EACH YEAR, a select band from the national committee of the Football Writers’ Association, take some time out from writing their own words to read as many football books as possible before deciding on the Football Book of the Year, one of the main categories in the increasingly influential British Sports Book Awards. This year’s winner will be announced at a gala dinner at the Savoy Hotel on May 9.
Fifteen or 20 years ago, there were few intelligent, thoughtful and discersive books published about football, with cricket and rugby writers in general waxing far more lyrically, and in greater numbers, than those from our game. But all that has changed.
Now there appears to be more outstanding publications reaching the bookshelves than before and 2010 was no exception. However, the book committee of the FWA had to draw up a shortlist from the dozens of great books that were produced and after lengthy deliberations, their recommendations are listed below.
Mike Collett, chairing the Committee this year said: “What we are looking for is a book that tells a story in a special, unique way, and there were plenty of candidates to chose from before we settled on our final seven. We now have to give very careful consideration to the strengths and merits of these finalists and each one in their own way is superb and a deserving winner. . It is not going to be easy – but its going to be highly enlightening.”
The shortlist is (in author’s alphabetical order):
PATRICK BARCLAY: Football – Bloody Hell ! – The Biography of Alex Ferguson Yellow Jersey
MICHAEL CALVIN: Family – Life Death and Football. Integr8 Publishing
ANTHONY CLAVANE: Promised Land – The Re-Iinvention of Leeds United. Yellow Jersey
CATRINE CLAY: Trautmann’s Journey – From Hitler Youth to FA Cup Legend Yellow Jersey
JAMES MORGAN: In Search of Alan Gilzean – The lost legacy of a Dundee and Spurs legend. Back Page Press
BRIAN SCOVELL: Bill Nicholson – Football’s Perfectionist. John Blake Publishing
JONATHAN WILSON: The Anatomy of England – A History in Ten Matches. Orion Publishing
The committee will make its choice by the end of April with the winner announced by Queens Park Rangers manager Neil Warnock at the dinner at the Savoy on May 9.