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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