The shortlist for the Football Book of the Year has been announced with former winner James Montague among the six contenders for this year’s top prize in the 16th Sports Book Awards.
His probe into football’s super rich owners — The Billionaires Club — contrasts sharply with Tom van Hulsen’s book — Game Changers — on Dutchmen Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen, who were the outstanding stars of Bobby Robson’s Ipswich Town team three decades ago.
The shortlist, decided by the books commitee of the Football Writers Association, includes three studies of managers past and present, with biographies of Sir Matt Busby by FWA chairman Patrick Barclay, Bob Paisley by Ian Herbert and current Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino by Guillem Balague.
Staying with the ‘managerial’ theme, but on a totally different playing field, is Owen Amos’s book “From Delhi to The Den”, recounting the fascinating story of lesser known globetrotting coach Stephen Constantine.
FWA Books Committee chairman Mike Collett, at the shortlist announcement at Coutts Bank in The Strand, said; ‘We had a bumper crop of fantastic books this year, and so many others could have made the short list. In the end though, the committee were unanimous in their choice of winner and runner-up, but it was a very close run thing.”
The winner of the football book, and books in other categories which include cycling, cricket, rugby, autobiography, biography, international autobiography, and illustrated book of the year, will be announced at a gala dinner at Lord’s Cricket Ground on the evening of June 7.
After the individual awards are announced, an online public vote determines the overall winner of the Sports Book of the Year.
Coutts Football Book of the Year Shortlist
The Billionaires Club James Montague (Bloomsbury)
Quiet Genius: Bob Paisley, British Football’s Greatest Manager Ian Herbert (Bloomsbury)
From Delhi to the Den: The Story of Football’s Most Travelled Manager Stephen Constantine with Owen Amos (deCoubertin Books)
Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs Guillem Balague (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Game Changers – The Remarkable Story of Dutch Masters Arnold Mühren and Frans Thijssen Tom van Hulsen, translated by Jolanda van Boeijen (Portman Road Producties)
Sir Matt Busby: The Definitive Biography Paddy Barclay (Ebury)