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World  Cup Finals 1966 Brochure signed by all 22 members of England’s squad

How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer

Let’s talk football and books. The World Cup, as Charles Dickens would have said if he was a Match of the Day pundit, is the best of times and the worst of times. Great football (if teams don’t play for penalties), high drama, some sense of national unity and then the big let-down of the sad ending (probably involving the Germans).

Below you can browse my list of the best 25 books ever written about football. I am drawn to sports books that offer a wider insight into people rather than just how happy or sad the major stars were feeling after scoring the winner/losing the big game. Football books vary greatly in quality from very basic to suprisingly complex.

Barca: A People's Passion by Jimmy Burns blew me away with its description of Barcelona’s cultural importance to the Catalans. Left Foot Forward by Garry Nelson is a terrific insight into life as an ordinary, not-all-famous professional footballer. Provided You Don't Kiss Me by Duncan Hamilton not only spills the bills on the madness of Brian Clough but also depicts the ups and downs of regional sports journalism. Imagine playing football under the rule of the Nazis in World War II? Read Dynamo by Andy Dougan. My Father and Other Working Class Heroes by Gary Imlach should be read by all football fans under the age of 20. I could go on. On the whole, stay away from ghosted biographies and look for something that gives the reader a broader perspective. Enjoy the list.

The 25 Best Books about Football

The Glory Game by Hunter Davies
The Glory Game
by Hunter Davies
Provided You Don't Kiss Me by Duncan Hamilton
Provided You Don't Kiss Me
by Duncan Hamilton
Dynamo by Andy Dougan
Dynamo
by Andy Dougan
Among the Thugs by Bill Buford
Among the Thugs
by Bill Buford
The Damned United by David Peace
The Damned United
by David Peace
Addicted by Tony Adams
Addicted
by Tony Adams

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