Christmas is always a great time for football books and this festive season is no exception.
Here’s a selection of some of the best that have come across our desk in recent weeks.
By Rob Stokes, Derek Hammond and Gary Silke
Published by Conker Editions
From the people behind the extremely popular and fun Got, Not Got series comes Glove Story, the book for all with a goalkeeper’s-eye view of the game.
Packed full of exclusive interviews with some goalkeeping greats, Glove Story goes some way to explaining what makes the men between the sticks different – and slightly bonkers in some cases. Any position that has been home to the likes of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, Che Guevara and David Icke among it’s past exponents must be slightly ‘offbeat’ surely.
You can read about the great brands, games, cartoon characters, kits and just about every other aspect regarding the position everyone has at least a little respect for the one whose proponents don the Green (well, any colour these days but green still looks best) jersey.
Defenders are the tough ones, midfield men are the clever ones, forwards are the glory-hunter ones, and goalkeepers are….different, and the book goes some way to explaining why that is.
Glove Story describes itself as ‘The Number 1 book for every goalkeeper, past and present’ but it also proves that just as you don’t have to be a ‘keeper to admire them, you don’t have to have been one to enjoy this book.
The Red Journey: An Oral History of Liverpool Football Club
Edited by Mark Platt
Published by deCoubertin Books
Faith of Our Families: An Oral History of Everton Football Club
Edited by James Corbett
Everton and Liverpool alike have certainly been well served over the years with books about their respective clubs from almost every angle.
But these two books cast some fresh light on the two clubs, fundamentally different in many ways but also sharing a number of similarities and a depth of devotion rarely matched.
The two books delve deep into the psyche of the clubs, telling stories from the protagonists and through interviews with those who helped to make them what they are.
Divided into the eras that saw the clubs formed, rise to the top and suffer ups and downs, both books offer first-hand accounts, either through exhaustive research or tales from the people who were there and participated, of each of the pair’s best and worst moments.
Tales of Dixie Dean, Billy Liddell, Alan Ball and Kenny Dalglish; of Hillsborough and Athens; of Rotterdam and Wembley, are all told with a fresh and fascinating perspective.
These two books really are the perfect addition to the library of any true Blue, or Red.
Ooh–Aah. The Bob Booker Story
By Greville Waterman
Published by Bennion Kearny
Bob Booker might have been considered by some as a journeyman footballer. He was late getting started, first focusing on serving his apprenticeship as an upholsterer and playing for local team Bedmond before he was offered a trial at Brentford. He spent his career between the Bees and the Blades of Sheffield United and became a much-loved player with both sets of fans.
In this compelling biography, cult hero Bob’s life and career are looked at closely and we find a conscientious, big-footed (if intro writer Bradley Walsh is to be believed) individual who got to the pinnacle (he captained Sheffield United in the top flight) with a combination of skill, hard work and a never-say-die attitude.
Ooh-Aah is an excellent account of Booker, who comes across as hard-working, humble and grateful to have had the chance to play at the highest level.
Glory, Glory Lane
By Mike Donovan
Published by Pitch Publishing
Tottenham Hotspur have called WhIte Hart Lane home for 118 years. And during that time the stadium has witnessed some of the footballs greatest wearing the white of the club.
There will surely be other books written about Spurs’ time at their original home, we are doubtful that there’ll be one as comprehensive, well-written and superbly illustrated.
Published in association with The Times and including Forewords by former greats Terry Dyson and Alan Mullery, ‘Glory, Glory Lane’ covers every aspect of the ground’s history, and every one of the club’s stars, from Grimsdell to Gascoigne and from Bobby Buckle – founder of the club – to Harry Kane – the man Spurs hope will bring glory to their new home next door.
If you have friends, family or anyone in need of the ideal Spurs Xmas present, look no further than this excellent addition to the Tottenham Hotspur library.
Scotland. Glory, Tears and Souvenirs
By Robert Marshall and David Stuart
Published by Pitch Publishing
Described as an ‘Offbeat collection of memories, mementos, rants and aspirations relating to Scotland’s national football team’, Glory Tears and Souvenirs is a great look back at the Scottish national team through the (occasional) good times and (more often) bad.
Similar to the successful Got, Not Got series of books in terms of layout the book is packed full of great photography, souvenirs and memories and is guaranteed to bring flooding back thoughts of Denis Law’s greatness, Archie Gemmill‘s great goal and many other legends in dark blue.
But it doesn’t shirk away from the not-so-good, paying reference to the idiosyncrasies of selection for the national team and that pink kit alongside the most famous successes, sometimes despite those selections. If you’re Scottish, you love your national team, so you’ll love this book.
Carefree – Chelsea Chants and Terrace Culture
By Mark Worrall and Walter Otton
Published by Gate 17
If you need to understand a football club, talk to the true fans, the thick and thin ones who remember the bad times as fondly as the good and the returns from humiliating defeats at the other end of the country along with the trips to Cup finals.
Mark Worrall and Walter Otton have certainly experienced both good and bad as fans of Chelsea, and in putting this excellent book together they have spoken to plenty of people who were ‘there when they were…. not as good as they are now’.
Searching out the origins and reasons behind the songs that have been sung at Blues matches from way back when, they also take a close look at the culture of the club; the ‘uniforms’ fans wore to matches, the places they met, the experiences they had.
‘Carefree’ undoubtedly explains what makes a Chelsea fan ‘Proper Chels’ better than any other book about the club, and better than most books about most clubs it explains overall fan culture in football.
50 Years of Manchester City – The Best and Worst of Everything
By Steve Mingle
Published by Pitch Publishing
The real Manchester City fan – and there are many – knows that it hasn’t always been about glory and fighting for titles. Here’s a book packed with reminders of those times as well as the good ones.
Having watched the team, through good and bad, for the last 50 years, Steve Mingle is ideally placed to put together a look back at the heroes and villains, triumphs and disasters over that period.
With chapters on everything from long-range screamers to great City nicknames, from Bell to Balotelli and from Shaun Goater to Sergio Aguero there is no better way to reminisce about both the good and the bad of the team from the Etihad.