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Strong fields for British Sports Book Awards leave judges to make tough choices

Some tough decisions face the judges charged with naming the winners at the British Sports Book Awards for 2014, due to be announced later this month, after the organisers announced one of the strongest shortlist line-ups in the 12-year history.

Across all nine categories there are outstanding contenders.  The category Autobiography/Biography of the Year includes footballer Dennis Bergkamp's Stillness and Speed and The Outsider, by double Wimbledon and five-times US Open tennis champion Jimmy Connors, as well as former Premier League referee Mark Halsey's controversial Added Time.

The Football category includes Guillem Balague’s biography of Lionel Messi, entitled simply Messi, Sid Lowe’s Fear and Loathing in La Liga and The Nowhere Men, Michael Calvin's tribute to football's essential army of talent spotting scouts.

In the Cricket category, Rob Winder's The Little Wonder: A History of Wisden is up against, among otheers, James Astill’s story of cricket and corruption in India, The Great Tamasha.

Ronan O’Gara’s autobiography and Calon, Owen Sheers’ journey into the heart of Welsh rugby are among those titles under consideration in the rugby category.

The Horse Racing shortlist includes the William Hill Sports Book of the Year winner, Doped, Jamie Reid's real-life thriller of horse nobbling, and the self-published Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring, by Simon Nott.  Brough Scott's acclaimed portrait of Henry Cecil: Trainer of Genius, is shortlisted in both the Horse Racing and Biography categories.

There are also two awards celebrating the best of sports writing – Outstanding Sports Writing, in which with Ned Boulting's On The Road Bike and Fore! by John Hopkins are contenders, and New Writer of the Year, which includes The Land of Second Chances, by Tim Lewis, and footballer Clarke Carlisle’s autobiography, You Don’t Know Me But…

The winners of the awards will be announced at a ceremony to be held at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London, on Wednesday, May 21, hosted by the BBC cricket correspondent, Jonathan Agnew.

The individual category winners will then be put to an online public vote to determine the overall British Sports Book of the Year.

The shortlists in full (click on the titles for buying information from Amazon)

Autobiography/Biography

The Outsider: A Memoir, by Jimmy Connors (Harper)
Swim, Bike, Run: Our Triathlon Story, by Alastair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee (Viking)
Running: The Autobiography, by Ronnie O'Sullivan (Orion)
Henry Cecil: Trainer of Genius, by Brough Scott (Racing Post Books)
Driving Ambition - My Autobiography, by Andrew Strauss (Hodder & Stoughton)
Dreams Do Come True, by Katherine Grainger (Andre Deutsch)
Stillness and Speed, by Dennis Bergkamp (Simon & Schuster)
Added Time: Surviving Cancer, Death Threats and the Premier League, by Mark Halsey with Ian Ridley (Floodlit Dreams)

Football

The Wizard: The Life of Stanley Matthews, by Jon Henderson (Yellow Jersey)
The Nowhere Men: The Unknown Story of Football's True Talent Spotters, by Michael Calvin (Century)
Sir Walter Winterbottom: The Father of Modern English Football, by Graham Morse (John Blake Publishing)
Messi, by Guillem Balague (Orion)
I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, by Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Penguin)
Keith Gillespie: How Not to be a Football Millionaire, by Keith Gillespie and Daniel McDonnell (Trinity Mirror Sport Media)
The Great English Final, by David Tossell (Pitch Publishing)
Fear and Loathing in La Liga: Barcelona vs Real Madrid, by Sid Lowe (Yellow Jersey)

Cricket

The Little Wonder: The Remarkable History of Wisden, by Robert Winder (Wisden)
The Trundlers, by Harry Pearson (Little, Brown)
Lost in the Long Grass, by John Barclay (Fairfield Books)
The Great Tamasha: Cricket, Corruption and the Turbulent Rise of Modern India, by James Astill (Wisden Sports Writing)
Bradman's War, by Malcolm Knox (The Robson Press)
A Guide to Cricket, by Tony Laughton (Christopher Saunders Publishing)

Horse Racing

Henry Cecil: Trainer of Genius, by Brough Scott (Racing Post Books)
Skint Mob!: Tales from the Betting Ring by Simon Nott (Simon Nott Publications)
Foinavon: The Story of the Grand National's Biggest Upset, by David Owen (Wisden Sports Writing)
Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang, by Jamie Reid (Racing Post Books)
Arkle: The Legend of 'Himself', by Anne Holland (The O'Brien Press)

Illustrated

Wimbledon 2013, by Neil Harman (Vision Sports Publishing)
The Pain and the Glory (Team Sky Giro & Tour Diary), by Team Sky, Dave Brailsford and Chris Froome (HarperSport)
Incredible Waves: An Appreciation of Perfect Surf, by Chris Power (Orca Publications)
David Beckham, by David Beckham (Headline)
Seventy-Seven: My Road to Wimbledon Glory, by Andy Murray (Headline)
8000m: Climbing the World's Highest Mountains, by Alan Hinkes (Cicerone Press)

New Writer

You Don't Know Me, but ...: A Footballer's Life, by Clark Carlisle (Simon & Schuster)
The Sergio Torres Story: From the Brick Factory to the Theatre of Dreams, by Sergio Torres (Pitch Publishing)
The Race Against Time, by Edward Pickering (Corgi)
Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and...Me: Mike Yates Tells His Story, with Keith Miller (Independent Publishing Network)
Land of Second Chances: The Impossible Rise of Rwanda's Cycling Team, by Tim Lewis (Yellow Jersey)
Fat Man to Green Man: From Unfit to Ultramarathon,  by Ira Rainey (Tangent Books)

Rugby

Unguarded, by Ronan O'Gara (Transworld Ireland)
White Gold: England's Journey to Rugby World Cup Glory, by Peter Burns (Arena Sport)
The Mud the Beer and the Rugby, by John Collier  (Tales of the Vale)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: The Rise and Fall of Pontypool RFC, by Nick Bishop and Alun Carter (Mainstream)
City Centre: High Ball to High Finance, by Simon Halliday (Matador)
Calon: A Journey to the Heart of Welsh Rugby, by Owen Sheers (Faber & Faber)

Outstanding General Sports Writing

Pushing the Limits, by Casey Stoner (Orion)
On the Road Bike: The Search For a Nation's Cycling Soul, by Ned Boulting (Yellow Jersey)
Fore!: The Best of John Hopkins on Golf, by John Hopkins (Elliott & Thompson)
Everest - The First Ascent: The untold story of Griffith Pugh, the man who made it possible, by Harriet Tuckey (Rider)
Can't Sleep, Can't Train, Can't Stop: More Misadventures in Triathlon, by Andy Holgate (Pitch Publishing)
An American Caddie in St. Andrews: Growing Up, Girls, and Looping on the Old Course, by Oliver Horovitz (Gotham Books)

Publicity Campaign

Anna Pallai (Faber & Faber) for Red or Dead, by David Peace
Laura Lees & Orlando Mowbray (HarperCollins) for Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography, by Mike Tyson
Karen Geary & Rebecca Mundy  (Hodder) for Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography, by Alex Ferguson
Louise Court (Yellow Jersey Press) for The Sports Gene: Talent, Practice and the Truth About Success,  by David Epstein
Julia Murday (Penguin Books) for I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, by Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Helen Mockridge (Simon & Schuster) for Stillness and Speed: My Story, by Dennis Bergkamp

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