Mister: The Men Who Gave The World The Game


Rory Smith - 2016
    From its late-Victorian flowering in the mill towns of the northwest of England, football spread around the world with great speed. It was helped on its way by a series of missionaries who showed the rest of the planet the simple joys of the game. Even now, in many countries, the colloquial word for a football manager is not 'coach' or 'boss' but 'mister', as that is how the early teachers were known, because they had come from the home of the sport to help it develop in new territories.       In Rory Smith's stunning new book Mister, he looks at the stories of these pioneers of the game, men who left this country to take football across the globe. Sometimes, they had been spurned in their own land, as coaching was often frowned upon in England in those days, when 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.

The Unforgiven: The Story Of Don Revie's Leeds United


Rob Bagchi - 2002
    'The Unforgiven' reveals how far the eccentric Revie was responsible for Leeds' outlaw status, using carpet bowls sessions for team building and exorcising a gypsy's curse at their ground.

Undefeated: Inside the 1972 Miami Dolphins' Perfect Season


Mike Freeman - 2012
    Now, 40 years after sports history was made, acclaimed sports writer Mike Freeman celebrates the Dolphins’ singular achievement in Undefeated. A riveting story filled with heartbreaking injuries, miraculous finishes, and tested relationships—featuring a roster of gridiron greats, including Bob Griese, Earl Morrall, Larry Csonka, Paul Warfield, Mercury Morris, Nick Buoniconti and others—Undefeated follows a underdog team on its remarkable run: 14 regular season victories, 2 postseason wins, and a Super Bowl championship. It is a book no football fan will want to miss.

Hoolifan: 30 Years of Hurt


Martin King - 1999
    He describes the leading characters, famous fights, and planned ambushes, and sets hooliganism in its social context.Hoolifan is the story of one man, Martin King, and his experiences spanning three decades with the country's foremost soccer gang. Chelsea have always been at the cutting edge of football violence, and King himself has been at the heart of the evolving Chelsea mob for most of those 30 years. From his first visit to a football ground in the early-1960s, he charts his development from a rattle-waving child, through to a fully fledged member of the notorious Chelsea Shed in the 1970s, and finally to his exploits as a key player in the most feared football gang of the 1980s and 1990s - the so-called Chelsea Headhunters.King describes the leading characters of the various eras, not just from Chelsea but from across the country. He also records every clash, ambush and act of revenge in vivid detail, as well as the camaraderie and style of this most infamous soccer gang.This is not just another book on the well-trodden subject of football hooliganism as, unlike previous authors, Martin King makes no attempt to distance himself from the violence and leaves the reader to draw his own conclusions.At times provocative, often humorous and always honest, Hoolifon is destined to do more to place the phenomenon of football hooliganism in its true social context than any previous work.

Going Long: The Wild Ten-Year Saga of the Renegade American Football League in the Words of Those Who Lived


Jeff Miller - 2003
    Hearkening back to a simpler time for sports, this unique oral history reveals the origins of the modern game we know today, and how it all began with a fight-to-the-death for professional football supremacy. This story of the AFL is filled with legendary names such as Bob Griese, Joe Namath, Lamar Hunt, Jack Kemp, Bart Starr and more. From the contentious formation of the league, to paychecks bouncing as often as footballs, to improbable Super Bowl victories, Going Long presents the colorful and sometimes bizarre tale of eight teams and a league that refused to die.

When Saturday Mattered Most: The Last Golden Season of Army Football


Mark Beech - 2012
    That fall, the Black Knights of Army were the class of the nation. Mark Beech, a second-generation West Pointer, recounts this memorable and never-to-be-repeated season with:- Pete Dawkins, the Heisman Trophy winner who rose to the rank of Brigadier General - The long-reclusive Bill Carpenter, the fabled "lonesome end" who earned the Distinguished Service Cross for saving his company in Vietnam - Red Blaik, who led Army back to glory after the cribbing scandal and had the field at Michie Stadium named in his honorCombining the triumph of The Junction Boys with the heroics of The Long Gray Line, Beech captures a unique period in the history of football, the military, and mid-twentieth-century America.

