5 Football books every player and fan should read

There are a wealth of football books on the market, yet not all are interesting reads. In fact, many of the books available to buy are snooze-fests written by ghostwriters about a player’s career. However, there are some amazing football books written by players and journalists that are begging to be read.

These 5 football books should be read by every player and fan of the beautiful game.

Soccernomics

Written by journalist Simon Kuper and economist Stefan Szymanski, Soccernomics looks at many of the intricacies of football and why they occur.

Published in 2012, Soccernomics can feel a bit dated, but some of the insight it provides is incredible. Chapters detail transfers and scouting (the book looks at Liverpool’s recruitment policy long before their success under Jurgen Klopp), why England lose on the international level, and how to look at data to uncover facts about football players. They explained expected goals before it was the cool thing to talk about.

Soccernomics was published just football was becoming more data-driven. The book is just as eye-opening now as it was in 2012.

The Miracle of Castel di Sangro

What do you do after writing a book about the O.J. Simpson trial in the mid-1990s? You move to Italy and spend a season following a tiny provincial team playing in Serie B.

Author Joe McGinniss fellow in love with soccer during the 1994 World Cup like many Americans. After the successes of several of his books, McGinniss used his sway as a writer to move to Italy to follow and write about Castel di Sangro Calcio. McGinniss recounts the tiny club’s only Serie B season as it goes from highs to lows to match-fixing conspiracy.

The Miracle of Castel di Sangro is one of the all-time great football books told through the eyes of an outsider.

Calcio

Sticking with the theme of Italian football, Calcio is the definitive book on football on the peninsula.

The book is an exhaustive account of the sport in Italy, the teams, and the part football has played on Italian history.

Calcio goes into depth on a variety of historical elements including Calciopoli, the great Torino sides of yesteryear, and much more. For any fan of Italian football, Calcio is a must-read.

A Life Too Short

A Life Too Short is a sobering look at the world of football. It isn’t about the glitz and glamour of winning cup matches. The biography, written by Ronald Reng, details the life of former Hannover 96 goalkeeper Robert Enke who suffered from depression.

Rather than focusing on the glamour of football, Reng focused on the darker side of the game, the side that tears at players mentally. Enke not only suffered from depression, but he took his life due to it in 2009.

A Life Too Short has been widely praised for its look into Enke’s life and since it was published, more people are aware of mental health issues in sports.

The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime

 

Investigative journalist Declan Hill wrote The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime at a time before FIFA was serious about match-fixing allegations. Amazingly, that time was fewer than 15 years ago.

Hill’s book takes him to all corners of the globe as he speaks with alleged match-fixers, players, and other nefarious individuals. Hill’s adventures are interesting and seem straight out of a Hollywood film.

It is an eye-opening book on the way in which match-fixing has been a part of football over the years.

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