No Nonsense: Joey Barton's autobiography on the William Hill Sports Book of the Year longlist after just one day in the shops

Joey Barton
Controversial footballer Joey Barton's autobiography No Nonsense has been included on the longlist for the 2016 William Hill Sports Book of the Year even though it was published only yesterday.

Written in collaboration with Michael Calvin, the award-winning author and sports journalist, Barton's book promises to deliver a candid account of a life never far from the headlines on and off the field.

Calvin is the third writer to work with the player, who began the project in 2014 with Times journalist Matthew Syed and made one attempt to write it himself, which he did not sustain beyond nine chapters.

There is much detail, some of it quite harrowing, about his upbringing in hard-edged working class Liverpool, where many of his associates and even family members were involved in crime at one level or another.  His brother, Michael, and his cousin, Paul Taylor, are serving jail sentences for the murder of an innocent black teenager.

The book has no shortage, too, of outspoken comment from an incident-packed career on the field.  Barton, who has studied philosophy and appeared on the BBC's Question Time, is currently suspended by his latest club, Rangers, following a furious row with manager Mark Warburton and team-mate Andy Halliday that blew up in the wake of Rangers' 5-1 defeat against Celtic.

Also longlisted is former Formula One world champion Damon Hill's autobiography Watching the Wheels, in which he writes movingly about his father Graham Hill, who died before he could see his son triumph in the sport he once ruled.

Paternal relationships can also be found at the heart of two other titles in the running for the £28,000 cash prize that goes with the award.

‘How’s Your Dad?’ is Mick Channon junior's account of growing up in the shadow of a father who succeeded in not one sport but two, while Dan Waddell offers an affectionate portrait of his father, darts commentator Sid Waddell, one of sports broadcasting’s most fondly remembered figures, in We Had Some Laughs.

Elsewhere writers dig deep into their subjects’ histories to tell their stories as never before.

Oliver Kay’s acclaimed Forever Young is about “football’s lost genius”, the former Manchester United prodigy Adrian Doherty, who died aged 26 while working in Holland, having become estranged from the game he once loved.

Tim Lane and Elliot Cartledge’s Chasing Shadows probes the life and violent death of controversial cricketer and commentator Peter Roebuck.

Double William Hill winner Duncan Hamilton takes on one of Britain’s greatest Olympians, Eric Liddell, in For the Glory. 

Continuing the Olympic theme, the Czech long-distance runner Emil Zátopek is the subject of not one but two books on the longlist: Today We Die a Little by Richard Askwith and Endurance by Rick Broadbent. Never before have two biographies about the same person have been in direct competition for the William Hill prize.

Football, which produced the 2015 winner, David Goldblatt's  The Game of Our Lives, is the subject of two other longlisted titles in Football’s Coming Out, Neil Beasley's story of surviving and succeeding as a gay fan and footballer in an often homophobic sport, and Mister: The Men Who Taught the World How to Beat England at Their Own Game, by Times journalist Rory Smith, which looks at how English football managers helped take the sport around the world.

Also in contention are two books about the business of sport in Mr Darley’s Arabian, in which Christopher McGrath looks at the history of horse-breeding by following the bloodline of 25 exceptional horses, and Phil Knight’s memoir, Shoe Dog, which tells the story of one of sport’s most instantly recognisable brands, Nike.

Completing this year’s 17-strong longlist: William Finnegan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Barbarian Days, which chronicles the journalist’s long love affair with surfing; Diana Nyad’s memoir Find a Way, culminating in her record-breaking swim from Cuba to Florida, without a shark cage, at the age of 64; Anna Kessel’s timely Eat Sweat Play, an examination of attitudes to women in sport today, in which she explores sporting taboos including body dysmorphia, periods, miscarriage, sex and the gender pay gap; and The Belt Boy, by Kevin Lueshing, which charts the hidden torment behind the boxing champion’s rise to the top.

The shortlist will be announced on October 18. The winner will be revealed at an afternoon reception at BAFTA, in central London, on Thursday November 24.  There will a poignancy about this year's award ceremony in that it will be the first since John Gaustad, the award's co-founder and proprietor of the much-missed Sportspages book shop in central London, passed away earlier this year.

The longlist in full (alphabetically by author’s surname):



Extraordinary book about extraordinary times recreates the golden era of Nottingham Forest

A guest review by Jeremy Culley, editor of www.lostintheforest-nffc.co.uk

ALL clubs with distant glories are beset by the same problem.

