The relationship between football and writing used to extend little beyond the occasional player autobiography – almost always not actually written by the player, but a sympathetic journalist instead – and the enthusiastic but banal content of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly. All that started to change at the beginning of the 1990s, around the time British football was undergoing a fundamental change of image brought on by the onset of all-seater stadia and the formation of the Premier League.
When looking for positives from the accelerated commercialisation of football over the past couple of decades, the upturn in the market for books associated with the game can certainly be cited. Football fans under thirty have lived through a period blessed with a wealth of fascinating texts about the game across a broad range of subjects. We should be grateful; it wasn’t always thus.
With that in mind, I present a list of my top ten favourite football books. There are some glaring omissions – All Played Out by Pete Davies and The Glory Game by Hunter Davies, to name but two – but then that is because I haven’t got round to reading so many of the books I want to yet. There will be titles missing here that would be on other people’s lists but this, after all, without wishing to sound too morbid or threatening, is a list of books to read before you die.
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