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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!
Over a decade after his international number one bestseller SERIOUS, John McEnroe is back and ready to talk once again. Since his hit book, he's maintained a huge presence as a commentator at Wimbledon and other Grand Slam tournaments. He has continued to compete on the court, winning the ATP Champions Tour a record six times, and has played in charity events around the globe. More surprising are the calls from TV producers, inviting John to riff on his famous hot temper in cult shows such as 30 ROCK and CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM - and his little-known passion for American contemporary art. The beloved, controversial and respected tennis legend reveals even more from his life and career, with the signature style that has made John McEnroe the enduring cultural figure and icon he is. As part of a tiny elite of top-ranking tennis players, John McEnroe has lived and experienced what very few people could ever imagine. His status as an elder statesman of international tennis is undisputed, but what of the challenges beyond the court? How did he succeed in coming to terms with life as an ex-champion, and adjust to his new vocation as a broadcaster and gallerist? In following McEnroe's personal struggle to reinvent himself, confronting a few demons along the way, BUT SERIOUSLY blends memoir and motivational writing in a manner which both disquiets and reassures in the author's original and unadulterated voice. The result is a personal odyssey, a mixture of anecdote and reflection which re-evaluates the meaning of success.
Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award In 1704 a bankrupt English merchant sent home the colt he had bought from Bedouin tribesmen near the ruins of Palmyra. Thomas Darley hoped this horse might be the ticket to a new life back in Yorkshire. But he turned out to be far more than that: and although Mr Darley's Arabian never ran a race, 95% of all thoroughbreds in the world today are descended from him. In this book, for the first time, award-winning racing writer Christopher McGrath traces this extraordinary bloodline through twenty-five generations to our greatest modern racehorse, Frankel. The story of racing is about man's relationship with horses, and Mr Darley's Arabian also celebrates the men and women who owned, trained and traded the stallions that extended the dynasty. The great Eclipse, for instance, was bred by the Duke who foiled Bonnie Prince Charlie's invasion (with militia gathered from Wakefield races) and went on to lead the Jockey Club. But he only became a success once bought and raced by a card-sharp and brothel-keeper - the racecourse has always brought high and low life together. McGrath expertly guides us through three centuries of scandals, adventures and fortunes won and lost: our sporting life offers a fascinating view into our history.
In 1966 England won the World Cup at Wembley. Sir Bobby Charlton, England's greatest ever player, was there on the pitch. Now, fifty years on, Sir Bobby looks back on the most glorious moment of his life and England's greatest sporting achievement. In 1966 he takes us through the build-up to the tournament and to the final itself, describing what he saw, what he heard, and what he felt. He explains what it was like to be part of Sir Alf Ramsey's team, gives us his personal memories of his teammates, the matches, the atmosphere; the emotion of being carried on the wave of a nation's euphoria and how it felt to go toe-to-toe with some of the foremost footballers to ever play the game.
Former Australian rugby union legend and World Cup winner, now acclaimed television sports pundit, on his glittering career in the game - and how close he came to losing his life. Few players in the history of the game have had as illustrious a career as Wallaby fly-half and captain Michael Lynagh. In an era when Australia took the rugby world by storm with their glittering array of mercurial talent, in chief orchestrator and courageous captain Lynagh they had a pivotal figure at fly-half who shaped their style of play and at the same time played a major ambassadorial role in the world game. Yet fast forward to that April day in 2012, as Lynagh lay partially blinded in intensive care at the Royal Brisbane Hospital, his life hanging by a thread following a major stroke, his wife and three young boys on the other side of the world. The day that defined the rest of his life. Lynagh's story is one of corruscating highs and crippling lows.
'England invented football, codified it, became champions of the world in 1966 but humiliatingly then forgot how to play the greatest game of all. England took their eye off a ball they arrogantly thought they owned, allowing other nations to run off with it.' It has been Fifty Years of Hurt since Bobby Moore lifted the World Cup trophy at Wembley, and in this groundbreaking book, Henry Winter will address the state England are in on the golden anniversary of their greatest moment. Part lament, part anatomy of an obsession, both personal and collective, it analyses the truth behind the endless excuses, apportions the blame for the crimes against English football, but is also a search for hope and solutions. Fifty Years of Hurt weaves more than forty exclusive interviews with the biggest names in the game - Jack Charlton, Alan Mullery, Peter Shilton, Glenn Hoddle, John Barnes, Chris Waddle, Gary Lineker, Ian and Mark Wright, Alan Shearer, Michael Owen, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Roy Hodgson - with a narrative dissection of the highs and lows of five decades of football. And as well as players and managers, Henry Winter talks to the fans, to agents, to officials, to the governing bodies, about every aspect, good and bad, of English football, to provide answers to the question: 'where did it all go wrong?'.
