Bobby's Open - the story of Bobby Jones and his epic 1926 Open Championship victory is Sports Book of the Year for 2013

Bobby’s Open: Mr Jones and the Golf Shot that Defined a Legend by Steven Reid has won The Times Sports Book of the Year in association with The British Sports Book Awards following a public online vote.

Reid’s book, published by Icon Books, won the Best Golf Book award category at the recent British Sports Book Awards and with the winners from eight other categories formed a shortlist for the overall Sports Book of the Year. 

Around 3,400 public votes were registered, with Reid’s book receiving over 45% of the total votes.

Bobby’s Open tells the compelling story of one of golf’s most celebrated players, Bobby Jones, with specific focus on The Open Championship in 1926 when he took on Walter Hagen and Harry Vardon in one of the all-time classic sporting encounters.

John Hopkins, former Golf Correspondent of The Times and head of the golf judges, said: “Bobby Jones in golf is a bit like Richard Wagner in music, an heroic figure about whom a great deal has been written down the years. This means that the Jones seam has been well mined. Steven Reid’s trick is to have unearthed some new information which he has leavened with material that was known and presented it all in a thoughtful and thought provoking way.”

Richard Whitehead, an Assistant Editor at The Times, added: “We’re delighted that such a wonderful work of sports history has been voted Times Sports Book of the Year. Steven Reid’s book certainly had stiff competition but it is a very worthy winner. I’m sure Bobby Jones would have been delighted, too.”


Tyson-Holyfield II: What really happened on the night of the most infamous fight in boxing history

Mike Tyson is regarded by some students of boxing as the last of the great heavyweight champions, the winner of 50 fights, a boxer of such power and ferocity that 44 of his victories were by knockout.  The youngest heavyweight world champion of all time when he defeated Trevor Berbick to win the WBC heavyweight crown, he triumphed in 12 world title fights and is the only man to successfully unify the WBC, WBA and IBF titles.

Yet he is remembered as much for what happened on the night of June 28, 1997, in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, when Tyson and Evander Holyfield clashed in a rematch of the WBA title fight Holyfield had won the previous November.

It would become the most infamous fight in boxing history, bringing the disqualification of the former undisputed world number one for biting each of Holyfield's ears.

Now New York Post sports columnist George Willis has written a book that explores the fight, the background to it and what happened on the night in forensic detail through interviews conducted with all of the major figures in the story.

Willis reports the facts from a neutral standpoint rather than taking a judgmental position and is able to shed light on a number of previously unanswered questions, as well as revealing how that night affected both boxers.

Writing in The Independent, sports book reviewer Simon Redfern says that "by sticking to neutral reportage rather than indulging in fanciful speculation, Willis has produced a famous account of an infamous event."

Read Simon Redfern's full review.

Follow this link for more information or to buy - Twice Bitten: The Untold Story of Holyfield-Tyson II



Craig Bellamy: Menace in the eyes but compassion in the heart of football's GoodFella

Craig Bellamy was going to call his autobiography Playing With Fire until he realised it wasn't exactly original.

He plumped instead for GoodFella, a word taken from the lexicon of the New York mafia to describe a fully-fledged gangster, immortalised in Martin Scorcese's 1990 mob saga, GoodFellas. The book cover shamelessly steals the typeface from the movie poster, behind which Bellamy, moodily photographed in black and white, fixes you with a menacing stare.

The book has a lot to live up to, therefore, before you read even a single page, compelling Bellamy to tell all the tales from a life in which he seems always to have been close to the edge.  The Welsh striker is no gangster but has been involved in violent incidents in football and is familiar with the inside of a courtroom, although none of the assault charges brought against him has led to conviction.

He is also a man with opinions he tends not to keep to himself and in sharing those Craig Bellamy: GoodFella does not disappoint.   Bellamy, who will be back in the Premier League with Cardiff City next season, has played for nine different clubs in senior football and has plenty to say about most of them, from his notorious airport fight with coach John Carver at Newcastle and the abusive text exchanges with Alan Shearer to what he really thought of Rafa Benitez at Liverpool and Roberto Mancini at Manchester City.

The book and the marketing campaign are a triumph for Trinity Mirror Sport Media, who not only published GoodFella but engaged the Daily Mirror's chief sportswriter, Oliver Holt, to work with Bellamy on the manuscript and used Trinity Mirror's network of regional newspapers to publicise it.

But before you make the assumption that it is a money-making exercise for Bellamy himself, note that every penny he accrues in royalties from the book will go to the foundation he set up after a football friend invited him to visit Sierra Leone and which has raised millions of pounds - including £1.2 million from his own pocket - to establish and run a football academy and youth league in the impoverished West African nation.

Perhaps any judgment made on whether Bellamy deserves to be recognised as a "good fellow" by another definition should bear that in mind.  It's up to you to decide.

Craig Bellamy: GoodFella - My Autobiography, by Craig Bellamy



Three takes on The Ashes -- David 'Bumble' Lloyd and Phil 'The Cat' Tufnell play for laughs, while Simon Hughes turns on the analysis

With the latest battle for the Ashes little more than a month away, the cricket book market welcomes a number of new titles, headed by Sky TV star David 'Bumble' Lloyd's latest collection of anecdotes and observations from the quirkiest voice in cricket.

