Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius Of Dutch Football by David Winner
Soccer Books / 25th September 2018

A seemingly impossible achievement that somehow weaves together art, architecture, landscape, history and football, David Winner’s explanation of the brilliance of Dutch football is a masterpiece. Brilliant Orange is a book about Dutch soccer that’s not really about Dutch soccer. It’s more about an enigmatic way of thinking peculiar to a people whose landscape is unrelentingly flat, mostly below sea level, and who owe their salvation to a boy who plugged a fractured dike with his little finger. If any one thing, Brilliant Orange is about Dutch space and a people whose unique conception of it has led to the most enduring arts, the weirdest architecture, and a bizarrely cerebral form of soccer―Total Football―that led in 1974 to a World Cup finals match with arch-rival Germany, and more recently to a devastating loss against Spain in 2010. With its intricacy and oddity, it continues to mystify and delight observers around the world. As David Winner wryly observes, it is an expression of the Dutch psyche that has a shared ancestry with Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie, Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, and maybe even with Gouda cheese.

Inverting The Pyramid: The History Of Football Tactics by Jonathan Wilson
Soccer Books / 25th September 2018

If you find soccer tactics to be even remotely interesting, this book is a godsend. Jonathan Wilson meticulously follows the trends and shifts in tactics, from when teams used to play with five forwards to the shift to a false 9, and details some of the more memorable tacticians and philosophies in the game. “An outstanding work … the [soccer] book of the decade.” —Sunday Business Post Inverting the Pyramid is a pioneering soccer book that chronicles the evolution of soccer tactics and the lives of the itinerant coaching geniuses who have spread their distinctive styles across the globe. Through Jonathan Wilson’s brilliant historical detective work we learn how the South Americans shrugged off the British colonial order to add their own finesse to the game; how the Europeans harnessed individual technique and built it into a team structure; how the game once featured five forwards up front, while now a lone striker is not uncommon. Inverting the Pyramid provides a definitive understanding of the tactical genius of modern-day Barcelona, for the first time showing how their style of play developed from Dutch “Total Football,” which itself was an evolution of the Scottish passing game invented by Queens Park in the 1870s…

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
Soccer Books / 25th September 2018

Nick Hornby’s autobiographical book about his relationship with Arsenal FC epitomizes the life of a football fan like no other. If you’re hesitant to read this book because of the horrible 2005 film starring Jimmy Fallon as a fan of the Red Sox, you’re making a massive mistake. A brilliant memoir from the beloved, bestselling author of Funny Girl, High Fidelity and About A Boy.  In America, it is soccer. But in Great Britain, it is the real football. No pads, no prayers, no prisoners. And that’s before the players even take the field. Nick Hornby has been a football fan since the moment he was conceived. Call it predestiny. Or call it preschool. Fever Pitch is his tribute to a lifelong obsession. Part autobiography, part comedy, part incisive analysis of insanity, Hornby’s award-winning memoir captures the fever pitch of fandom—its agony and ecstasy, its community, its defining role in thousands of young men’s coming-of-age stories. Fever Pitch is one for the home team. But above all, it is one for everyone who knows what it reallymeans to have a losing season.

A Life Too Short: The Tragedy Of Robert Enke by Ronald Reng
Soccer Books / 25th September 2018

A Life Too Short is the tragic account of German goalkeeper Robert Enke. Enke played for Benfica, Barcelona, Hannover and won 8 caps with Germany while battling depression. This book, written by his friend Ronald Reng, details his life and struggle. Winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, the biography of Robert Enke, the international footballer with the world at his feet who took his own life Here, award-winning writer Ronald Reng pieces together the puzzle of his lost friend’s life. On November 10, 2009, the German national goalkeeper, Robert Enke, stepped in front of a passing train. He was 32 years old. Viewed from the outside, Enke had it all. He was a professional goalkeeper who had played for a string of Europe’s top clubs, including Jose Mourinho’s Benfica and Louis Van Gaal’s Barcelona, and was destined to be his country’s first choice for years to come. But beneath the bright veneer of success lay a darker story. Reng brings into sharp relief the specific demands and fears faced by those who play top-level sport. Heartfelt, but never sentimental, he tells the universal tragedy of a talented man’s struggles against his own demons. “One of the most remarkable sports…

The Damned Utd by David Peace
Soccer Books / 25th September 2018

Brian Clough’s doomed stint at Leeds United, where he replaced rival manager Don Revie, lasted all of eight matches. Clough had previously criticized both Revie and the Leeds United playing style, ensuring that his appointment was met with consternation among the Leeds players. In this book, author David Peace writes from Clough’s point of view as he fails to get his players behind him. It’s a brilliant look at one of football’s most outspoken and polarizing managers.