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Read more about your favourite sports or sportsmen and women with a unique perspective on their careers from the comfort of your sofa with this range of recommended books. Whether you’re a football fan, rugby reveller or fishing follower, we have a great read for you!
'I kill a man and most people forgive me. However, I love a man and many say this makes me an evil person.' On 24 March 1962, when Emile Griffith stepped into the ring in Madison Square Garden to defend his world title against Benny Paret, he was filled with rage. During their weigh-in, the Cuban challenger had denounced Griffith as a 'faggot' and minced towards him. In the macho world of boxing, where fighters know they are engaged in the hurt game, there could be no greater insult. At that time, it was illegal for people of the same gender to have sex, or even for a bar to knowingly serve a drink to a gay person. It was an insinuation that could have had dangerous consequences for Griffith - especially as it was true. In the fight that followed, Griffith pounded Paret into unconsciousness, and the Cuban would die soon after, leaving Griffith haunted by what he had done. Despite this, he went on to fight more world championship rounds than any other fighter in history in a career that lasted for almost 20 years.
Have you ever wanted to know what really happens when teams go on tour? Drawing on his extensive experience of touring, former international and acclaimed pundit Brian Moore tells you all you need ever know, with this in-depth but light-hearted expose, covering every level of the sport, from junior club rugby right up to the British Lions. With stories of bikini-clad forwards and Moore's own escapades, many of rugby's best-known names of recent years are featured, and no element of life on tour is left untouched. As they go, readers will learn how to survive the worst room-mates in the world, how to cope with the long hours of travel, and how to get the best room in the hotel. They will learn how the professionals do it - or at least used to - and how their would-be amateur counterparts try to do it; both having a blast along the way. Anyone who has ever gone away with a group of mates - male or female, sporting or not - will recognise similar situations and immediately identify with the book.
Nearly 1,400 men have represented England since the first international against Scotland in 1871, and there have been many heroic displays in the famous white shirt. England Rugby Heroes is the official illustrated RFU celebration of some of these great players. Drawing on almost 150 years of rich rugby heritage and featuring more than 70 carefully crafted biographies, England Rugby Heroes describes the each player's career, the highlights and their special skills - such as David Duckham's pace and swerve, Martin Johnson's strength and leadership and Jonny Wilkinson's kicking and tactical acumen - that elevated them above the rest. Written by respected England rugby authority Julian Bennetts, England Rugby Heroes is illustrated with more than 150 outstanding photographs and is a unique record of the greatest international ever to play for England.
A man punches the wall in a strategic show of anger. Another complains he has become a stranger to those he loves. A third relies on my three a day: coffee, Nurofen and a bottle of wine. Yet another admits he is an oddity, who would prefer to be working in cricket. A fifth describes his professional life as a circus . These are football managers, live and uncut. Arsene Wenger likens the job to living on a volcano: any day may be your last . He speaks with the authority of being the longest serving manager in the English game, having been at Arsenal for 17 years. The average lifespan of a Football League manager is 17 months. Fifty three managers, across all four Divisions, were sacked, or resigned, in the 2012-13 season. There were fifty seven managerial changes in the 2013-14 season. What makes these men tick? They are familiar figures, who rarely offer anything more than a glimpse into their personal and professional lives. What shapes them? How and why do they do their job? Award-winning writer Michael Calvin provides the answers. Insecurity is a unifying factor, but managers at different levels face different sets of problems. Depending on their status, they are dealing with multi-millionaires, or mortgage slaves.
Cricket had never been played like this. Cricket had never meant so much. The West Indies had always had brilliant cricketers; it hadn't always had brilliant cricket teams. But in 1974, a man called Clive Lloyd began to lead a side which would at last throw off the shackles that had hindered the region for centuries. Nowhere else had a game been so closely connected to a people's past and their future hopes; nowhere else did cricket liberate a people like it did in the Caribbean. For almost two decades, Clive Lloyd and then Vivian Richards led the batsmen and bowlers who changed the way cricket was played and changed the way a whole nation - which existed only on a cricket pitch - saw itself. With their pace like fire and their scorching batting, these sons of cane-cutters and fishermen brought pride to a people which had been stifled by 300 years of slavery, empire and colonialism. Their cricket roused the Caribbean and antagonised the game's traditionalists.
In Chase Your Shadow, journalist and author John Carlin tells the gripping story of Oscar Pistorius's tragic journey from sporting icon to accused murderer. Before Valentine's Day of 2013, Pistorius was best known as an extraordinary athlete, the 'Blade Runner' who became the first amputee in history to compete in the Olympics. Everything changed after he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead in the early hours of 14 February. Overnight, the Olympian's status as a role model was replaced by tales of erratic behaviour and a violent dark side. His seven-month trial was broadcast live around the globe, its twists and turns captivating millions. Carlin, who followed the drama inside the courtroom, provides a vivid first-hand account of Pistorius's wrenching emotional breakdowns, the merciless interrogation to which he was submitted by the prosecutor, and the highly controversial judgment. Carlin paints a portrait of a complex personality, a man whose life story reveals extremes of courage and insecurity, ambition and vulnerability, generosity and dangerous hot-headedness. Not since the O. J. Simpson case has the world been more riveted by a champion's heroic rise and calamitous fall.
