With the FIFA World Cup coming to an end and the next footballing season almost a month away there is not much action for the football fans. This time period will be a great opportunity for them to read some books about the beautiful game and get some new facts about the old stories and read some new stories as well. So, here is a list of books that a football fan should definitely read once in their lifetime.

#1 Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

When he was a child, growing up in London was a hard time for Nick. His parents’ marriage was falling apart and he had little feeling of truly being at home. One day his dad took him to Highbury, the old home ground of the football club Arsenal. This football ground became a significant part of his life as it was here that he experienced joy, humiliation, heartbreak, frustration, and hope throughout his visits.

In this book, Nick Hornby describes his childhood, his time as a teacher, his love (not just for football) and the beautiful game as he tries to find a sense of belonging as he follows his obsession and tells how it can shape one’s entire life. The classic book is hilarious as well as moving and one of the best sellers.

The book is available starting from ₹250 on Amazon books store.

#2 The Damned United by David Peace

In the year 1974, the controversial yet brilliant Brian Clough made a huge decision in his life, he accepted the position as Manager of Leeds United. Though his reign lasted for a mere 44 days, this book depicts the story of a manager whose goal was to win at all costs.

The book is not only one of the most brilliant books written on the topic of football but can be considered one of the best in the whole sports books category. The book not only takes us into the mind and thoughts of the Ol’ Big ‘Ead himself but presents the experiences of one of the most complex and fascinating characters in a vivid lifelike experience.

The book is available on Amazon books store starting at ₹289.

#3 Inverting the Pyramid by Johnathon Wilson

Inverting the Pyramid is one of those books which depicts the brilliance of football in its deepest form. The fans would love to read about the various playstyle and tactics that were used throughout the history of the game. The book describes how a person plays, where, and for whom that person plays for. In addition to this which kind of football club is suited for them.

The book describes how the South Americans shrugged off the British colonial order to add their own flavour to the game and how the Europeans harnessed individual technique and built it into a team structure. It describes how the game transitioned from an era when no less than five players played in attacking position to the current period where we see teams employing just a single attacker.

The book can be considered a bible for all the football fans and the creative and engaging writing style of Johnathon Wilson makes the book an excellent reading choice for a casual fan as well.

The book is available on Amazon books store starting at ₹920.

#4 Tor!: The Story of German Football by Ulrich Hesse-Lichtenberger

Any list of best books on football will be incomplete without mentioning the Germans. Tor which means goal in the German depicts the history of the German football, and how its rise has a more powerful impact than anybody ever imagined.

The book shows how powerful the Germans were during their time and the ideas put forward by Lichtenberger shows how Germany matured alongside the game in a short time period which is considered a rarity in the footballing world. The book is one of the most engaging books on the subject and readers would easily get engrossed in the details about the beautiful game and know how powerful this beast was at their peak.

Though the book has never been published in the US. It is still available on Amazon starting at ₹

#5 Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life by Alex Bellos

Football and Brazil often go hand in hand and Futebol does exactly what it says on the cover, it gives an insight of the Brazilian Way of Life. Football is famous for overcoming barriers and bringing people closer. Brazil has become quite famous for its prowess and flair in the games.

The book shows how one of the most talented countries in terms of football made the game even better through international unification. Bellos not only describes the footballing culture in Brazil but also mentions some of the greatest goals in the World Cup history in such an exciting way that one will feel as if they were watching the goal being scored right in front of their eyes. One such description is of legendary Pele’s brilliant performance against Switzerland back in 1958.

The book can be purchased from Amazon starting at ₹187.

#6 The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer by David Goldblatt

In his book, David Goldblatt presents the history of football as it evolved from a chaotic folk ritual and became the most popular sport in the world and gaining prominence in the global entertainment industry. It tells the reader about the players and the managers, fans, and owners, clubs and national teams as some of them ended up winning and gaining popularity while the others lost and were forgotten.

The book shows how the game is about love and respect but at times it is a struggle for power and making money. The author mentions the careers of Pele, Maradona, George Best and Puskas along with the history of the Wunderteam among other great things that happened throughout the history of the game. The game is more than just a sport and it has the ability to change the nations as shown by the description of football in Peron’s Argentina, Adenauer’s West Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mussolini’s Italy.

All these amazing and unbelievable tales make this one of the most popular books in the sports category and make it an engaging book to read. It is available on Amazon Books store starting at ₹1457.

#7 I Am Zlatan by ZlatanIbrahimovic

I am Zlatan is an autobiography of the talented and controversial ZlatanIbrahimovic. The former Swedish international is one of the most recognized footballers in the world. This book presents the stories from his point of view and provides the new perspective to some of the biggest moments of his career. The book gives his account of his stay in Italy and the time he had at Barcelona where he had stirred controversies under Pep Guradiola as he was unhappy due to the stressed relations between the two as Pep gave a preference to Messi over Ibrahimovic.

The book is an enjoyable experience in the original Swedish version but no need to worry the nothing has been watered down in the English version of the book. You can get the book on Amazon for ₹ 714.

#8Football Against the Enemy by Simon Kuper

Going around the world be it the United States of Russia, Simon Kuper analyses the professional football in its essence. He tries to understand the science behind each team and how could anybody apply it in their own games. This book is a masterpiece when it comes to understanding the analytical concepts of football.

Football Against the Enemy not only focuses on the sports alone but also involves the cultural aspect of the game and what makes it the most popular sport across the globe. The author analyses the traits of the culture that makes Brazil one of the most brilliant nations in terms of football while harkening the skill of the Italians.

The book is available on Amazon for ₹804.

#9 Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski

The book is an attempt by the author to provide an answer to all the practical question related to football. The book delivers the answers to some of the biggest questions related to the game by the means of concise scientific and mathematical concept. The authors use disciplines such as psychology, economics, statistics, among other things to explain the beautiful games to their readers.

The authors question the numerics behind Manchester United and other teams to present the truth using various variables in the process. After all, mathematics can be found everywhere on a football pitch be it the penalties, direct kicks, and even a player's speed. The book provides answers to simple questions such as why a particular team never wins the title to complex ones such as who might play in the finals of the upcoming World Cup. The book is a brilliant attempt to describe the game using mathematics and is one of those books that a fan should definitely read.

The book will cost you ₹975 on Amazon.

#10 A life too short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke by Ronald Reng

In this book, Ronald Reng, an award-winning author tries to put together the pieces of the puzzle of the life of Robert Enke. On 10th of November, the German Goalkeeper, Robert Enke, stepped on the track and was killed by an oncoming train, he was 32 years old. In the eyes of everyone else, he should have had no problems. He had played for some of the best clubs in Europe such as Louis Van Gaal Barcelona and for Benfica under Jose Mourinho and would have been the primary goalkeeper in the upcoming World Cup in Africa.

As it is said “Life is not a bed of roses” there was a dark secret beneath all this fame and glory. Reng brings to the limelight the horrors and demands faced by players who are at the top-level. The story is by no means a tragedy but will definitely make the readers think how a person with all the fame has to struggle with against his own inner demons.

The book is available on Amazon starting at ₹321.

Conclusion

I hope that you would really enjoy reading these books and come across new and previously unknown stories and facts regarding the players, managers, fans, and teams which have participated in the beautiful game over the years.

Published by Taslima Akter