Breaker Boys: The NFL's Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship


David Fleming - 2007
    Built by an eccentric owner, molded by a visionary coach and loaded with hardscrabble miners, college All Americans and the sky's the limit ethos of the Roaring Twentys, the Maroons did the unthinkable and dominated the NFL in their rookie season. (Their improbable rise was chronicled each week in the local paper by a rookie Pottsville sportswriter named John OOHara.)Little Pottsville outscored its first seven opponents 162-6. The boys so thoroughly pummeled one opponent, angry fans shot up their train car as the Maroons rode out of town. In the final game of that first season the Maroons traveled to the Midwest to face the league-leading Chicago Cardinals in what was viewed as the championship game for 1925. The Maroons overcame a Windy City snowstorm and an injury to their best player to defeat the Cardinals 21-7.But the fans wanted more.College ball was still king. And as news of PottsvilleOs success was splashed across the news reels and headlines throughout the country, a movement began to have the Maroons face a team of college All-Stars from the University of Notre Dame, featuring the legendary Four Horsemen, the finest collection of talent the game had ever known. Experts believed the NFL was still decades away from competing with college football. But on a neutral field in Philadelphia, in a battle described as The Greatest Football Game Ever Seen, the Maroons shocked the world and turned the football establishment upside-down, defeating Notre Dame 9-7 on a last-second field goal by their captain Charlie Berry who had his kicking cleat bronzed for eternity.The championship was theirs. The NFL was finally on the map. The Maroons victory over Notre Dame had legitimized the league. It also destroyed the town and the team that made it all possible.Claiming the upstart Maroons had violated the territory of another franchise by playing Notre Dame in Philadelphia, the NFL suspended Pottsville and awarded the 1925 NFL championship to the Chicago Cardinals. The Cardinals refused to accept the bogus title and the 1925 crown was never officially awarded. For more than 80 years, fans of the Pottsville MaroonsNthe team Red Grange said was the greatest he ever facedNhave fought to have the 1925 title returned to its rightful owners.With Breaker Boys their remarkable story is told at last.

The Lost Babes: Manchester United and the Forgotten Victims of Munich


Jeff Connor - 2004
    Such was the power of the ‘Busby Babes’ that they seemed invincible. The average age of the side which won the Championship in 1955-56 was just 22, the youngest ever to achieve such a feat. A year later, when they were Champions again, nothing, it seemed, would prevent this gifted young team from reigning for the next decade.But then came 6 February 1958, the day that eight Manchester United players died on a German airfield in the 'Munich Air Disaster' – a date to be forever etched in the annals of sporting tragedy.Duncan Edwards, Eddie Colman, Tommy Taylor, Roger Byrne…the names were already enshrined in legend before the air crash, but Munich in many ways earned them immortality. They have never grown old.Jeff Connor traces the rise of the greatest Manchester United side of all time, alongside a vibrant portrait of England in the 1950s, but he also paints a dark picture of a club that enriched itself on the myth of Munich while neglecting the families of the dead and the surviving players. The repercussions and the toll the disaster took on so many linger to the present day.Drawing on extensive interviews with the Munich victims and players of that era, The Lost Babes is the definitive account of British football's golden age, a poignant story of the protracted effects of loss and a remorseless dissection of the how the richest football club in the world turned its back on its own players and their families.

Saturday, 3pm: 50 Eternal Delights of Modern Football


Daniel Gray - 2017
    Sunday lunchtime kick-offs. Absurd ticket prices. Non-black boots. Football's menu of ills is long. Where has the joy gone? Why do we bother? Saturday, 3pm offers a glorious antidote. It is here to remind you that football can still sing to your heart.Warm, heartfelt and witty, here are fifty short essays of prose poetry dedicated to what is good in the game. These are not wallowing nostalgia; they are things that remain sweet and right: seeing a ground from the train, brackets on vidiprinters, ball hitting bar, Jimmy Armfield's voice, listening to the results in a traffic jam, football towns and autograph-hunters. This is fan culture at its finest, words to transport you somewhere else and identify with, words to hide away in a pub and luxuriate in.Saturday, 3pm is a book of love letters to football and a clarion call, helping us find the romance in the game all over again.