Younger fans are forced to cling to past triumphs of which they have no recollection, experiencing a mixture of frustration at missing out and blissful ignorance of just how bad the current crop are compared with the stars of yesteryear.

In the same way that those of a certain vintage describe their partying days in the 1960s and 70s with wistful smiles and glints in their eyes, older Forest fans turn to children and grandchildren and say: "I've been there and done it all, me. Munich, Madrid the lot."

Sadly for those fascinated by their ancestors' memories of European Cup and Wembley success, their own tales of watching Forest away may extend no further than Yeovil, Grimsby and Woking in the LDV Vans Trophy.

Daniel Taylor has done much to ease their annoyance, however.

'I Believe in Miracles: The Remarkable Story of Brian Clough's European Cup-Winning Team' recounts the glory days of the late 1970s and early 1980s so skilfully and vividly readers almost feel they didn't miss out at all.

Told through the eyes of the players who made it all happen, the eccentricities and magic of Clough and his assistant Peter Taylor are revealed in all their glory.

And lifelong Forest fan Taylor, who writes for The Guardian, manages to weave together the comic and maverick side with the impact the astonishing achievements of Forest at that time had on the wider city of Nottingham.

He vividly portrays a crumbling provincial club with a disenchanted fanbase living in a city rife with growing post-industrial social problems.

Brian Clough's unique management style transformed Nottingham Forest
Brian Clough's unique management
style transformed Nottingham Forest
But then in sweeps Brian Clough, a manager whose potential brilliance is without question but one whose career hangs in the balance after a disastrous spell as Don Revie's successor at Leeds United.

He shakes down and reinvigorates some of the club’s journeyman stars, transforming the careers of Martin O’Neill and Ian Bowyer, and moving portly winger John Robertson away from chip shops and chain smoking to scoring the winner in the European Cup final at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

The achievements are widely known but the anecdotes from the players involved are not.

And Taylor brings them together wonderfully, illustrating the fearless spirit in the Forest camp.

A brilliant story comes from Larry Lloyd, a towering centre-half from Liverpool and a slightly opinionated character with whom Clough perennially clashed.

David Needham had been signed from Notts County as cover when Lloyd became injured and performed so extraordinarily well that his more renowned teammate faced a battle to get back into the side.

Clough dealt with it in the expert way only he could: by making them both feel a million dollars.

Watch the goals from Forest's 1978-79 European Cup campaign

The team was announced and Lloyd was in it.

Clough told Needham: “David, you’re probably wondering why I’ve left you out and you’re entitled to. David you’ve done ever so well since I bought you. You know you’ve done brilliantly and I can’t fault you. David you’re a lovely boy. If my daughter were looking to bring home a man to marry, you’d be that man. You’re that nice I’d have you as a son-in-law.

“You see him over there, Larry Lloyd? I hate that f***ing b*****d. Absolutely hate him. And that David is why you’re not in the team. You’re not a b*****d like Larry Lloyd. And son, I want a b*****d in my defence.”

Another story is how Forest were taken to an FA Cup replay with Queens Park Rangers.

The inability to finish off the Hoops had the regrettable effect of cutting short a Spanish getaway for Clough.

In the run-up to the match, there was no sign of Old Big ‘Ead until five minutes before kick-off.

Lloyd recalls: “There he was, tanned and healthy, but with a face like thunder. ‘You f***ing b*****ds’ he shouted. ‘You’ve dragged me back from Majorca to get you through this FA Cup tie against a load of s*** from London’.”

Forest won the match 3-1.

Watch the goals from Forest's 1979-80 European Cup campaign

Clough was not like most managers, taking his players for walks in the park rather than training in European stadia, and keeping them up late drinking wine and playing cards instead of sleeping before a big match.

And author Taylor, in a more subtle way, has written something unlike most football books of its kind.

Released to accompany the film of the same name, it reads as if the players have gathered in a living room or cosy bar to share anecdotes over some scotch or a bottle of wine.

It is not a biographical or historical account of Forest’s greatest triumphs, but an intimate, charming and incredibly funny insight.

Buy I Believe in Miracles: The Remarkable Story of Brian Clough's European Cup-Winning Team, by Daniel Taylor (Headline)