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All Time Greats

Great sports books to adorn any bookshelf. From golf to cricket, boxing to the NFL.

Simon Hughes: A lot of hard Yakka

Release date: 02nd April, 1998
Publisher: Headline

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The compelling account of life as a county cricketer - when you're not that famous.

John Feinstein: A Good Walk Spoilt

Release date: 11th July, 1996
Publisher: Time Warner Paperbacks

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What every amateur golfer knows! Behind the scenes on the US Tour.

HG Bissinger: Friday Night Lights

Release date: 01st September, 2000
Publisher: Da Capo P

List Price: 9.40
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The tenth anniversary edition of this timeless account of the high school football season.

Eamon Dunphy: Only a Game

Release date: 01st August, 1979
Publisher: Penguin Books

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The triumphs and torment of playing football at Millwall in the early 1970's. A classic.

A Lifetime In A Race by Matthew Pinsent

Release date: 02nd September, 2004
Publisher: Ebury Press

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The unprecedented suspension of daily life has, not surprisingly, extended to the publishing industry, which means there are currently very few decent sports books available to preview. Fortunately, our archive stretches back more than 16 years, during which we’ve reviewed almost 850 titles. We’ve scoured this archive to create a list of classic sports books deserving of a place on any bookshelf… Our first post-2004 classic is Matthew Pinsent’s A Lifetime In A Race in which the multiple Olympic and world champion describes the intensity of competition and the rigours of an athlete's everyday life which makes for a hugely enjoyable read. Together with Sir Steve Redgrave, Pinsent raised British rowing's profile to unprecedented levels, but this book is not specialist in nature and will be enjoyed by non-sports fans. Such broad appeal is a rare quality; Pinsent achieves it by detailing the discipline required to be a champion - the dedication, the pain, coping with (occasional) defeat and the hours of training required to get things right. (read review)

Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times by Thomas Hauser

Release date: 30th November, 2004
Publisher: Robson Books

List Price: 9.99
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Yes, yes, this isn’t a football book, but one of the very best sports books ever published. Thomas Hauser’s Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times is one of the best books ever written about The Greatest. King of the World by David Remick and The Fight, Norman Mailer's account of the Ali - Foreman 'Rumble in the Jungle' fight in 1974 are both superbly written, but Hauser’s biography is similarly compelling. He constructs a magical tale of determination, pride, ability and respect. As he does this in chronological order, readers are treated to one golden anecdote after another, the steady supply of which stretch right back to Ali's earliest days. (read review)

Dark Trade by Donald McRae

Release date: 11th April, 2005
Publisher: Mainstream Publishing

List Price: 9.99
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No competition book this week, folks (see above). Instead, here's the third of our classic sporting reads. In Dark Trade, Donald McCrae exposes the harsh brutality of professional boxing, revealing the sport in its rawest state. He does this by delivering descriptive passages with the intensity of thundering body punches, each one designed to remind the reader of the sport's ultimate purpose. McRae continually steps back to reflect upon the state of boxing and the nature of the esteem in which he holds boxers, which, he suggests, derives from their intensity and bravery, but also from what he calls "that essential vulnerability beneath those hard layers of machismo". (read review)

Unforgivable Blackness by Geoffrey C. Ward

Release date: 10th January, 2006
Publisher: Pimlico

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When, in 1908, the powerfully built boxer Jack Johnson captured the world heavyweight championship title by defeating the Canadian Tommy Burns in a brutal encounter in Sydney, a sense of outrage gripped certain elements of the boxing fraternity. It was immediately predicted that Johnson's ownership of boxing's most sought-after crown would lead to civic unrest; politicians and industrialists debated Johnson's exalted sporting status at length. Newspapers wrote in less than glowing terms of Johnson's sexual appetite, while police forces in some US counties maintained a state of permanent readiness lest rioting should commence. Before long, it was concluded that something had to be done to halt the man who many establishment figures believed was a danger to the natural order. But what had Johnson done to attract such scorn?... (read review)

The Death of Marco Pantani by Matt Rendell

Release date: 22nd June, 2006
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

List Price: 16.99
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Marco Pantani died following a massive cocaine overdose in a Rimini hotel room aged just 34. Yet by then, he had became one of the greatest cyclists of his generation, feted by prime ministers, admired by sportsmen and the possessor of a fortune garnered from sponsors delighted to be associated with a man whose electrifying mountain ascents drew massive TV audiences... (read review)

The Running Man by Gilbert Tuhabonye

Release date: 15th May, 2007
Publisher: John Blake Publishing

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This is a quite amazing story; part history, part sport, underpinned by Tuhaboyne's incredible faith. Most of us will never endure what he had to face; for him to have emerged as a fine athlete on the cusp of Olympic qualification is a miracle in itself. Read it. (read review)

