Here’s my recommendations of the best football books of recent months for reading on the beach or by the pool. Kick off the summer with one of these great reads.
Review: Beautiful Bridesmaids Dressed in Oranje – The Unfulfilled Glory of Dutch Football by Gary Thacker
Gary Thacker’s ‘Beautiful Bridesmaids Dressed in Oranje’ provides an illuminating and in-depth analysis of the Dutch national team and their dramatic failure to win a World Cup. This is an extensive history of Dutch football, but the narrative really gathers pace with the 1970s when they reached the World Cup finals in 1974 and 1978.
Agent Erkut Sogut uses his own experiences to delve into the murky world of football agents in the pacey crime thriller ‘Deadline’. Sogut is the founder of the Football Agent Institute, and his clients include Mesut Ozil, Kieran Gibbs and Kerem Akturkoglu.
When football fans talk about the greatest English managers, Don Revie is often excluded. Revie is perhaps the most controversial figure in English football and has never been forgiven for resigning as England manager and moving to the United Arab Emirates.
Formerly Ernst & Young’s Chief Economist and Stoke City supporter Mark Gregory has produced a timely and in-depth analysis of why the English game requires radical reform and how it can be changed for the better.
Clive Tyldesley was ITV’s senior football commentator for 22 years and his autobiography provides an entertaining insight into the life of a commentator obsessive. Tyldesley has spent time with many of the big characters of the game including Sir Alex Ferguson, Bill Shankly, Brian Clough and Sir Kenny Dalglish and his encounters are well worth the retelling.
Radical Football is partly a history of the ‘Football for Good’ movement, partly a manifesto for the future of football and partly the autobiography of Jurgen Griesbeck and how he came to become one of football’s great innovators.
Many people regard the 1971/72 football season as the greatest and Danny Abrahams’ book certainly makes a very strong case. ‘There was a season when the world’s greatest footballers were all on show at British grounds. Best, Keegan, Charlton and Moore were joined by Pele, Cruyff and Eusebio, while in the dugouts Clough, Shankly, Revie, and Allison duked it out in the closest ever championship title race.’
Pat Nevin’s memoir is a tremendously entertaining read. The former Chelsea, Everton and Tranmere Rovers footballer, writer and broadcaster wasn’t the typical professional footballer – he loved playing the game – but wanted a career as a teacher and had many outside interests. His win bonuses went on records, attending gigs, theatre, movies, galleries and travelling.