Gift Guide

2022 Christmas Gift Guide For Book Lovers

We take a look at some of the latest sport-releated titles available for book lovers this Christmas

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Book shop (Photo: Adobe Stock)
(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Whether you’re looking for a gift for a football fanatic, cycling enthusiast, aspiring marathon runner or deep thinker, there’s something for everyone in The Sport Review’s inaugural Christmas gift guide for book lovers.

We’ve got an array of football titles for anyone looking for a good read in the days after the World Cup ends but with time to kill before the Premier League returns to our screens, including a heart-warming story about one of England’s best-loved managers Brian Clough.

There’s the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2022 Award Winner, “Beryl: In Search of Britain’s Greatest Athlete”, which is an incredible story about one of the nation’s greatest-ever athletes that you probably haven’t heard of – until now.

The New Year is on the horizon and we’ll be ushering in some new resolutions and thinking about new goals, so it could be the perfect time to pick up “Run Your Best Marathon” in case you know someone ready to embark on their first marathon in 2023.

Speaking of resolutions, Russell Brand’s “Recovery” takes a look at some unhealthy habits you may be looking to ditch next year.

We’ve also got “The Seven-Day Sleep Prescription” and “The Seven-Day Prescription For Stress” which could be apt as we look to recover from the indulgences that tend to happen at Christmas.

With the introduction complete, let’s take a look at The Sport Review’s 2022 Christmas Book Gift Guide.

William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2022 Award Winner

Beryl: In Search of Britain’s Greatest Athlete, Beryl Burton by Jeremy Wilson

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The remarkable life of champion cyclist Beryl Burton, one of the greatest cyclists of all time. Cyclist Beryl Burton – also known as BB – dominated her sport much as her male contemporary Eddy Merckx, but with a longevity that surpasses even sporting legends like Muhammad Ali, Serena Williams and Sir Steve Redgrave.

She was practically invincible in time trials, finishing as Best All-Rounder for 25 consecutive years and setting a world record in 1967 for the distance covered in 12 hours that beat the men. She won multiple world titles, even when the distances didn’t play to her strengths.

But her achievements were limited by discrimination from the cycling authorities, and by her strictly amateur status against state-sponsored rivals from Eastern Bloc nations.

Yet she carried on winning, beating men and – infamously – competing against her own daughter, while working on a farm and running a household. Her motivation, sparked by appalling childhood illness, is as fascinating as her achievements are stunning.

With access to previously unseen correspondence and photographs, and through extensive interviews with family, friends, rivals and fellow giants from across sport, acclaimed journalist Jeremy Wilson peels back the layers to reveal one of the most complex, enigmatic and compelling characters in cycling history.

For the first time, he also provides the jaw-dropping answer to how fast she would still be on modern cycling technology. Long ignored by sporting history, Burton’s life story – recently told by Maxine Peake in a stage and radio play – is finally getting the recognition she deserves.

William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2022 Shortlist

My Hidden Race by Anyika Onoura

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My Hidden Race is the story of Olympic medallist Anyika Onuora, who stood on the podium at every major championship in athletics. This book won’t go into detail about the technicalities of her sport or the beauty of the Olympic spirit however.

In the era of the Black Lives Matter and Me Too, this is an unflinching testimony of what it takes to pursue your dreams as a Black British woman against all odds. This three-time Olympian will lift the lid on the reality of life as a black female athlete in Britain in a way that nobody else has done before her.

Nothing is off the record. She is revealing her life for the first time in this book with complete fearlessness. There have been far too many years of silence caught in a system. Now Anyika is determined to make up for lost time and use her story to inspire and heal others.

My Hidden Race will take you into a world that often takes place far from the spotlight of the Olympic torch and shines an intense light on the brutal reality of professional sport for many black females.

God is Dead: The Rise and Fall of Frank Vandenbroucke, Cycling’s Great Wasted Talent by Andy McGrath

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They called him God. For his grace on a bicycle, for his divine talent, for his heavenly looks. Frank Vandenbroucke had it all, and in the late nineties he raced with dazzling speed and lived even faster.

