Football Book of the Year – the shortlist

Seven titles have been chosen as part of the 20th Sports Book awards

The FWA’s book committee is pleased to announce the shortlist for the Football Book of the Year, one of 11 categories in The Sports Book Awards, in association with The Sunday Times.

The Football Book of the Year has a shortlist of seven titles:

  • Barça – The inside story of the world’s greatest football club, Simon Kuper (Short Books)
  • The Immortals, Arrigo Sacchi (BackPage Press)
  • Maradona: The Boy. The Rebel. The God. Guillem Balague (W&N)
  • The Greatest Show on Earth: The Inside Story of the Legendary 1970 World Cup, Andrew Downie (Arena Sport)
  • FA Cup 150, Phil Annets (FACupFactfile, self-published)
  • The Miracle 04 – The Football Team That Shocked The world, Vasilis Sambrakos (Pitch Publishing)
  • The Dream Factory, Ryan Baldi (Polaris Publishing Limited)

There are also some outstanding books by FWA members and leading football writers in other categories, as listed here:

The Sunday Times Autobiography of the Year

  • Francis Benali: The Autobiography, Francis Benali (Bloomsbury Sport)
  • Belonging: The Autobiography, Alun Wyn Jones (Macmillan)
  • Hooked: Addiction and the Long Road to Recovery, Paul Merson(Headline)
  • Love of the Game, Ricky Hill with Adrian Durham (Pitch Publishing)
  • Resilience, Elise Christie, Mark Eglinton (Reach Sport)
  • Too Many Reasons to Live, Rob Burrow (Macmillan)
  • Troy Deeney: Redemption, Troy Deeney (Cassell)

Pinsent Masons Sports Writing Award

  • Football, She Wrote, Various (Floodlit Dreams)
  • Why We Kneel, How We Rise, Michael Holding (Simon and Schuster UK)
  • Don Revie: The Biography, Christopher Evans (Bloomsbury Sport)
  • Game On, Sue Anstiss (Unbound)
  • The Boy, Richard Williams (Simon and Schuster UK)
  • The Third Pole, Mark Synnott (Headline)
  • Whose Game Is It Anyway?, Michael Calvin (Pitch Publishing)

Fitzdares International Autobiography of the Year

  • All In: The Autobiography of Billie Jean King, Billie Jean King (Viking)
  • Always Believe, Olivier Giroud with Dominique Rouch (Pitch Publishing)
  • I Love This Game, Patrice Evra (Simon and Schuster UK)
  • Leap of Faith, Frankie Dettori (HarperCollins)
  • One: My Autobiography, Peter Schmeichel (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Rise: The Brand New Autobiography, Siya Kolisi (HarperCollins)

Children’s Sports Book of the Year, in association with the National Literacy Trust

  • You Are a Champion, Marcus Rashford and Carl Anka (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • Fall Off, Get Back On, Keep Going, Clare Balding, illustrated by Jessica Holm (Wren and Rook)
  • How to Be a Footballer and Other Sports Jobs, Rachel Yankey, Illustrated by Sol Linero (Nosy Crow)
  • Jaz Santos vs the World, Priscilla Mante (Puffin)
  • Run Like a Girl, Danielle Brown (Button Books)
  • Striking Out, Ian Wright, Musa Okwonga & illustrated by Benjamin Wachenje (Scholastic)
  • I Love My Bike, Simon Mole, illustrated by Sam Usher (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books)
  • Play Like Your Football Heroes: Pro tips for becoming a top player, Seth Burkett and Matt Oldfield, illustrated by Tom Jennings (Walker Books)

The Heartaches’ Cricket Book of the Year

  • Beyond the Boundaries, Scyld Berry (Fairfield Books)
  • It’s Always Summer Somewhere, Felix White (Cassell)
  • Never Surrender, Mark Peel (Pitch Publishing)
  • Late Cuts: Musings on Cricket, Vic Marks (Allen & Unwin)
  • Who Only Cricket Know, David Woodhouse (Fairfield Books)
  • Why We Kneel, How We Rise, Michael Holding (Simon and Schuster UK)