The Outsider: A History of the Goalkeeper


Jonathan Wilson - 2012
    

The Title: The Story of the First Division


Scott Murray - 2017
    They may even have a point. But to build something so successful, so popular, so inescapable, you've got to have mighty strong foundations.Prior to 1992, the old First Division was England's premier prize. Its rich tapestry winds back to 1888 and the formation of the Football League. A grand century-long tradition in danger of being lost in the wake of Premier League year zero.No more! In The Title Scott Murray tells the lively, cherry-picked story of English football through the prism of the First Division. Rich with humour yet underpinned with solid research, this is a glorious meander across our national sport's varied terrain.With as much about Burnley, Wolves, West Brom and Portsmouth as the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, we learn the less well-known stories the sport has to tell, such as the plight of Glossop, the smallest club to ever play top-flight football, and final day drama involving Huddersfield and Cardiff that knocks Michael Thomas into a cocked hat. We bask in the managerial genius of Tom Watson, the bowler-hatted Victorian Mourinho; celebrate the joy of the Busby Babes; discover the shameless showmanship of George Allison; embark on righteous escapades with Hughie Gallacher; and meet some old favourites in Don Revie, Bill Shankly, Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough.At turns exciting, surprising, witty and bittersweet, The Title is a highly informed, fresh and affectionate love-letter to the English game, and a delight for any football fan.

Once in a Lifetime: The Incredible Story of the New York Cosmos


Gavin Newsham - 2006
    In the summer of 1977, entrepreneurial Warner Brothers chairman Steve Ross assembled the best soccer players from across the globe to play for the Cosmos. Pele, the German superstar Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Neeskens, Giorgio Chinaglia, Brazil's 1970 World Cup-winning captain Carlos Alberto, Werner Roth, Roberto Cabanas, and many others all donned Cosmos jerseys and became instant celebrities in the process. The Cosmos quickly became the hottest ticket in town and the Cosmos players soon became enmeshed in a world of millionaires, gangsters, groupies, glamour, power struggles, alcoholic excess, drugs, and fistfights.Published to coincide with the World Cup in June 2006, Once in a Lifetime is the thrilling story of America's first flirtation with the world's most popular game.

The Browns Blues: Two Decades of Utter Frustration: Why Everything Kept Going Wrong for the Cleveland Browns


Terry Pluto - 2018
    And their fans had ulcers. Now, veteran sports columnist Terry Pluto explains why everything kept going wrong. This detailed report on two decades of disappointment takes a behind-the-scenes look at upheaval in the front office, frustration on the field, and headaches and heartache in the stands. His earlier book False Start: How the New Browns Were Set Up to Fail told how the NFL hamstrung the new franchise. Who could have predicted the limping would last 19 years? This book picks up the story. Season after season began with hope in spring for the NFL draft (“the Browns’ version of the Super Bowl,” a fan called it) . . . often a new coach or GM or quarterback (or all three) . . . then the losses . . . and back to rebuilding. Pluto reviews all the major moves—draft choices and deals, hiring and firing and reshuffling—and the results. If you’re a Browns fan who wants to understand what went wrong with your team, this is the place to start. Includes heartfelt and humorous opinions contributed by fans.

Bobby Moore: The Man in Full


Matt Dickinson - 2013
    Since his death at just 51 from pancreatic cancer, this has been the accepted view of a national hero. But how much do we really know of England’s only World Cup-winning skipper? We all know that Bobby Moore was an extraordinary captain and defender, but alongside his legendary feats on the pitch he knew scandal, death threats, bankruptcy business, and the sack. He divorced after a long affair, was rumored to have friends in the East End underworld, and he loved a drink. The tragedy of his life was to be ignored by soccer in his latter years and to drift into obscurity. After he applied to be England manager, the FA didn’t even bother to send a rejection letter. There was no job in the game and, famously, no knighthood. As well as the undeniable moments of glory, this long overdue, definitive biography won’t shy away from the grit. Tracing his journey from the East End to a pedestal outside Wembley Stadium, it will, for the first time, look at Moore’s life from all sides, through the testimony of teammates, rivals, family, and friends. What was Moore like to play with, to drink with? What was he like as a husband, father, opponent, and captain? A struggling manager and a failed businessman? This book will tell the story of an Essex boy who became the patron saint of English soccer, revealing a lifetime of intrigue, triumph, and tragedy in between.

On Rocky Top: A Front-Row Seat to the End of an Era


Clay Travis - 2009
    The book chronicles the 2008 season, during which the team suffered its second worst record ever and Head Coach Phil Fulmer, the most beloved and recognized man in Tennessee, was fired. Author of Dixieland Delight, Clay Travis offers a fascinating inside look at the inner workings of a major college sports program, and chronicles a season of promise that went terribly wrong, ending a long, fabled era.