Riding Through the Storm by Geoff Thomas

Release date: 18th June, 2007
Publisher: Orion Publishing

List Price: 16.99
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Answer this week's question correctly and you could win a copy of 'Riding Through the Storm' signed by the author. This week's question: What distance did Geoff Thomas ride when he completed the Tour de France course in 2005? (read review)

My Manchester United Years by Sir Bobby Charlton

Release date: 06th September, 2007
Publisher: Headline Publishing

List Price: 20.00
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Like almost every boy his age, Charlton grew up besotted by football. Playing the game for as long as parents would allow was the norm in the Northumberland mining village of Ashington, as it was everywhere else across Britain up until the mid-seventies. Games involving almost every boy in the street were not unusual, but even among these unwieldy matches, it soon became apparent that young Bobby, together with his older brother Jack, were endowed with a rare talent... (read review)

Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac Edited by Lawrence Booth

Release date: 12th April, 2015
Publisher: Wisden

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The inaugural Wisden was published in 1864 and if you enjoy reading accomplished writers on cricket, then Wisden deserves a place on your bookcase, for the traditions of Cardus and Arlott are maintained in the latest edition. (read review)

The Ugly Game The Qatari Plot to Buy the World Cup By Heidi Blake & Jonathan Calvert

Release date: 28th April, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

List Price: 16.99
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As FIFA reels from accusations of corruption, bribery and racketeering, The Ugly Game explains just how the World Cup bidding process has made some FIFA officials very rich men... (read review)

Cricket: The Game of Life By Scyld Berry

Release date: 01st October, 2015
Publisher: Wisden Sports Publishing

List Price: 25.00
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This is our sports book of the year. It's one of six you can win in our fantastic Christmas giveaway. See the competition section below for details. In the meantime, read our review to see why 'Cricket: The Game of Life' is our selection as the best sports book of 2015. (read review)

Angels With Dirty Faces The Footballing History of Argentina By Jonathan Wilson

Release date: 14th August, 2016
Publisher: Orion

List Price: 20.00
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“No country loves [football’s] theories and myths more than Argentina,” writes Jonathan Wilson in his comprehensive, but immensely readable and wonderfully-researched history of a nation and its long-term love for the beautiful game. (read review)

Shadow Box An Amateur in the Ring By George Plimpton

Release date: 04th August, 2016
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

List Price: 12.99
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Boxing is responsible for an even greater form of engagement with sports enthusiasts primarily because the calibre of the authors who write about this toughest of sporting disciplines tends to be of the highest level. Classics such as George Plimpton’s Shadow Box, published originally in the USA and now available in paperback here for the first time warrant inclusion on any sports fans’ bookcase. (read review)

His Own Man The Biography of Otto Peltzer By Tim Johnston and Donald Macgregor

Release date: 01st September, 2016
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: 17.99
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This highly recommended biography uncovers the amazing, little-known story of German athlete Otto Pelzer, who was brutalised by the Nazis for his forthright views and sexuality, but who survived to become an inspiration. (read review)

Ali: A Life By Jonathan Eig

Release date: 04th October, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

List Price: 25.00
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You could fill a library with Muhammed Ali biographies, photographic collections, tittle-tattle, statistical tomes and hastily-prepared cut-and-paste ‘appreciations’, which may prompt the would-be reader of Ali: A Life to ask, ‘is it worth spending £16.79 on yet another book which focuses on the great man’s life? (read review)

A Clear Blue Sky By Jonny Bairstow with Duncan Hamilton

Release date: 01st November, 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins

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If you’re looking to read one of the very best sport-related books of recent years, then treat yourself to a copy of A Clear Blue Sky. (read review)

One Goal A Coach, A Team and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together By Amy Bass

Release date: 09th March, 2018
Publisher: Hachette Books

List Price: 18.99
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We’ve grown so used to images of refugees on the evening news that we’re increasingly immune to their plight. Yet refugees who, having escaped the wretchedness of their homes are often viewed with suspicion or barely-concealed dislike, usually because of their colour, religion, or even manner of dress. One Goal is a book about hope: be it sporting, religious, cultural or political. Read it, because it might make you look at those television images of refugees a little differently. (read review)

The Soccer Tribe By Desmond Morris

Release date: 29th March, 2019
Publisher: Rizzoli International

List Price: 18.99
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We have a copy of The Soccer Tribe to give away. To win this prize, correctly answer the following question: Which club did Jose Mourinho manage before Manchester United? Send your answers to: before 15 April 2019. Good luck! (read review)

The Man of All Talents The Extraordinary Life of Douglas Clark By Steven Bell

Release date: 20th October, 2020
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: 11.99
Our Price: 9.99
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Selecting our books with the intention of enjoying them, we can usually tell within the first few pages whether our early anticipatory optimism is justified. Should you pick up a copy of The Man of All Talents, there’s no need to await the passage of a few pages; author Steven Bell’s engaging style will have you hooked after the opening paragraph. (read review)


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