Oliver Kay’s Forever Young is voted the 2017 Cross Sports Book of the Year

Forever Young: The Story of Adrian Doherty - Football's Lost Genius.

Oliver Kay is chief football correspondent at The Times
Oliver Kay is chief football correspondent at The Times
Times football journalist Oliver Kay has won the 2017 Cross Sports Book of the Year award for his debut book Forever Young: The Story of Adrian Doherty, Football’s Lost Genius.

Kay, the newspaper’s Chief Football Correspondent, was named as the overall winner after sports book fans were asked to vote for their favourite among the nine category winners selected by the judges and announced at a ceremony at Lord’s Cricket Ground last month.

Forever Young, which charts the tragically short life of former Manchester United player Doherty, was written with the co-operation of Doherty’s family in Belfast and Kay thanked them in a tweet on learning the news, declaring himself to be “amazed and delighted”.

Read The Sports Bookshelf's review of Forever Young

Doherty, a maverick character among United’s golden generation of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers, was rated by his peers as the best of them all, a player with natural ball skills and lightning pace.

Sadly, his career was cut short before it had really begun by a knee injury but the path he followed after football was not typical and assumptions made about the circumstances of his death proved to be wide of the mark.

Forever Young, which was Football Book of the Year with the judges, polled highest with the public among a strong field that included controversial footballer Joey Barton, whose No Nonsense won the Autobiography of the Year category.

No Nonsense was written in collaboration with Michael Calvin, the distinguished sports writer who was ghostwriter when rugby player Gareth Thomas won the overall prize in 2015 with Proud, and who won in his own right the year before with The Nowhere Men, his widely acclaimed insight into the life of football’s largely anonymous army of talent scouts.

The other category winners included Find a Way by Diana Nyad, which was judged International Autobiography of the Year, telling the story of how she became the first person to swim the shark-infested waters between Cuba and Florida with no cage for protection.

British and Irish Lions second row forward Paul O'Connell’s The Battle won the Rugby Book of the Year award, whilst Tour de France cycling legend Chris Boardman secured the Cycling Book of the year with Triumphs and Turbulence: My Autobiography.

Broadcaster and former cricketer Mark Nicholas won The Cricket Book of the Year for his memoir called A Beautiful Game. And The Sun Shines Now, by Adrian Tempany, which deconstructs the dramatic changes that have taken place in English football in the 25 years since the Hillsborough disaster, was awarded New Writer of the Year.

The Lane by Adam Powley, Martin Cloake and former Tottenham Hotspur captain Steve Perryman, was named Illustrated Book of the Year.

Biography of the Year was Robert Wainwright’s story of The Maverick Mountaineer, the eccentric climber George Finch.

A special award for Outstanding Contribution to Sports Writing was presented on the awards night to arguably the most outstanding writer of our generation, Hugh McIlvanney.

The complete list of category winners:

Cross Autobiography of the Year - No Nonsense: The Autobiography by Joey Barton (Simon & Schuster)

The Times Biography of the Year - The Maverick Mountaineerby Robert Wainwright (Atlantic Books)

The Professional Cricketers’ Association Cricket Book of the Year - A Beautiful Game by Mark Nicholas (Allen & Unwin)

Maserati Cycling Book of the Year - Triumphs and Turbulence:My Autobiography by Chris Boardman (Ebury Press)

Specsavers Football Book of the Year - Forever Young by Oliver Kay (Quercus)

Thomson Reuters Illustrated Book of the Year  - The Lane by Adam Powley, Steve Perryman & Martin Cloake (Vision Sports Publishing)

Artbuthnot Latham Rugby Book of the Year  - The Battle by Paul O’Connell (Penguin Ireland)

Freshtime New Writer of the Year - And The Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany (Faber & Faber)

Best International Autobiography Award - Find A Way by Diana Nyad (Penguin Randomhouse).


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