So who is Louis van Gaal? An inflexible ex-PE teacher who only knows how to act like a dictator or a footballing visionary that has made him one of the greatest ever European managers? Wherever he has gone, Van Gaal has been accused of being a domineering disciplinarian and a control freak. He is certainly, by his own admission, a man who leaves nothing to chance. A disciple in the 1970s of Rinus Michels' Total Football philosophy, he is a fascinating contradiction - an ultra-individualist utterly devoted to the collective effort. He believes in the team over the individual, in always having a plan and a team prepared to follow it. Van Gaal led the young Ajax team he moulded to Champions League glory in 1995, went on to win titles across Europe with Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munich and served two stints as national coach of Holland. It is a career that has never been short on colour and drama - from fallouts with players to rants at the media wherever he has managed. Dutch football commentator Maarten Meijer's has written the definitive biography of van Gaal - both the man and his methods. It offers the best psychological insight so far - from his earliest roots to his greatest triumphs - into the man given the task of returning the glory days to Manchester United. It also includes new chapter on Louis van Gaal's first season with Manchester United.
The Yellow Jersey Club contains just twenty-six living members. To become one of this exclusive number requires complete dedication, brutal self-sacrifice and the most extraordinary physical attributes. Yet along with the ability to climb mountains, bomb along time trials and survive all the perils of the road, what really makes a Tour de France champion? Edward Pickering set out on a mission to ask them, and gained some astonishing insights into the minds of cycling's best ever riders of the past forty years, from giants like Greg LeMond and Stephen Roche to more unfamiliar names like Bernard Thevenet and Joop Zootemelk.
When Emma O'Reilly joined the US Postal cycling team in 1996, she could have had no idea how she would become a central figure in the biggest doping scandal in sporting history. Yet when Lance Armstrong, starting his comeback from cancer, signed for US Postal, it was Emma, the only woman on the team, who became his personal soigneur. This is the definitive inside story of that time, and of the enormous repercussions that resonate to this day for Emma, Lance and the whole sport. Emma had the strength to break cycling's omerta by speaking out against the culture of doping. She thought she would be one of many whistleblowers, doing what she believed was right. Isolated and shunned by the sport she loved, however, her reputation was systematically destroyed. And yet she had the courage to bounce back, and remarkably, to forgive those who made her existence a living hell. This is the ultimate memoir of truth and its many consequences.
Winner of the Sports Book of the Year at the British Sports Book Awards 2015. In 2009 Gareth Thomas was quoted as saying “It ended my marriage and nearly drove me to suicide. Now it’s time to tell the world the truth – I’m gay”. Bowing to the intolerable pressure of hiding his true self Gareth Thomas stepped out of the shadows. Since then he’s retired from playing Rugby, now able to look back at his life, the regrets, the triumphs, and above all how that 2009 announcement changed his life. ~ Sue Baker Winner of the Autobiography of the Year at the British Sports Book Awards 2015. Shortlisted for the Rugby Book of the Year Award at the British Sports Book Awards 2015. Like for Like Reading Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry, Bill Jones Forbidden Forward: The Justin Fashanu Story, Nick Baker
Shortlisted for the Autobiography of the Year at the British Sports Book Awards 2015. Now one of England’s top professional golfers, Ian Poulter can be a controversial and forthright figure and not one to “toe the company line”. His book reflects his character and is a refreshingly honest look at his life and his passion for golf. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading Monty: The Autobiography, Colin Montgomerie Bring me the Head of Sergio Garcia, Tom Cox
Praised from an early age for having “the eye of a hawk” Rod Laver still retains one of the most powerful reputations in men’s tennis. He was World No 1 for seven years and the only player to achieve the Grand Slam twice. Writing of his triumphs Rod Laver also looks at the game he loves so much and its change from an amateur game to the levels of professionalism we have today, and he goes back to his childhood and memories of his family and the people who spotted those hawk-like abilities and taught him to become a champion. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like ReadingAndy Murray: Seventy-Seven: My Road to Wimbledon Glory, Andy MurraySerious: The Autobiography, John Mc Enroe A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'Rod Laver’s autobiography provides a refreshing contrast to the indulgent antics of modern sports superstars: when he won Wimbledon in 1962, the prize was £15 worth of vouchers! Rod ultimately won Wimbledon four times, and remains the only player to win a Grand Slam twice. In the face of such achievements arrogance would be forgivable, but it’s Rod’s genuine humility which makes this such a charming read. Rod’s love for both tennis and his family shine through on every page, and the warmth with which he writes about his beloved wife Mary and their children make this a very personal glimpse into the life of a genuine legend.'- Clare Drysdale, Uk Director, Allen & Unwin
They are role models, heroes, spokespeople for major brands, they get millions in sponsorship, their personal lives are plastered over the gossip columns, they are at the top of their professions and love them or hate them, they’re all over our newspapers, TVs, PCs and radios. This section has everything the armchair enthusiast could wish for. Myth-busting biographies (Beware of the Dog by Brian Moore), detailed histories (A History of Football in 100 Objects by Gavin Mortimer), personal accounts of huge moments (Black White & Gold by Kelly Holmes), and atmospheric tributes to beloved games (A Last English Summer by Duncan Hamilton. This is the inside track on the lives, loves, losses and victories of some of the world’s most physically talented people, and the games they love to play.
Get into your favourite armchair, plump up the cushions, have a nice cup of tea and dive in. Just make sure you don’t pull a muscle!