Cycling Book of the Year

  • Desire, Discrimination, Determination – Black Champions in Cycling, Dr Marlon Moncrieffe (Rapha)
  • God is Dead: The Rise and Fall of Frank Vandenbroucke, Cycling’s Great Wasted Talent, Andy McGrath (Bantam Press)
  • Revolutions, Hannah Ross (W&N)
  • The Art of Cycling, James Hibbard (Quercus)
  • Vuelta Skelter, Tim Moore (Jonathan Cape)
  • War on Wheels: Inside Keirin and Japan’s Cycling Subculture, Justin McCurry (Pursuit Books)

Illustrated Book of the Year

  • England Rugby – 150 Years, The RFU, Phil McGowan and Richard Steele (Vision Sports Publishing)
  • Extreme Like a Girl, Carolina Amell (Prestel)
  • Liverpool Football Programmes: The Definitive Collector’s Guide, Andy Marsden (LFCProgMan)
  • Seve – His Life Through The Lens, David Cannon & Rob Green (Vision Sports Publishing)
  • This Sporting Life – Gerry Cranham Photographer, Mark Leech & Doug Cheeseman (Offside Press)
  • Toon In!, Michael Payne (Vision Sports Publishing)
  • Why Everything You Know About Martial Arts Is Wrong*, Andrew G Stewart (Self-published)
  • The People’s Wimbledon, Richard Jones (Pitch Publishing)

Arbuthnot Latham Rugby Book of the Year, in association with The Rugby Union Writers’ Club

  • The Buck Props Here!, Anthony Buchanan with Geraint Thomas (Y Lolfa)
  • Fight Or Flight, Keith Earls with Tommy Conlon (Reach Sport)
  • Centre Stage, Jamie Roberts and Ross Harries (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Crossing The Line, Willie Anderson with Brendan Fanning (Reach Sport)
  • The Flying Prince, Hugh Godwin (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • This is Your Everest, Tom English & Peter Burns (Polaris Publishing)

Sports Entertainment Book of the Year

  • How Not to be a Cricketer, Phil Tufnell (Simon and Schuster UK)
  • Eighty at Eighty, Sir Geoff Hurst with Norman Giller (Pitch Publishing)
  • Flats and Durders Offload, David Flatman & Mark Durden-Smith (Simon and Schuster UK)
  • Not for Me, Clive, Clive Tyldesley (Headline)
  • Ten to Win… And the Last Man In, Henry Blofeld (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Champ & The Chump, James McNicholas (Headline)

iPRO Hydrate Sports Performance Book of the Year

  • The Gladiator Mindset, Adam Peaty (Quercus)
  • Everybody Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Face, Tony Bellew (Seven Dials)
  • High Performance, Jake Humphrey & Prof Damian Hughes (Random House Business)
  • Move!: The New Science of Body Over Mind, Caroline Williams (Profile Books)
  • Stronger, Poorna Bell (Bluebird)
  • Leadership, Eddie Jones (Macmillan)
  • All to Play For, Matt Rogan & Kerry Potter (Ebury Press)

Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors.

Winners will be announced at the final ceremony at the Kia Oval on 26th May.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the awards a special award to the Best Sports Book of the 21st Century will be presented to a previous winner. Tickets for the Awards Ceremony are available to purchase at

Sports Book Awards Chairman, David Willis reflects:

Twenty years of the Sports Book Awards sees a tremendous panorama of brilliant and colourful writing. Sports writing now attracts some of the finest talent in the English language and we are proud to be associated with such a successful and exhilarating genre.”

The Bob Willis Fund is the charity partner for the 2022 awards. The Bob Willis Fund has been set up to raise money for prostate cancer research and awareness, with the aim of achieving a national screening programme in the next 3-5 years. Please visit the website for more information

For more information about the Sports Book Awards 2022, visit

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