Soccer Books

Soccer’s standing as the world’s game has opened it to a wealth of different viewpoints and cultural backgrounds, and the literature of the sport truly reflects this diversity. Whether the focus is on the game’s most interesting characters, the tactics, the supporters or the memorable events, soccer is a topic that has yielded some of the finest writing of any sport. Here is a selection of 18 of the best books concerning the beautiful game.

 

Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius Of Dutch Football by David Winner

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 o...

Inverting The Pyramid: The History Of Football Tactics by Jonathan Wilson

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 boo...

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

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 Grea...

A Life Too Short: The Tragedy Of Robert Enke by Ronald Reng

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 ...

The Damned Utd by David Peace

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 ...