Sports Book Of The Year By Joe Crilly

Sports Book of the Year 2014 Longlist Announced

Retired Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas – former captain of Wales and the British Lions and, in 2009, the highest-profile sportsman in the UK to come out as gay – has been longlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2014, for his autobiography Proud.


Those competing with Thomas for the 26th William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, the most prestigious prize of its kind, include: Mike Tyson, for his no-holds-barred autobiography Undisputed Truth, written with Larry Sloman; Bill Jones for Alone, the biography of John Curry, the figure skater who had 20 million Britons glued to their TV sets as he changed the perception of ice skating from marginal sport to high art; Kilian Jornet, described by The New York Times as ‘the most dominating endurance athlete of his generation’ for his memoir Run or Die; and Olympic gold-medallist Nicole Cooke, the first British cyclist to have been ranked World No.1, for her autobiography The Breakaway.


Though the books on this year’s longlist cover eight different sports in total, titles about football dominate. Making up six of the 15-strong longlist, they include the biographies/autobiographies of Bobby Moore, Duncan Ferguson, Paul Vaessen and Lutz Pfannenstiel. Other titles include Anna Krien’s closely observed, controversial book following the rape trial of an Australian Rules footballer and Paul Rees’s account of a groundbreaking chapter in the history of British football, looking at West Bromwich Albion’s decision to field three black players against the backdrop of one of the most divisive racial tensions in UK history.


The longlist in full (alphabetically by author’s surname):

  • The Breakaway: My Storyby Nicole Cooke (Simon & Schuster)
  • Bobby Moore: The Man in Fullby Matt Dickinson (Yellow Jersey Press)
  • An American Caddie in St. Andrews: Growing Up, Girls, and Looping on the Old Courseby Oliver Horovitz (Elliott & Thompson)
  • Played in London: Charting the Heritage of a City at Playby Simon Inglis (English Heritage)
  • Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curryby Bill Jones (Bloomsbury)
  • Run or Dieby Kilian Jornet (Viking)
  • Night Games: Sex, Power and Sportby Anna Krien (Yellow Jersey Press)
  • In Search of Duncan Ferguson: The Life and Crimes of a Footballing Enigma by Alan Pattullo (Mainstream Publishing)
  • The Incredible Adventures of the Unstoppable Keeperby Lutz Pfannenstiel (Vision Sports Publishing Ltd)
  • The Three Degrees: The Men Who Changed British Football Forever by Paul Rees (Constable)
  • Floodlights and Touchlines: A History of Spectator Sportby Rob Steen (Bloomsbury)
  • Stuck in a Moment: The Ballad of Paul Vaessenby Stewart Taylor (GCR Books Ltd)
  • Proud: My Autobiographyby Gareth Thomas (Ebury Press)
  • Undisputed Truth: My Autobiographyby Mike Tyson, with Larry Sloman (HarperSport)
  • Love Game: A History of Tennis, from Victorian Pastime to Global Phenomenonby Elizabeth Wilson (Serpent’s Tail)



William Hill spokesman and co-founder of the Award, Graham Sharpe, said:

“There is something for everyone on this year’s longlist; from the inspirational, surprising and sometimes troubling stories behind some of our best-known sporting stars, to masterful social history and the more unusual subjects of ultra-running and golf-caddying. This diverse range of topics is testament to the fact that sports-writing is in rude health. I am also very pleased to see that three of the 15 longlisted titles are written by women – a first for a William Hill longlist – though I’d like to see an even greater share of voice for female writers in the future”. 

The William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award is the world's longest established and most valuable literary sports-writing prize. As well as a £25,000 cash prize, the winning author will receive a free £2,500 William Hill bet, a hand-bound copy of their book, and a day at the races.

The judging panel for this year’s Award consists of: retired professional footballer and former chairman of the Professional Footballer’s Association, Clarke Carlisle; broadcaster and writer John Inverdale; broadcaster Danny Kelly; award-winning journalist Hugh McIlvanney; and columnist and author, Alyson Rudd. Chairman of the judging panel is John Gaustad, co-creator of the Award and founder of the Sportspages bookshop.


The shortlist will be announced on 24th October. The winner will be announced at an afternoon reception at BAFTA, in central London, on Thursday 27th November.


For further information, please contact Alice Ingall, Katie Brown or Anwen Hooson at Riot Communications on

020 3174 0118 / /  /


Notes to Editors

  1. This year’s prize was open to any full-length book, providing the subject was predominantly sporting, published for the first time in the UK between 30th September 2013 and 29th September 2014.


  1. Shortlisted authors will receive £3,000 cash, a leather-bound copy of their book, and a free £1,000 bet. Longlisted authors will receive a free £500 bet and a certificate.


3.       PREVIOUS WINNERS of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award:

2013 – Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang by Jamie Reid

2012 – The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle

2011 – A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enkeby Ronald Reng

2010 - Beware of the Dog: Rugby’s Hardman Reveals All by Brian Moore

2009 – Harold Larwood: The Authorized Biography of the World’s Fastest Bowler by Duncan Hamilton

2008 – Coming Back to Me: The Autobiography by Marcus Trescothick

2007 - Provided You Don't Kiss Me: 20 Years With Brian Clough by Duncan Hamilton

2006 - Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson by Geoffrey Ward

2005 - My Father and Other Working-Class Football Heroes by Gary Imlach

2004 - Basil D'Oliveira: Cricket and Controversy by Peter Oborne

2003 - Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football by Tom Bower

2002 - In Black and White: The Untold Story of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens by Donald McRae

2001 - Seabiscuit: The True Story of Three Men and a Racehorse by Laura Hillenbrand

2000 - It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong

1999 - A Social History of English Cricket by Derek Birley

1998 - Angry White Pyjamas: An Oxford Poet Trains with the Tokyo Riot Police by Robert Twigger

1997 - A Lot of Hard Yakka: Triumph and Torment - A County Cricketer's Life by Simon Hughes

1996 - Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing by Donald McRae

1995 - A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour by John Feinstein

1994 - Football Against the Enemy by Simon Kuper

1993 - Endless Winter: The Inside Story of the Rugby Revolution by Stephen Jones

1992 - Fever Pitch; A Fan’s Life by Nick Hornby

1991 - Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times by Thomas Hauser

1990 - Rough Ride: An Insight Into Pro Cycling by Paul Kimmage

1989 - True Blue: The Oxford Boat Race Mutiny by Daniel Topolski and Patrick Robinson