Bumble has seen cricket from just about every angle -- player, coach, umpire and commentator -- and the collection of sideways views and hilarious stories that made up Start the Car: The World According to Bumble thrust Accrington's favourite son into the bestseller lists.

Now, just in time for England's Test cricket showdown with Australia, he follows up with The Ashes According to Bumble, which continues in the same vein, with a special accent on the biggest rivalry in the game.

Publishers HarperSport promise "a whole new cricket bag full of yarns from his years on the pitch and in the commentary box...more tales of Bumble’s time rubbing shoulders (and chinking glasses) with the great (as well as not so great) and good (as well as bloody awful) of cricket and more than a few stories of Bumble’s encounters with the Aussies over the years. But that’s not to say this will be any less rambling, madcap and downright fun than we’ve come to expect."

Like Start the Car, the ramblings are brought to order by the skilled hand of journalist Richard Gibson, who also worked with England stars Graeme Swann and Jimmy Anderson on their successful autobiographies.

Another well-known cricket voice and bestselling author, Simon Hughes, turns his attention to the Ashes in Cricket's Greatest Rivalry: A History Of The Ashes in 10 Matches.

Hughes, the former Middlesex seamer, won William Hill Sports Book of the Year in 1997 for A Lot of Hard Yakka, his account of life on the county cricket circuit.  He also won the Royal Television Society's Sports Pundit of the Year Award in 2002 during his stint as The Analyst for Channel Four's cricket coverage.

He combines both his analytical and writing skills in what publishers Cassell describe as "a gripping, distinctive history of the iconic, 135-year-old cricketing rivalry between England and Australia (in which) Hughes selects each match as a narrative spine packed with thrillingly evocative detail, alongside the issues, controversies, heroes and villains of each match."

Meanwhile, Phil Tufnell, another ex-player enjoying a media career, follows up Tuffers' Cricket Tales with Tuffers' Alternative Guide to the Ashes, in which the former left-arm spinner with the cheeky chappie persona -- sometimes known as "The Cat" -- recalls some of his own Ashes moments along with a host of other stuff relating to England and Australia.

In publisher Headline's words, Phil recounts "heroic performances, personal 'Cat-astrophes', bonkers selections, cultural clashes between Poms and Ockers, slanderous sledges, dubious tactics, odd superstitions, touring high-jinx and nail-biting finishes are all on the agenda as Tuffers, who played in five Ashes series without ever getting close to getting his hands on the famous urn, aims to discover the key to winning what is the ultimate prize for any English or Australian cricketer."

The Ashes According to Bumble, by David Lloyd

Cricket's Greatest Rivalry: A History Of The Ashes in 10 Matches, by Simon Hughes

Tuffers' Alternative Guide to the Ashes, by Phil Tufnell



Hodder splash the cash as Sir Alex Ferguson puts final touches to new autobiography they hope will take no prisoners

Sir Alex Ferguson was not known for shying away from confrontation during his reign as Manchester United's manager and anyone who offended him by deed or word tended sooner or later to feel the hot blast of his wrath.

Yet even he would acknowledge the need to bow to diplomacy at certain times, while the threat of fines or sanctions from the Football Association persuaded him to bite his tongue on others.

Now that he is no longer an active manager, however, Fergie is free to let rip against anyone who has incurred his displeasure without fear of the consequences.  Publishers Hodder and Stoughton clearly hope he take his retirement as the cue to release the shackles - they have paid him an advance of £2 million, according to reports, to reveal all in a new autobiography to be published in the autumn.

Sir Alex verbally agreed to write the book three years ago and Daily Telegraph journalist Paul Hayward is the man entrusted with faithfully reproducing Fergie's views on a range of subjects.  The former Manchester United boss penned his first authorised life story Managing My Life: The Autobiography, ghosted by Hugh McIlvanney, in the treble year of 1999.

But much more has happened in the 14 years since then, including his seven-year stand-off with the BBC after they ran a documentary about his football agent son Jason, the split with David Beckham, the explosive dispute with racing tycoons John Magnier and JP McManus over Rock of Gibraltar’s breeding rights, the arrival at Old Trafford of the Glazers and his relationship with Wayne Rooney.  Buyers will be disappointed if those episodes are not covered in detail.

Sir Alex's treatment of Rooney since leaving him out of the Champions League tie against Real Madrid has been one of the mysteries of the season.

The Fergie Collection - five recommended books about the man acknowledged as football's greatest manager:

Sir Alex Ferguson: The Official Manchester United Celebration of 25 Years at Old Trafford, by David Meek and Tom Tyrell

Managing My Life: The Autobiography

Football - Bloody Hell!: The Biography of Alex Ferguson, by Patrick Barclay

This Is the One: Sir Alex Ferguson: The Uncut Story of a Football Genius, by Daniel Taylor

The Boss: The Many Sides of Alex Ferguson, by Michael Crick