The Belgian won most of cycling’s most prestigious races, including Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Paris-Nice, enthralling a generation of cycling fans. Off the bike, he only had one enemy – himself. His rise to prominence coincided with a rampant period of doping and Vandenbroucke had a wayward streak. He regularly fell out with team managers and had all-night party sessions mixing sleeping pills and alcohol.

A drugs scandal started a long fall from grace, leading to addiction, car crashes, court appearances, marital problems and suicide bids, punctuated by sporting comebacks.

His life was like a soap opera and its premature ending shocked many. In October 2009, aged thirty-four, Vandenbroucke was found dead in a Senegalese hotel room – in mysterious circumstances.

Led by candid contributions from his closest family, friends and associates, William Hill award-winning author Andy McGrath lays bare Vandenbroucke’s turbulent life story. God is Dead is the compelling biography of this mercurial cycling prodigy.

Be Good, Love Brian: Growing Up with Brian Clough by Craig Bromfield

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Craig Bromfield was just 13 years old when Brian Clough, on a whim, took him and his older brother Aaron in.

They came from Southwick, a depressed area of Sunderland, where they lived with their abusive stepfather, and from where they longed to escape. After initially meeting Clough while out begging for money, Clough later invited the brothers to stay at his house. From there a relationship formed which would see Craig living with the Cloughs for nine years, where he was a first-hand witness to the many aspects of Clough’s character – his gruffness, his humour, his big-heartedness.

This is a beautiful, inspirational story, which has never before been told, about Clough’s gentleness and capacity for generosity. Discover a very different side to this iconic man, one away from the cameras and the football, which shows him for the person he really was.

For Football Lovers

Adrenaline by Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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The outrageous follow-up to the mega-selling memoir “I am Zlatan Ibrahimovic”, from one of the world’s most gifted and controversial footballers. Football’s most prolific and controversial goal scorer has nothing left to prove on the pitch. There is only one Zlatan. In the decade since his mega-selling memoir I am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he has played at Paris Saint-Germain (2012-2016), Manchester United (2016-2018), LA Galaxy (2018-2019) and Milan (2020-). This outrageous and hilarious follow-up is bursting with personal confessions and revealing anecdotes about the world’s best players and managers. Packed with revelations, in Adrenaline we hear for the first time what Zlatan really thinks about his time in thePremier League and what it was like to score that glorious bicycle kick against England. We hear about the club he very nearly signed for, and see his hilarious run-ins with the French media – and the French in general, really. Plus so much more.Zlatan transports you into the world of top-flight football like no one else. Filled with revelations – including Zlatan’s life lessons on happiness, friendship and love – you’ll be talking about this book a long time after finishing it.

How To Win The World Cup by Chris Evans

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Godlike genius or the focus of a disappointed nation’s fury – the world’s most prestigious tournament makes or breaks a national coach. Only 20 managers have guided their team to World Cup glory, so what are their secrets? From revolutionary tactics to hare-brained schemes, this book searches for the keys to the most exclusive club in international football.

They may silently plot on the bench or manically gesticulate from the sidelines, but what can the coach really do to influence their team’s performance? Discover the tactical innovations and brilliant strategies as well as the bizarre superstitions, psychological masterclasses and bonkers team-building regimes that managers have employed in the quest for that iconic trophy.

Charting the successes, failures, dramas and controversies of 90 years of World Cup action, through the insights of journalists, players and managers with first-hand experience of World Cup competition, this book comprehensively documents the lengths the man in the dugout will go to in order to bring home the greatest prize.

The book features contributions from leading World Cup stars, including Luiz Felipe Scolari, Geoff Hurst, Carlos Alberto Parreira, Pierre Littbarski, Roberto Martinez, Mick McCarthy, Tomas Brolin, Jamie Carragher, Alexi Lalas, Patrick Barclay, Raphael Honigstein and Graham Hunter.

Don Revie The Biography by Christopher Evans

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The life and times of Don Revie – one of the most complex and controversial men ever to grace the game of football.

