Sports Book Of The Year By Graham Sharpe

Sports Book of the Year 2014 Shortlist Announced

The shortlist for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award – the richest and longest-running prize for sports writing – has today (Friday 24th October 2014) been announced.

Celebrated sports figures feature highly on the diverse list and include Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas – the first professional sportsman to come out whilst still playing – for his autobiography, Proud, and a biography of iconic figure skater John Curry, Alone, written by documentary maker Bill Jones. Both document personal struggles to keep their sexuality a secret whilst maintaining their public sporting personas.

Joining Thomas and Jones on the prestigious list is a biography of footballing legend Bobby Moore by The Timeschief sports correspondent, Matt Dickinson; Bobby Moore: The Man in Full explores the dark personal story behind the sporting success of the World Cup captain.

Also in the running for the top prize is Run or Die, the autobiography of Spanish endurance athlete and 2014National Geographic Adventurer of the Year,Kilian Jornet, which charts his journey from an 18-month-old who regularly hiked in the mountains for five hours at a time to becoming the fastest person to run up and down Mt Kilimanjaro. Australian author Anna Krien also makes the list with Night Games: Sex, Power and Sport, which takes the high-profile rape trial of a young Australian Rules player as the starting point for a wider examination of the darker recesses of sport.

The shortlist is completed by two histories of sport – Played in London and Floodlights and Touchlines. The former, by journalist Simon Inglis has already changed the landscape of London, as his research for the book has been credited with the Grade II listing of five sporting buildings. The latter, by sports journalist and university lecturer Rob Steen, explores spectator sports’ intrinsic place in culture via a thematic history of professional sport. Both Inglis and Steen – as well as Jones – have previously been shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.


The seven titles in the running to be crowned the winner of the £26,000 prize are as follows (alphabetically by author surname):

  • Bobby Moore: The Man in Ful by Matt Dickinson (Yellow Jersey Press)
  • Played in London: Charting the Heritage of a City at Play by Simon Inglis (English Heritage)
  • Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry by Bill Jones (Bloomsbury)
  • Run or Die by Kilian Jornet (Viking)
  • Night Games: Sex, Power and Sport by Anna Krien (Yellow Jersey Press)
  • Floodlights and Touchlines: A History of Spectator Sport by Rob Steen (Bloomsbury)
  • Proud: My Autobiography by Gareth Thomas and Michael Calvin (Ebury Press)


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

“In this year’s rich and varied shortlist lie compelling explorations of the personal struggles and triumphs of some of our most esteemed sporting figures, an enquiry into the dark side of sporting culture and not one, but two fascinating social histories. The quality of writing speaks for itself – it’s an extremely exciting time in sports-writing.”

The William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award is the world's longest established and most valuable sports-writing prize. As well as a £26,000 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 Footballers’ 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 winner will be announced at an afternoon reception at BAFTA, in central London, on Thursday 27th November.

For further information, please contact  Graham Sharpe....07803 233702


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.


2.       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.       The William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2014 LONGLIST:

  • The Breakaway: My Story by Nicole Cooke (Simon & Schuster)
  • Bobby Moore: The Man in Full by Matt Dickinson (Yellow Jersey Press)
  • An American Caddie in St. Andrews: Growing Up, Girls, and Looping on the Old Course by Oliver Horovitz (Elliott & Thompson)
  • Played in London: Charting the Heritage of a City at Play by Simon Inglis (English Heritage)
  • Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry by Bill Jones (Bloomsbury)
  • Run or Die by Kilian Jornet (Viking)
  • Night Games: Sex, Power and Sport by 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 Keeper by 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 Sport by Rob Steen (Bloomsbury)
  • Stuck in a Moment: The Ballad of Paul Vaessen by Stewart Taylor (GCR Books Ltd)
  • Proud: My Autobiography by Gareth Thomas and Michael Calvin (Ebury Press)
  • Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography by Mike Tyson, with Larry Sloman (HarperSport)
  • Love Game: A History of Tennis, from Victorian Pastime to Global Phenomenon by Elizabeth Wilson (Serpent’s Tail)


4.       The William Hill Sports Book Award 2014 shortlist in detail:


Bobby Moore: The Man in Fullby Matt Dickinson (Yellow Jersey)

In this biography, Matt Dickinson traces the journey of an Essex boy who became the patron saint of English football, peeling away the layers of legend and looking at Moore’s life from all sides – in full.

Author biography:

Matt Dickinson is chief sports correspondent for The Times, where he has worked for 17 years, covering five World Cups. He has won numerous awards including Sports Journalist of the Year. He has previously written books with David Beckham and Gary Neville, but this is his first biography.


