Every year the William Hill Sports Book Of The Year shortlist is released at the ideal time to solve Christmas gift conundrums. It selects the seven finest examples of sports writing of the year – which also happen to be seven exquisite presents for sports fans.
The winner of the 2017 award will be announced on 28th November, but any book from the shortlist below is sure to make a sports fan happy on Christmas day.
The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide To Football Glory
David Bolchover’s book tells the incredible story of Béla Guttmann, football’s first superstar coach, who led Benfica to European glory in 1961, less than two decades after escaping from a slave labour camp during the Holocaust. RRP £16.99 (Biteback Publishing), check price and buy on amazon.co.uk
Ali: A Life
The definitive account of the life of perhaps the greatest sportsman of all time, Jonathan Eig’s comprehensive biography of Muhammad Ali is based on over 500 interviews with the people who knew him best. RRP £25 (Simon & Schuster), check price and buy on amazon.co.uk
Quiet Genius: Bob Paisley, British Football’s Greatest Manager
In just nine seasons in charge of Liverpool, Bob Paisley won an incredible haul of 20 trophies, including six league titles and three European cups. Paisley’s unassuming attitude sometimes means he is forgotten when listing the greatest managers in football’s history, but in this extensive biography Ian Herbert will leave you with no doubt regarding Paisley’s exalted position in football’s pantheon. RRP £20 (Bloomsbury Sport), check price and buy on amazon.co.uk
Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire
British cycling is enjoying one the greatest periods in its history at the moment, but before Froome, Wiggins and Cavendish there was Tom Simpson, who was one of the best cyclists in the world in the 1960s. This beautifully designed book by Andy McGrath of Rouleur magazine tells Simpson’s story and illustrates it with rare photographs from the era. RRP £36 (Rapha Editions), check price and buy on amazon.co.uk
RECOMMENDED: Christmas Gifts For Cyclists
Swell: A Waterbiography
Less than a century ago swimming was a male-dominated pastime, but that was changed by a group of “swimming suffragettes” who fought successfully for equal access. Jenny Landreth’s account of these women’s battle is as funny as it is illuminating. RRP £14.99 (Bloomsbury Sport), check price and buy on amazon.co.uk
When jockey Declan Murphy fell from his horse at Haydock Park in 1994 his injuries were so severe that he was presumed dead. Murphy, after reading his own obituary, not only recovered from his injuries but managed to race – and win – again. Don’t worry if the recipient isn’t a fan of horse racing, Murphy’s book (co-written with Ami Rao) will appeal to all. RRP £16.99 (Doubleday), check price and buy on amazon.co.uk
Breaking Ground: Art, Archaeology And Mythology
This unique work put together by fans is a collection of essays and photos that tell the story of Bradford Park Avenue football club, a once top-flight team liquidated in 1974 that has since returned as an amateur side. £30 (Axis Projects), buy on axisgraphicdesign.co.uk
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.