Whenever the greatest managers the game has ever produced are mentioned, names like Busby, Shankly, Paisley and Ferguson trip off the tongue. Despite dominating the game in the late 1960s and ’70s there is one name missing: Don Revie, the former Leeds United and England manager.

Revie was one of the most complex and controversial men ever to grace the game of football. As a player, he was crowned Footballer of the Year and credited with creating the modern centre-forward. As a manager, he took a Leeds United side languishing in the lower half of the second division and turned them into not only league champions, but one of the most dominant sides in the country. As England manager, Revie lost the magic touch and became increasingly indecisive. After three years in the role and fearing the sack, Revie became the first man to walk out on England. Then came the backlash.

Revie was branded a traitor and banned from the game for 10 years, and the press declared open season on the manager. Accused of offering bribes to throw matches, his reputation was destroyed. Shunned by the football establishment, he died just 12 years after walking out on England. Revie’s death, at the age of 61, robbed him of the opportunity ever to rebuild his reputation as one of the most important figures ever seen in English football. The life and times of this multifaceted, enigmatic, pioneering football man have still never been fully explored and explained in detail before.

Featuring new interviews with Johnny Giles, Kevin Keegan, Norman Hunter, Eddie Gray, Allan Clarke, Joe Jordan, Gordon McQueen, Malcolm Macdonald and members of the Revie’ family, this long-overdue biography reveals how today’s football owes so much to Don Revie.

Football Murals by Andy Brassell

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On high-rise buildings, street corners and stadium walls in countries around the world, eye-catching murals pay tribute to footballing greats. From Messi and Ronaldo to Rapinoe and Cruyff, these striking displays are remarkable testaments to the awe and affection fans feel for these football legends and cult heroes.

Join renowned football writer and broadcaster Andy Brassell as he explores this fascinating phenomenon. Offering a fresh, highly visual perspective on the global game, Football Murals is the first book to celebrate these towering works of art.

Beckenbauer and Cruyff, Rooney and Ronaldinho, Totti and Salah, Zlatan and Zidane – being honoured with a mural cements a player’s place in a club’s heritage and links them to the heart of the community. This richly illustrated book showcases the most impressive examples, explores their inspirational qualities and examines what they say about these icons and their sport.

Written and curated by respected football writer Andy Brassell, this ground-breaking book features more than 100 murals from around the world, capturing the scale, grandeur and wit of this powerful and popular art form. Through a series of short essays and extended captions, Andy shares the players’ stories, discusses the cultural politics and explains just why these men and women have been immortalised in mural form.

Covering such diverse topics as Home Town Glory, Football Fame and The Cult of the Coach, Football Murals addresses the issues important to fans worldwide. It spans Marcus Rashford’s inspirational mural in a Manchester suburb, the George Best tribute on the East Belfast estate where he was born, the 15-foot depiction of Megan Rapinoe in St Paul, Minnesota, and the Naples ‘shrine’ to Diego Maradona.

How To Watch Football by Tifo

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A pithy, funny, illustrated guide to football, publishing just in time for the 2022 World Cup. Football is the most popular sport in the world, and Tifo Football is one of the world’s most popular football channels. In this short, illustrated guide, its creators share fifty-two simple ‘rules’ for understanding and enjoying the beautiful game-both on and off the pitch. Whether you’re a casual fan or a football obsessive, the fifty-two golden rules in this pocket-size guide will deepen your delight in the world’s favourite sport.

For Cricket Lovers

Sultan by Wasim Akram with Gideon Haigh

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Sultan tells the story of cricket’s greatest left-arm bowler, and one of its greatest survivors, who was chosen from the streets of Lahore and groomed by Imran Khan to become champion of the world – man of the match in the final of the 1992 World Cup.

Along the way were unforgettable rivalries with the greatest of his time, from Viv Richards and Ian Botham to Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne. Wasim Akram tells his story against a backdrop of conspiracy and intrigue over ball tampering and match-fixing, about which Wasim finally sets the story straight.

