Best sports books for Christmas

Immerse yourself in a good Christmas sports book

Many of us enjoy gifting books during the festive period, so here’s a rundown of some of the best sports books to delve into over Christmas and the coming months.

With so much choice for so many different sports fans it can be hard to narrow things down. So what should be on your Christmas reading list? I’ve chosen these reads to get stuck into over the Christmas and New Year months.

The books can be bought through the SFJ store over on Bookshop, which supports local, independent booksellers, in particular need during these uncertain times.

Orders for any of the sports books should be placed by Dec 16 to allow for delivery. Ideally earlier to account for other potential supply issues.

Out of Thin Air

Like many people, I enjoy a decent running book. This one from Michael Crawley focuses on Ethiopia, a country that has long been a major player in distance running. They must have plenty of secrets to share, so you might pick up some useful tips as you plan your next race.

The Moth and the Mountain

Something about mountains leave us awestruck. It’s the height, beauty and to some, the thought of: “I could get up there”. Those attempting to conquer Mount Everest are in this latter category. The Moth and the Mountain centres on the early mountaineers who beat the path for today’s exploring types.

Morgan’s Men: The Inside Story of England’s Rise from Cricket World Cup Humiliation to Glory

Ah, that halcyon time of happier days in 2019. England’s one-day cricket side, led by captain Eoin Morgan swept all before them in last year’s Cricket World Cup. The dramatic ‘Super Over’ triumph against New Zealand in the final in July features heavily in this book. And plenty of great action photography too. You might need this as a pick-me-up if this winter’s Ashes series falls flat.

The Rodchenkov Affair

The 2020 winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, this looks like a cracking read. Written by whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, it’s a book that has won rave reviews across the media.

Thou Shall Not Pass: The Anatomy of Football’s Centre-Half

As a past central defender myself, this book looks very appealing. It takes its name from a quote by former England warrior Terry Butcher. Author Leo Moynihan delves into the mentality of those who ply their trade in the position. Well I can reveal how I landed at centre-back – it came from a youth team boss just sticking the tall lad at the back. Nothing tactical with that!

Mud, Maul, Mascara: How I Led My Country, and Lived to Tell the Tale

This looks like one of those great Christmas sports books. Written by former England rugby skipper Catherine Spencer, it tells a tale from the heart of competitive women’s sport, an area overlooked for too long in the literature world.

Top of Your Game: Eating for Mind and Body

Admitedly I’ve gone leftfield here. Snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan won his sixth world title in 2020 and finally made it onto the SPOTY list. He’s also written this book to show that it’s not all just down to mercurial talent on the baize. As Ronnie says: “My game is only as good as I am, so making that link between my mental and brain health and my physical fitness was a lightbulb moment for me and I hope this book will be a wake-up call for you too.”

This is esports (and How to Spell it)

Esports is a growing sector and continues to filter across into mainstream sport. Many football clubs now have some sort of esports presence. It’s handy then that this book, which made the sports book of the year longlist, has arrived. There’s no excuse not to brush up on your knowledge now.

Basta: My Life, My Truth

Make no mistake, Marco van Basten was a great footballer. I remember watching the Dutch side of the 1990s, with Gullit, Koeman et al. I mean just look at this volley in the Euro 88 final! This is a ‘warts and all’ autobiography from the master frontman.

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Main image by Pexels from Pixabay

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