Good Soccer Reading?
June 18, 2006 2:25 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend some interesting soccer (football) books?

Soccer has become my favorite sport as I get older. I love to read, and just finished Bill Buford's Among the Thugs and Franklin Foer's How Soccer Explains the World. I have also read Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch, A Season with Verona by Tim Parks , and The Miracle of Castel di Sangro by Joe McGinnis.

I am not tied to genre, fiction, biography, non-fiction, even magazine suggestions would be appreciated.
posted by kickerofelves to Writing & Language (13 answers total)
Fever Pitch and Soccer in Sun and Shadow are my two favorites.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 2:28 PM on June 18, 2006

Oh yeah, try 'Among the Thugs' also.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 2:29 PM on June 18, 2006

Roy Keane's autobiography
posted by matteo at 2:33 PM on June 18, 2006

and "The Professor", the Arsene Wenger biography
posted by matteo at 2:33 PM on June 18, 2006

The best magazine for me (a Brit) is When Saturday Comes. It's a small football magazine run by an independent company, and is quite fan-focused, rather than focusing on the hype and bullshit. They also properly cover the UK lower leagues. Selection of articles here.

More relevant to someone from Alabama, they have published a collection of their best writing on football, The Half Decent Football Book, and a series of histories of football in various countries: Morbo (Spain), Tor! (Germany), and Soccer in a football world (USA).
posted by athenian at 2:59 PM on June 18, 2006

We just did this.
posted by languagehat at 3:08 PM on June 18, 2006

Sir Alex Ferguson's autobiography written with the help of noted Scottish novelist William McIlvanney, and "Penthouse and Pavement: How to survive in football without sucking up to the Old Firm," by Bill Leckie.
posted by TheManticore at 5:35 PM on June 18, 2006

And if you're looking for good literature, try "The Thistle and the Grail," by Robin Jenkins who's written another football related book called "A Would Be Hero" the protagonost of which is a talented footballer trying to retain his dignity and humanity in a violent and cruel world.
posted by TheManticore at 5:40 PM on June 18, 2006

People talk about Keane's autobiography as if it's some sort of bible, but it's barely better than David Beckham's book. Bogged down in meaningless match reports and specifics that everyone has forgotten. There is no insight into what made him who he is, and nothing about his personal life. 80% is clunky football reporting, with a few drinking sessions and bust-ups peppering the rest.

While I haven't read it, people refer to "Full Time: The Secret Life of Tony Cascarino" in favourable terms, I have heard it mentioned as the best football biography more than once.
posted by fire&wings at 6:05 PM on June 18, 2006

We just did this.

Although this one is a bit different. That one was asking for reference books to fill out football knowledge, while this one is just asking for good football books. I didn't suggest Fever Pitch for that one, but I would for this.

Fever Pitch, good book. Middling movie, both versions.
posted by smackfu at 9:10 PM on June 18, 2006

Haven't seen this book, but it sounds good:
The Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup
posted by languagehat at 6:27 AM on June 19, 2006

"How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization" by Franklin Foer was an entertaining and interesting read.
posted by blim8183 at 6:55 AM on June 19, 2006

Garry Nelson was what they call a "journeyman" footballer at various English clubs in the 1980s - i.e. a player who was never going to be a star, but still good enough to be a professional footballer in the top league. His book Left Foot Forward" is a well-written insight into the ins and outs of a season with Charlton Athletic. A far better and more entertaining read than any number of star biographies.
posted by TiredStarling at 9:11 AM on June 23, 2006

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