Are you a big reader? Love soccer and all the stories about famous clubs, players, and managers? We’ve prepared a list of the top 7 soccer books of all time if you’re stuck on a deserted island and want to know which to take with you.
With the FIFA World Cup 2022 now in full swing and getting down to the semi-finals, it’s good to have this healthy list of reading material to get educated on the history of this ultra-fun sport and some of its amazing legends.
1. Living On the Volcano: The Secrets Of Surviving As A Football Manager – Michael Calvin, 2015
This is a priceless insight into the life of a football manager in the modern era. You’ll find out what really goes on behind the scenes and the chaos of managing millions of dollars in the budget, fan expectations, losing a job overnight, and more. This book is made up of portraits of different managers of English club football, including how they made it to the top, what their job was on a daily basis, and their management styles. There is a lot in here from coaching football as well as lessons in life, self-obsession, camaraderie, and the competitive nature of the sport.
2. Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life – Alex Bellos, 2002
There are a lot of soccer books on the ultimate football mecca, but this one goes above and beyond. In Brazil, which isn’t the safest place, Alex Bellos isn’t afraid to travel all over and speak to everyone, from the designer of the uniform, to top goal-scorers, priests, and more. Haley Thomas, a writer at Best Essay Writing Service, explains that “for this book, Bellos traveled to the Faroe Islands to meet Brazilians playing club football, to the Sao Paulo carnival, and hundreds of interviews and photographs in between.”
3. All Played Out: The Story of Italia 90 – Pete Davies, 1990
This is the passionate inside story of the England team and fan base during Italia 90. It’s a popular book that shows the emotional story of England football fans and that they’re not all crazy hooligans. The cultural importance of football is highlighted in this book. It was written in only eight weeks after the World Cup to make it to the Christmas market.
4. Tor! – Uli Hesse, 2003
The classic view of German football is defensive, efficient, ruthless, and borderline boring. One of the most popular classics from this list of great soccer books, this book sets out to destroy all those stereotypes. Hesse describes the history of German football in an interesting, entertaining, and exciting way, exposing more scandals and drama than even English football. There is also a very engaging section on East German football which shines a light on totalitarian football.
5. Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby, 1993
Hornby is completely original with this football book about being a fan. This British writer explores the theory that being a fan is a type of therapy and uses his experience as an Arsenal fan to solve problems in his home life with his parent’s divorce, his problems with women, his lack of goal or direction in his life, and more. He comes from finding fandom a problem and not a healthy, therapeutic escape. It’s also hilarious and a good insight into British life from the 1960s to the 1990s.
6. A Life Too Short: The Tragedy Of Robert Enke – Ronald Reng, 2011
Enke on track to be the first pick goalkeeper in the 2010 World Cup Finals for Germany, was friends with the author of this book since the early 2000s, and they were planning to write soccer books together on Enke’s career in football. Enke keeps detailed notes to remember everything and was planning to open up about his depression after his career.
As per Jonah Rylan, a soccer blogger at Write My Essay, “on November 10, 2009, Enke tragically killed himself by stepping in front of a train. Reng decided to tell Enke’s story on his own. Enke played for Barcelona and Benfica, and first felt his depression in 2003 after feeling miserable at the former club.”
7. Provided You Don’t Kiss Me: 20 Years With Brian Clough – Duncan Hamilton, 2007
Hamilton captures Brian Clough perfectly in this soccer book, the positives, and the negatives. Hamilton bases the book on his 20 years working with Clough at Nottingham Forest, but the book isn’t about him. It’s clearly about Clough. It’s full of anecdotes that come from the heart, are authentic, and are genuine as they are wide-ranging.