, psychiatrists and doctors.

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Richard Moore is also the author of:

Sky's the Limit: Wiggins and Cavendish -- the Quest to Conquer the Tour de France(HarperSport)

Slaying the Badger: LeMond, Hinault and the Greatest Ever Tour de France (Yellow Jersey)

and In Search of Robert Millar (HarperSport)

as well as

The Dirtiest Race in History: Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the Olympic 100m Final(Wisden Sports Writing)



The Fastest Man Alive: The True Story of Usain Bolt, by Usain Bolt and Shaun Custis: Bolt's plan to run 100m in just 9.4 seconds

TRENDING.... Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt will be nearly 30 by the time the next Olympics come round yet it would be unwise to discount him as a contender for at least the 200-metre gold.  He may be giving four years to Jamaican rivals Yohan Blake and Warren Weir but the 200m is the event he favours most and he could decide to double up the 200m with the 400m.

Amazingly, however, he still thinks he can improve on his 9.58 second world record for 100m, as he explained to Sun journalist Shaun Custis, with whom he has been working on a new autobiography, due out soon.

He tells Custis that his 9.58sec run in the 2009 World Championships in Berlin was a flawed performance on three counts, undermined by a drive phase at the start that was too short and a middle phase in which he was too tight. He also reckoned he did not keep his head still enough.

Bolt's belief is that he could cut a scarcely credible 0.18 seconds off that time and reset the record at 9.4 seconds, although he does not feel it possible for anyone -- himself included -- to go below that mark. "It is impossible to run 9.2," he says. "The body is not made to go that fast no matter how hard you train, no matter how good your technique."

The book is a celebration of Bolt's influences, background, and the continuing upward trajectory of his career. It tells the story of the kid from the Jamaican parish of Trelawny -- home to a host of Olympic athletes -- who grew up playing cricket and soccer before discovering how fast he could run.

Bolt shares stories of his family and friends and the laidback Jamaican culture. He tells of the motivating factors that helped him reach the top and of the dedication and sacrifices behind his showman image.

Look out for: The Fastest Man Alive: The True Story of Usain Bolt (Sports Publishing).

In the meantime...

Why not try an excellent biography of Usain Bolt written by award-winning athletics writer Steven Downes, published ahead of the games by specialist publishers SportsBooks.

Downes was told to keep an eye out for Bolt as long ago as 2003 when the gangly Jamaican won the 200m at the world youth championships in a record time and has followed his career ever since.

It is a fascinating life story that explains how Bolt’s destiny was changed when his time for the 100m at a minor meeting in Crete in 2007 convinced him that the financial rewards being accrued by his compatriot, the then 100m world champion Asafa Powell, could be at his command, too.  Now Bolt is a box office draw like none ever seen.

Usain Bolt: The Story of the World's Fastest Man (SportsBooks).

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