The football books you should read during the coronavirus lockdown | Football

Stillness and Speed, by Dennis Bergkamp

Dennis Bergkamp’s book is different. Produced with the excellent Dutch football writer David Winner, the former Arsenal striker’s memoir is all the richer for allowing Bergkamp to share his footballing philosophy instead of being a chronological journey through his life. But thanks to Winner’s conversations with Bergkamp and the Dutchman’s former teammates and managers, it also contains plenty of great stories. A top insight into the mind of a true artist. Jacob Steinberg

The Great Derbies 1962-1988: Everton v Liverpool, by Brian Barwick and Gerald Sinstadt

This is an old-fashioned football book, full of evocative photographs, interviews and anecdotes rather than philosophical musing or tactical theory, but as its subject matter neatly encompasses my formative years and childhood passions I turn to it regularly and with pleasure. Everything that matters is in here, from Gordon West’s handbag to Stan Boardman’s frustration as a Liverpool A-teamer to Gary Lineker’s lucky boots, with special mention of Clive Thomas of Treorchy. The underlying theme is Liverpool’s gradual rise to supremacy, of course, but I can even forgive that. These were happy days. Paul Wilson

The Club, by Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg

The Club

Photograph: //No Credit

Written with the US audience in mind, this might be more of a recap for the peeled-eyeball obsessive. But it is an excellent recap, with wonderful access and forensic detail on the Premier League’s rise to global alpha status. At a time when there is a chance to reset and possibly even – no, really – do things differently, it’s useful to remember how finely poised many of the choices that got us here were. All told with an arch sense of humour. Barney Ronay

The Miracle of Castel di Sangro, by Joe McGinniss

In 1996 Castel di Sangro, a team from an impoverished town of 5,000 inhabitants, sealed their spectacular rise from the amateur leagues to Serie B courtesy of a penalty save from a veteran substitute goalkeeper making his first appearance of the season. McGinniss, having become obsessed with the sport thanks to Roberto Baggio and the 1994 World Cup, immerses himself in the club and town for what comes next. Tragedy and scandal expose the late author to the cynical side of Italian football, but miracles ensure his love for the game and the country survive. A gripping tale, brilliantly told. Andy Hunter

Extra Time, by Kevin Sampson

A Liverpool supporter’s account of following the team during the 1997-98 season feels like something that should appeal only to, well, a Liverpool supporter, but this is a book that transcends tribalism. Partly because Sampson’s stories, involving the likes of Jegsy Dodd and the Urban Dub Poet, are those of all match-going fans and partly because, as is the case with the author’s work in general, they are told with great wit and warmth. Sachin Nakrani

All Played Out, by Pete Davies

The best books transport you to another place and time, making it, and its inhabitants, seem real. All Played Out does precisely that, taking readers back to Italia 90 with access all areas. It tells the inside story of that watershed tournament thanks to the sometimes startling, and always very human, insights accumulated during the nine months of unparalleled access Davies was granted by Bobby Robson and his England players. Spiced by three-dimensional portrayals of journalists, fans and hooligans, it could not be written today. Louise Taylor

Fifty-Six: The Story of the Bradford Fire, by Martin Fletcher

Fifty-six: the story of the Bradford fire

Photograph: //No Credit

In 1985, on the final day of the season, a 12-year-old Martin Fletcher went to watch Bradford City with his father, brother, grandfather and uncle but he would be the only one to leave alive as a fire engulfed the wooden main stand, killing 56 people. This is a stunningly brutal account of that horrific day and aftermath by a man still scarred and searching for answers. Suzanne Wrack

The Boy on the Shed, by Paul Ferris

A book which begins as a stark social history of Northern Ireland during its most troubled sectarian times develops into a superb memoir. Ferris was a childhood superstar who left his native Lisburn and everything he knew to sign for Newcastle United. Ferris’s experiences, in football and an incredible life beyond, are blissfully easy to relate to. Triumph, tragedy and everything in between are beautifully encapsulated here. Ewan Murray

The Title, by Scott Murray

What better way to pass the time during the suspension of the Premier League than by catching up on all the top-flight title races that took place before English football got its glitzy makeover? There’s very many a yarn to be celebrated, and Scott Murray – also of this parish – proves the perfect guide, breezing through more than a 100 years of heritage with customary style, deep knowledge and an infectious appreciation for the characters who shaped the “epic saga” of English football pre-1992. Paul Doyle

The Ball is Round, by David Goldblatt

There are other histories of football but none that tackle it so well from a socio-economic perspective, and few that have the same global vision. This is a remarkable work of synthesis. Goldblatt’s triumph is to take a wealth of theory and information from an extraordinary array of sources from across the world and construct from it a narrative that is both convincing and readable. Jonathan Wilson

Source Article