Wasim also talks frankly about the crumbling and rebuilding of his private life, marred by the tragedy of his first wife’s death and the torment of addiction. The result is an unprecedented insight into the life of a cricketer who revolutionised the game with his speed and swing, and a patriot buoyed and burdened by the expectation of one of the game’s most fanatical publics.

Wasim Akram speaks out on match-fixing allegations for first time Wasim Akram is considered one of the pioneers, and perhaps the finest exponent, of reverse swing bowling, a skill that changed the face of cricket. He was the first bowler to reach the 500-wicket mark in ODI cricket during the 2003 World Cup.

When Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack released its list of best players of all time in 2002, Wasim was ranked as history’s best bowler in one- day international cricket, with a rating of 1223.5, ahead of Allan Donald, Imran Khan, Waqar Younis, Joel Garner, Glenn McGrath and Muralitharan. He’s also the only Pakistani cricketer to be named in a Wisden all-time Test World XI to mark the annual’s 150th anniversary.

Wasim was also at the centre of controversies that dogged cricket, especially in Pakistan, over corruption and cheating, which led to judicial inquiries, court cases, trauma and illness – in particular the diabetes against which he fought through the second half of his career. Allan Border says that if there was another cricketer he would like to be, it would be Wasim. At last, in Sultan, Wasim explains what that would be like.

For Runners

Run Your Best Marathon by Sam Murphy

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Learn how to run your best marathon and get the most out of your training.

There’s no shortage of advice out there on how to train for a marathon and yet it can be hard to know what will work best for you.

Run Your Best Marathon is here to change all that with the expertise of running coach Sam Murphy. Whether you’re looking to step up to the marathon for the first time or to better previous performances over the distance, Sam’s runner-centred approach will help you prepare for and race your chosen marathon to the best of your ability.

Choose from six training plans, each pitched at a different level of mileage, intensity and experience. The plans are backed up by a wealth of essential information and advice on how to train, race, eat and recover. Learn how to:

– assess yourself and set a realistic goal
– adjust your diet to optimise training and recovery
– get your brain onside to resist fatigue and overcome discomfort
– stay healthy during training and respond to injuries
– master the skill of racing.

For Self Help

Recovery – Freedom From Our Addictions by Russell Brand

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This is the age of addiction, a condition so epidemic, so all encompassing and ubiquitous that unless you are fortunate enough to be an extreme case, you probably don’t know that you have it.

What unhealthy habits and attachments are holding your life together? Are you unconsciously dependent on food? Bad relationships? A job that doesn’t fulfill you? Numb, constant perusal of your phone, looking for what?

My qualification for writing this book is not that I am better than you, it’s that I am worse. I am an addict, addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, money, love and fame.

The program in Recovery has given Russell Brand freedom from all addictions and it will do the same for you.

This system offers nothing less than liberation from self-centredness, a new perspective, freedom from the illusion of suffering for anyone who is willing to take the necessary steps.

Where’s My Happy Ending? By Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson

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Maybe you’ve just had a first date with ‘the one’, maybe you’ve been married for ten years. Either way, it’s hard to know if they’re really meant to be by your side until you both wear dentures. In this book Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson, co-founders of the Mother Pukka website and authors of the Sunday Times bestseller Parenting the Sh*t Out of Life, set out to discover what it takes to make it to forever, by asking our greatest questions about love.

They ask a former sex-worker and her ex-gigolo husband, celibate monks and free-loving hippies. They ask people who never wanted kids and people who have loads of them. They speak to couples, throuples and singles; gay, straight and anywhere in-between.

And in asking these questions, they are forced to confront their own relationship after a decade of marriage. Join Anna and Matt on a searingly honest, belly-laugh inducing journey through love and relationships, social media and small children, expert advice and everyday exasperation, as they navigate the muddy waters of modern romance.

The Seven-Day Sleep Prescription By Dr Aric Prather

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Concise guide which shares the secrets to the life-changing benefits of a good night’s rest.