Played in London: Charting the Heritage of a City at Playby Simon Inglis (English Heritage)

Played in Londoncharts the spaces, buildings, and sports that have shaped London’s cultural and urban landscape for over a millennium. Illustrated with original photographs and detailed maps, and based on over 10 years of in-depth research, Played in London explores the legacy of sport in one of the world’s most iconic cities.

Author biography

Born and brought up in Birmingham, Simon Inglis went on to study History of Architecture at University College London. During his two decades of being a journalist, he has written a number of acclaimed books on football history and stadium architecture, including The Football Grounds of Britain, and acted as a consultant to Sport England and the British Council. Played in London is his latest book for the ‘Played in Britain’ series, following on from Played in Manchester, Engineering Archie and A Load of Old Balls. Inglis also co-wrote Played in Birmingham and Great Lengths.


Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry by Bill Jones (Bloomsbury)

In the 20th anniversary year of John Curry’s death, writer Bill Jones untangles Curry’s mysterious life. Written with the cooperation of his family and friends, who gave access to previously unseen letters and photos, Jones reveals the true story of this sporting genius.

Author biography:

Bill Jones was an award-winning documentary maker for Granada TV before embarking on a writing career.  His first book, The Ghost Runner, won him The Times Best New Writer at the 2012 British Sports Book Awards and was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2011. 


Run or Dieby Kilian Jornet (Viking)

In Run or Die, Kilian Jornet shares his passion for the mountains and endurance running. He has run up and down Mt. Kilimanjaro faster than any other human being, and struck down world records in every challenge that has been proposed – all before the age of 25. Dominating ultra-marathons and races at altitude, Jornet gives an insight into his consuming desire to tackle tests that push him to the very brink.

Author biography:

Kilian Jornet was raised in the mountains of Eastern Spain and is a world champion ultra-runner and ski mountaineer. In 2013 he broke the world speed record to ascend and descend the 14,692-foot Matterhorn Mountain. It typically takes climbers around 12 hours – Jornet's time was 2 hours and 52 minutes. He was awarded the prestigious Adventurer of the Year 2014 accolade by National Geographic magazine, in honour of his latest project to break speed records up and down the world's 7 tallest mountains. The 4-year project finishes with a running attempt up Everest in 2016.


Night Games: Sex, Power and Sportby Anna Krien (Yellow Jersey Press)

In Night Games, Anna Krien follows the rape trial of a young Australian Rules footballer, taking a balanced and fearless look at the dark side of sport culture – the world of Sam Newman, Ricky Nixon, Matty Johns and the Cronulla Sharks. Both a courtroom drama and a work of narrative journalism, this is a closely observed, controversial book about sex, consent and power.

Author biography:

Anna Krien’s first book, Into the Woods, won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction and the Victorian Premier’s People’s Choice Award. Krien is also the author of the Quarterly Essay Us and Them: On the Importance of Animals, which won the 2012 Voiceless Writing Prize and was shortlisted for the John Button Prize and the Walkley Award for magazine feature writing. Her writing has been published inThe Monthly, The Age, The Big Issue, The Best Australian Essays, The Best Australian Poems andThe Best Australian Stories.


Floodlights and Touchlines: A History of Spectator Sportby Rob Steen (Bloomsbury)

Focusing on spectator sports and their accompanying issues, tracing their origins, evolution and impact, inside the lines and beyond the boundary, Floodlights and Touchlines offers a thematic history of professional sport and the ingredients that magnetise millions around the globe.

Author biography:

Rob Steen has written several books including David Gower: A Man Out of Time andSpringSummer, Autumn (runner-up for the 1991 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award). He is a longstanding columnist for Cricinfo and a senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton. He has also written for, among others, the Guardian, the Independent, the FT, and the Melbourne Age.


Proud: My Autobiographyby Gareth Thomas and Michael Calvin (Ebury Pess)

This is the story of a man with a secret that was slowly killing him; something that had the potential to cause upheaval not only in his own life, but the lives of his wife, family, friends and teammates. The only place where he could find any refuge from the pain and guilt of the lie he was living was on the pitch, playing the sport he loved. The deceit ended when Gareth became the world's most prominent athlete to come out as a gay man. His decision has strengthened strangers, and given him a fresh perspective.

Author biography:

Gareth Thomas is a retired Welsh rugby player, who played rugby union for Bridgend, Celtic Warriors, Toulouse and Cardiff Blues, winning 100 international caps for Wales and captaining the British and Irish Lions. He became the first openly gay professional rugby union player when he publicly announced his sexual orientation in 2009. Proud is his autobiography about this experience.

Michael Calvin has been awarded Sportswriter of the Year and has twice been named Sports Reporter of the Year. He is currently chief sports writer with the Independent on Sunday.


5.       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 Enke by Ronald Reng

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

2009 – Harold LarwoodThe 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