Into our recent archive: here are 25 recommended long sport reads | Sport

The final night of the old World Cup qualifying system was a sensory overload of drama that included death, “murder”, illegal aliens – and Jack Charlton almost chinning Tony Cascarino.

A country of just four million is home to one of the world’s most dominant teams in sport. But how do New Zealand remain at the pinnacle more than 100 years after the ‘Originals’ established their supremacy?

Friends tell the story of a fighter who did not need to box but chose to, and how his death at the age of 27 after a knockout punch left them bereft.

Governments wield power over many Champions League clubs and the ties that bind owners, sponsors and Uefa are striking.

Olympic medallist Tasha Schwikert and US national team member Jordan Schwikert reveal their experience as sisters and survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse, including an unthinkable week Tasha spent in the predator’s home.

The 2005 Ashes was special. The Queen said it was “cricket at its best”. The PM said it “lit up the summer”. For one writer and England fan it was more than that: it was the storied series that shares a summer with his divorce.

Andrew Flintoff (right) of England consoles Brett Lee (left) of Australia after England won the second Ashes Test Match by two runs at the Edgbaston cricket ground in August 2005. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Increasingly viewers want shorter, sharper, bite-sized chunks of entertainment. The landscape is changing. So what is sport doing about it?

José Mourinho’s whole career seems to be one long revenge plot. Despite his great success, his various reigns have all ended in spectacular discord. So where does he go from here?

Back in 2011, we tracked Victoria Pendleton’s preparations as she readied herself for the London Olympics. Part two of the interview is here and Tom Jenkins’s gallery.

Forget football, the world’s fastest-growing sport is live gaming. But increasingly its impact is proving harmful to those involved.

The Houston Rockets superstar tried to combat not just the violence, but the affordability of sneakers worn by NBA stars, attempting to subvert the trend of overpriced basketball shoes marketed to urban youth. He failed.

Qatar is not the only oil-rich nation spending billions to burnish its image by buying up major events from athletics to football.

With the Hillsborough disaster stitched into the fabric of the club, players and supporters feel a palpable mixture of yearning and pride.

In search of the soul of English rugby union.

We join the circuit to discover the stories of precocious youngsters and battleworn veterans trying to make their way in the sport they love.

Before the Premier League’s six-figure salaries, retiring footballers had to start again, with little experience off the pitch. From a detective to a former convict, former players talk about their second life.

David Hillier, former Arsenal and Portsmouth footballer turned firefighter.

David Hillier, former Arsenal and Portsmouth footballer turned firefighter. Photograph: Richard Saker/The Guardian

The sport, a relic of its 1970s heyday, is crying out for someone to revolutionise it. Clubs are increasingly staging events on the outskirts of the communities they represent. Out of sight has become out of mind.

What is 2,011km long, lasts 82 days and takes 20,093 shots? Golf’s longest hole. Two retired rugby players went to Mongolia, fell in with a stray dog and took it on.

Shockwaves were felt across Somerset at the end of the 1986 season when the club announced that an overhaul was due. And Vic watched it unfold at first hand.

In an extract from his book on Donald Trump and golf, Reilly explains why the president’s game can tell us more about him than a roomful of psychologists.

The first match of their series in West Indies is the last England Test of which there is no footage. That’s both a shame, because we’ll never see it, and a blessing, because we’ll never see it. It could never be as vivid or as terrifying as it is in the imagination.

West Indies’ Joel Garner bowls a bouncer to England’s Phil Edmonds during the First Test at Kingston in February 1986.

West Indies’ Joel Garner bowls a bouncer to England’s Phil Edmonds during the First Test at Kingston in February 1986. Photograph: Patrick Eagar via Getty Images

A journey from reviled ‘human cockfighting’ to mainstream acceptance has transformed mixed martial arts into a hugely profitable industry, and raised concerns over the safety and legitimacy of its visceral violence.

Each archival photograph has been juxtaposed with a present-day image taken from the same perspective, showing how the ground – and the game itself – has been transformed over the past century.

“From mid-range he could kill you.” Teammates from 1970s Vermont remember the erstwhile presidential hopeful as an on-court leader – with very sharp elbows.

The World Beard and Moustache Championships are the pinnacle of facial hair competition – this is the story of a young lad from Wiltshire, who gave up shaving one day and made it to the big time.

Contestants of the 2015 World Beard And Moustache Championship.

Contestants of the 2015 World Beard And Moustache Championship. Photograph: Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images

And while we’re here …

Just the 50 of them.

We’ve got 25 more.

Eidur Gudjohnsen’s son, the new Paul Pogba and Barcelona’s Ansu Fati are among our annual pick of the world’s best young footballers. You can also check the progress of our picks from 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014.

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