Football fan gift ideas: The 12 best books of Christmas
Give ‘em something quality they actually want this year with these perfect page-turners
1. Bayern: Creating a Global Superclub (Uli Hesse)
Nobody writes German football quite like Hesse, who returns with this smashing account detailing the rise of his country’s biggest (yet most hated) club. Just how on earth did FC Hollywood become so?
£14.99 paperback, £9.99 Kindle
2. Cruyff: My Turn (w/Jaap de Groot)
He may have been the greatest European to kick a ball – but more than that, Cruyff was a unique character who not only helped revolutionise football but popular culture too. He passed away before this book was published, but his dear friend De Groot’s diligent hours of work in its creation mean there’s nothing lost in the personal reflections of a genius.
3. Pep Guardiola: The Evolution (Marti Perarnau)
Pep trusts few and allows even fewer into his inner circle for a closer look – not least those of a journalistic persuasion – but fellow Catalan Perarnau was allowed unprecedented access to his methods for three seasons at Bayern Munich. The results (updated for 2016) were fascinating; a genuinely insightful snapshot into the mind of an especially enigmatic individual.
£10.49 paperback, £8.03 Kindle
4. The Illustrated History of Football (David Squires)
The Guardian’s chuckles-in-chief cartoonist arrives with his first book, reflecting on the growth of our beloved game with his witty hand. Laughs guaranteed.
Next: The best Man United story you've never heard
5. The Wenger Revolution: Twenty Years of Arsenal (Amy Lawrence)
Few know the Gunners quite like Lawrence – a former staffer of these parts, back in the day – and here, together with club photographer Stuart MacFarlane, she reflects on two decades of the man who changed not only Arsenal, but English football as a whole.
£13.60 hardback, £12.92 Kindle
6. Forever Young: The Story of Adrian Doherty, Football's Lost Genius (Oli Kay)
An immensely gifted member of Manchester United’s fabled early-’90s youth team, Doherty was touted for greatness by Alex Ferguson himself. But while his team-mates soared to stardom, the Bob Dylan-loving, busking Doherty took an altogether more mysterior route that ended in tragedy a day shy of his 27th birthday. A brilliant story, brilliantly told.
7. Saturday, 3pm: 50 Eternal Delights of Modern Football (Daniel Gray)
Gray’s miscellany of popular tales from the ages is sure to stir senses, and leave you hankering for a vidiprinter.
8. Jamie Vardy: From Nowhere, My Story
English football’s most famed rags to riches tale was always going to be a good one, but Vardy fills in the gaps here with a frank account of the story so far: how a self-confessed tearaway who only turned professional at 24 managed to win the Premier League and woo his national team via arrest, family feuds and threatening to quit the game for good just two seasons before his sensational 2015/16.
Next: The other autobiography your bookshelf needs
9. And the Sun Shines Now: How Hillsborough and the Premier League Changed Britain (Adrian Tempany)
Tempany charts the aftermath of English football’s worst-ever tragedy, culminating in this end-all evaluation of Hillsborough. Brutally honest, and packed with stuff you won’t know.
£11.99 paperback, £5.69 Kindle
10. Di Stéfano (Ian Hawkey)
Few players had quite such a colourful career as Di Stefano, the man who starred for serial Euro conquerors Real Madrid after being snatched from Barcelona’s grip, and played for all of Argentina, Colombia and Spain. This is his incredible story.
11. No Nonsense: The Autobiography (Joey Barton)
Never short of a few words, or far from controversy, Barton opens up on a troubled career – and a tough childhood that shaped him from the very beginning.
12. The Bottom Corner: A Season with the Dreamers of Non-League Football (Nige Tassell)
Tassell spends a season with the hopers and dreamers of the non-league scene, featuring hungover cloggers on Hackney Marshes, and interviewing obsessive groundhoppers, record-smashing goalscorers, dictatorial managers, ukulele-strumming fans and the captain of the Filipino national team.
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Joe was the Deputy Editor at FourFourTwo until 2022, having risen through the FFT academy and been on the brand since 2013 in various capacities.
By weekend and frustrating midweek night he is a Leicester City fan, and in 2020 co-wrote the autobiography of former Foxes winger Matt Piper – subsequently listed for both the Telegraph and William Hill Sports Book of the Year awards.
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