New York Times best-selling author of Why We Sleep from renowned sleep scientist Dr Aric Prather, a book that offers a simple yet powerful plan to improve your sleep in seven days. We need to sleep to survive. If we stopped sleeping, we would die. Sure, it would take a while, but sleep is as essential as food, water and oxygen. Eventually, without it, our bodies begin to shut down. So why on earth can something that should be so natural, instinctual, and automatic be so hard?

Dr Aric Prather studies sleep for a living, and he’ll tell you right off the bat that there’s usually one major thing that gets in the way of sleep: you. Not just you. All of us. We are great at getting in the way of our own sleep. We don’t mean to. And we’re not making obviously bad choices. In the sleep clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr Prather has a line out the door of people struggling to achieve good sleep. By the time they come to him, they’ve tried everything.

In The Seven-Day Sleep Prescription, Dr Prather shares the most powerful solutions that he uses to help his patient sat the clinic achieve restorative sleep. Going beyond the obvious solutions, Dr Prather shares surprisingly simple yet deeply effective techniques that will help you lie back and let sleep work its magic. Over the course of seven days, this book will teach you how to get out of your own way, so that your body can do what it was built to do: sleep.

Why We Meditate By Daniel Goleman And Tsoknyi Rinpoche

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A practical guide to meditation based on scientific research and ancient Buddhist practices. In this modern digital age, many of us feel overwhelmed, panicked and exhausted.

The practice of meditation is an antidote to that frenzied feeling.Using scientific research to explain the benefits of ancient practices, this book gives readers an empirically sound and time-proven set of mental exercises that will allow the reader to overcome destructive emotions and patterns of behaviour, and bring inner peace and focus to their lives.

Practical and accessible, faithful to enduring traditions yet innovatively modern, these easy-to-follow techniques will benefit both experienced mediators and novices alike, and explain the wonders of meditation in a way never seen before.

The Seven-Day Prescription For Stress By Elissa Epel

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Our lives have become increasingly stressful. How can we turn this stress into strength and resilience? Whether it’s our to-do lists, deadlines, difficult conversations or crises small or large, our waking hours are filled with constant stressors. We can’t eliminate stress – it will always be woven into our lives and part of everything from parenting and careers, to reaching big life dreams.

However, this book will help you to ‘stress better’ and become more resilient. World-renowned psychologist, Dr Elissa Epel, distils her years of research into a practical seven-day plan to transform our relationship with stress in just seven days. The secret to tackling stress is not to avoid it but to experience it differently.

She offers simple, actionable, science-based techniques that offer immediate relief, such as how to:

· Expect the unexpected and learn to be flexible
· Control what you can and put down the rest
· Meet challenges with excitement
· Harness your stress response for resilience, better health, and longevity
· Gain perspective and let nature shrink stress
· Find deep rest and regenerative energy
· Discover and capture what brings you joy

Ultimately, stress is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to wearus down. The Seven-Day Stress Prescription will equip you with a healthier mindset and the resources you need to turn stress into strength and a tool that helps us to grow.

Books That Will Make You Think

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The bestselling author of Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved) asks, how do you move forward with a life you didn’t choose?

Hailed by Glennon Doyle as ‘the Christian Joan Didion’, Kate Bowler used to accept the modern idea that life is an endless horizon of possibilities, a series of choices which if made correctly, would lead us to a place just out of our reach. A beach body by summer. A trip to Disneyland around the corner. A promotion on the horizon. But then at thirty-five she was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, and now she has to ask one of the most fundamental questions of all: How do we create meaning in our lives when the life we hoped for is put on hold indefinitely?

In No Cure for Being Human, Kate searches for a way forward as she mines the wisdom (and absurdity) of our modern ‘best life now’ advice industry, which offers us exhausting positivity, trying to convince us that we can out-eat, out-learn and out-perform our humanness. With dry wit and unflinching honesty she grapples with her cancer diagnosis, her ambition and her faith and searches for some kind of peace with her limitations in a culture that says that anything is possible.

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