With nearly 20 years as a player - plus almost 25 years as a coach and manager - under his belt, Sam Allardyce is one of the most recognisable figures in British football. 'Big Sam' has been a robust defensive general throughout the seventies and eighties, and an imposing touchline presence as a gaffer since 1994. He is the second longest-serving manager in the Premier League, behind Arsene Wenger.
When his colleagues went to Old Trafford to watch the first team on Saturday afternoons, he preferred to take the bus into Manchester to go busking. He wore second-hand clothes, worshipped Bob Dylan, read about theology and French existentialism and wrote songs and poems. One team-mate says it was like having Bob Dylan in a No 7 shirt . On his 17th birthday, Doherty was offered a five-year contract - unprecedented for a United youngster at that time - and told by Alex Ferguson that he was destined for stardom. But what followed over the next decade is a tale so mysterious, so shocking, so unusual, so amusing but ultimately so tragic, that you are left wondering how on earth it has been untold for so long. The stories of Doherty's contemporaries, that group of Manchester United youngsters who became known as the Class of '92 , are well known. Giggs ended up as the most decorated player in United's history; David Beckham became the most recognisable footballer on the planet; Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and others are household names. The story you don't know is about the player who, having had the world at his feet, died the day before his 27th birthday following an accident in a canal in Holland.
Eric Liddell was as close to a saint as any man in modern history has been. Renowned for his athletic prowess, it was also his deeply entrenched values that set him apart from the crowd. These qualities were never better illustrated than in the 1924 Paris Olympics when, having declined his place in the 100 metres owing to the fact that the race was run on a Sunday, he produced an astonishing performance to win gold in the 400 metres, and captured the hearts of the world. Liddell was immortalised in the Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire, but that film barely scratched the surface of his life (as well as being economical with the facts). It was China, where he had grown up, that was Liddell's passion, and his zeal was to improve the lot of its most unfortunate people, in a time of terrible violence and danger, when the country lay under the brutal hand of the invading Japanese army. He was literally on a mission, a force for good in the world.
Surfing only looks like a sport. To devotees, it is something else entirely: a beautiful addiction, a mental and physical study, a passionate way of life. William Finnegan first started surfing as a young boy in California and Hawaii. Barbarian Days is his immersive memoir of a life spent travelling the world chasing waves through the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, Africa and beyond. Finnegan describes the edgy yet enduring brotherhood forged among the swell of the surf; and recalling his own apprenticeship to the world's most famous and challenging waves, he considers the intense relationship formed between man, board and water. Barbarian Days is an old-school adventure story, a social history, an extraordinary exploration of one man's gradual mastering of an exacting and little-understood art. It is a memoir of dangerous obsession and enchantment.
'The maddest 12 months of my life. The journey starts with an oddball race up an American mountain and ends with me checking myself out of hospital with a broken back. Again...' In this past year alone, Guy has raced the Isle of Man TT and finished on the podium; bike trekked through India; competed in solo 24-hour bicycles races; flown a stunt plane; broken a go-kart speed record down a French mountain and dusted himself off after a dramatic crash at the Dunrod 150 Superbike race. And he's done all this around his day job as a truck mechanic. But let Guy tell you about it himself: This book starts in a Transit, ends in a Transit, and in between I've raced a few pushbikes, raced a few motorbikes and got a fair few stories to tell you. (Spot on).
As with chemical elements, these international personalities have been arranged based on their characteristics in and out of play. Instead of metals and non-metals, here we have patient and determined defensive players, from Jack Hobbs to Hanif Mohammad and Alistair Cook transitioning to fast-paced and attacking players including Shane Warne, Fred Trueman and 'white lightning' Allan Donald with a whole host of others in between. See how the best international players stack up against each other in this original guide to cricket that's perfect for all cricket fans. Also contains a pull-out poster of the Periodic Table of Cricket.
This expert guide and accompanying poster spans over 150 years to offer an original perspective of the beautiful game.
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!