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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!
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.
After joining his beloved Liverpool at the age of eight, he spent the next 28 years, and over 700 games, devoted to this one club. Perhaps the last player of his calibre that we will see display such extraordinary longevity and commitment, his loyalty ensures he will be remembered not only as one of the all-time Anfield greats but one of England's finest footballers. In My Story Gerrard dissects his full playing career. He examines the defining games such as the 2005 Champion's League Final when he inspired 'The Miracle of Istanbul' as Liverpool came back from 3-0 down against AC Milan to become champions of Europe. He talks about his 114 caps for England, including World Cup and European Championship campaigns, asking what went right - and wrong. He writes candidly of those he's played with and competed against, from Luis Suarez to Jose Mourinho, his experiences under Brendan Rodgers and Roy Hodgson. He also has an incredible and rare personal story, telling us of the extraordinary ups and downs of staying loyal to one club for your entire career.
'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...' As Guy Martin's grandfather Voldemars frequently reminded him,'When you dead, you dead.' So, before it's all over, Guy Martin is making the most of the time he's got. 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.
In July 2015, the Bloodhound team will unveil the car with which they'll launch their assault on the World Land Speed Record. Powered by a jet engine from a Eurofighter Typhoon fighter and a rocket engine developed for the European Space Agency, Bloodhound is the culmination of a ten year beyond the state of the art engineering effort. The 300,000 horsepower, 1000mph car will then be flown to South Africa for the record attempt. Behind the wheel, driver Andy Green will be fighting to steer the revolutionary car across the surface of a dry lake bed at almost unimaginable speeds. To break the record he will have to cover a measured mile in just three seconds. This is a drive into the unknown. Project Director Richard Noble likens the challenge to that of mounting a mission to the moon. If you thought what Felix Baumgartner was doing when he jumped out of balloon was dangerous, wait until you get a load of this...
A runner must run with dreams in his heart. Emil Zatopek. In the summer of 1952 Emil Zatopek became the king of the running world with an unprecedented distance treble at the Olympic Games in Helsinki. Together with his wife Dana, who won another gold medal in the javelin, they were the embodiment of sporting romance. Born on the same day, they were champions on the same day too. Yet in 1968 this affable but eccentric Czech solider was betrayed by his Communist paymasters and cast out into wilderness. Hidden from world view, monitored by the secret police and forced to live in a caravan in mining country, he became the invisible hero. 'Endurance' is the first biography to document the remarkable rise, fall and rehabilitation of a man voted the 'greatest runner of all time' by 'Runner's World' in 2013. It is also the story of a golden age of sport played out against a backdrop of Cold War politics and paranoia. From the London Olympics of 1948 to Czech concentration camps, this is an uplifting and harrowing story of survival. As Emil rises to global fame, his old coach is locked up and tortured by StB henchmen. Their diverging paths expose the fickleness of popularity and eventually cross again when Zatopek's world is torn asunder. All both men can do is endure. The running world of this era is brought to life by dramatic accounts of Zatopek's great triumphs, manifold records and a rich collection of characters vying to dethrone him. In Britain the sharp-tongued Gordon Pirie falls foul of the media as he becomes obsessed with Zatopek and adopts increasingly-masochistic methods; mild-mannered marathon champion Jim Peters begins a quest that would make women weep and grown men lose their lunch . In France Alain Mimoun crawls from the bloody carnage of his war-time exploits to overcome racial snubs and become known as Zatopek's Shadow; and in the Soviet Union, the tragic figure of Vladimir Kuts is moulded into a brutal running machine at huge cost. Only Zatopek manages to bridge this East-West divide as a savage power struggle is fought in both the Olympic arena and in the corridors of power. Due to extensive access to those involved, including Dana herself, award-winning Times author Rick Broadbent has written a vivid history involving blood and guns and a love that sustained the cruellest twists of fate. From heady nights at White City to the brave resistance during the Prague Spring, this is a book that plants the son of a carpenter at the very centre of a revolution. Whether talking to his rivals on the track or Red Army troops as tanks roll into Prague, Zatopek's humanity shines through and carries all.
Sometimes, they had been spurned in their own land, as coaching was often frowned upon in England in those days, whe players were starved of the ball during the week to make them hungry for it on matchday. So it was that the inspirations behind the 'Mighty Magyars' of the 1950s, the Dutch of the 1970s or top clubs such as Barcelona came from these shores. England, without realising it, fired the very revolution that would remove its crown, changing football's history, thanks to a handful of men who sowed the seeds of the inversion of football's natural order. This is the story of the men who taught the world to play and shaped its destiny. This is the story of the Misters.
Billy Fiske was an infamous daredevil, blessed with a natural talent for driving. He would later become the first American airman to die in the war - flying for the RAF. Clifford Gray was a notorious playboy and a player on both Broadway and Hollywood. Or was he? His identity was a mystery for decades. Jay O'Brien was a gambler and a rogue who, according to one ex-wife, forced women to marry him at gunpoint. And Eddie Eagan, a heavyweight boxer and brilliant lawyer, remains the only man to win gold at both the Summer and Winter Olympics.