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Top 10 Soccer Books

Top 10 Soccer Books

Table of Contents


  1. Inverting the Pyramid
  2. Soccernomics
  3. A Life Too Short
  4. Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography
  5. Fever Pitch
  6. Brilliant Orange
  7. Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life
  8. Tor! The Story of German Football
  9. The Damned Utd
  10. The Ball is Round

1. Inverting the Pyramid

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

Inverting the Pyramid is written by Jonathan Wilson and was published in 2008. For anyone wishing to learn more about soccer and the tactics, this book covers all the basics. He explores the evolution of soccer tactics and different strategies from both a player and a coach's point of view. Wilson delves into the different styles and tactics of soccer that are played around the world. He depicts how different South American countries added their flair to the game and how Europeans built techniques into their team structure. Inverting the Pyramid has become a staple, not only for fans but for players and coaches alike.

2. Soccernomics

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

Soccernomics is written by Stefan Szymanski and Simon Kuper and was originally published in 2009. The authors apply analytical and economical tools to help answer common soccer questions. This approach to soccer analysis uses data and numbers to help conclude unexpected answers to the sport. They turned common ideas that were based merely on observations or gut instincts and added more of scientific thought to it. Questions they answer include: "Why do Brazil and Germany win," "Penalties- What are they good for," and "Why does England lose." A newer edition of the book came out in 2018 as the World Cup edition.

3. A Life Too Short

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke is written by Ronald Reng and published in 2010. Ronald Reng was friends with Germany's national goalkeeper, Robert Enke. Robert Enke had played for multiple European clubs and was rumored to be a top choice for the World Cup in 2010. Reng chronicles his friend's life story, from an insider's point of view. Reng focuses on Enke's mental health issues and his friendship with him. Enke struggled with depression which ultimately led to his suicide. Robert Reng brings light to these topics and opens up the conversation about mental health, which is not common in the world of soccer.

4. Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography is written by Alex Ferguson and released in 2013. Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager of Manchester United from 1986 to 2013. Ferguson is one of the best managers who won more trophies than any manager before. The book focuses on control, and how he turned Manchester United from a club into a worldwide business brand. He emphasized the importance of change and being able to adapt to the times. Ferguson dishes out of selective topics that fans have been curious about, one of which included his dispute with Roy Keane. Overall, Alex Ferguson chronicles his time as manager of Manchester United for over 26 years.

5. Fever Pitch

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

Fever Pitch is written by Nick Hornby and was published in 1992. It is an autobiographical book that highlights the life of a soccer fan, and how it helped shape his life. Growing up, Hornby watched his parent's marriage fall apart, impacting him as a young child. Soon after, his father took him to an Arsenal game for the first time. As Hornby reflects on his life, he highlights how soccer was a way to escape from his parents' problems, his own relationship problems, and overall what to do with his life. Although the novel does not follow conventional chapters, he captures the essence of what it is like to be a soccer fan.

6. Brilliant Orange

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

Brilliant Orange is written by David Winner and was published in 2000. Winner chronicles the rise of Total Football in the Netherlands from three decades ago. Due to the Netherlands being a small country, they found an innovative way to play soccer. Instead of playing the traditional way, the team Ajax started playing based on position-switching. This way of Dutch football had become legendary, especially for its time in the 1960s, and let the Netherlands climb its way to the top of the soccer charts. David Winner captures the enthusiasm of the new way of playing the game.

7. Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life is written by Alex Bellos and was released in 2002. Brazilians closely identify with soccer and have made it an integral part of their culture. Alex Bellos traveled within Brazil and secured facts, interviews, drawings, maps, and even photographs to capture the importance of the sport. Futebol encapsulates more than just soccer, but also the culture and history of Brazil and how they both correlate to one another. Bellos highlights how soccer symbolizes youth, innovation, skill, and racial harmony in Brazil, thereby mirroring the country itself.

8. Tor! The Story of German Football

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

Tor! The Story of German Football is written by Uli Hesse and published in 2003. Hesse follows the history of soccer in Germany and how it battles the stereotypes it's been given. The book challenges stereotypes of German soccer being predictable or efficient and brings to light how different individuals shaped the game. Hesse depicts the relationship German people have with the game, and how despite not having a league until the 1960s, Germany became one of the top nations in the sport. Tor! explores the history of German football, and how it's entertaining and unpredictable.

9. The Damned Utd

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

The Damned Utd is written by David Peace and was published in 2006. The novel follows the life events of Brian Clough. He was a British football player and manager. He was the manager of the club, Leeds United during 1974 for only 44 days. At the time, Leeds United was rumored to be one of the most corrupt soccer organizations. Clough had replaced a long time rival, Don Revie for the manager position. The book is written from Clough's point of view and portrays the outspoken manager. David Peace characterizes Clough and his hunger for success which ultimately led to his failure.

10. The Ball is Round

Warning: (Possible Spoilers Ahead)

The Ball is Round is written by David Goldblatt and released in 2006. Goldblatt outlines the rise of soccer, and how it began as a folk ritual before becoming one of the most popular sports worldwide. He describes how soccer is much greater than just the game; he tells the story of players, managers, fans, owners, clubs, and national teams. Goldblatt highlights how soccer has played a role in the social and political history of our modern societies, and how soccer also been significant in the history of power, money, and markets. The Ball is Round not only captures the history of soccer but the excitement and joy that comes along with it.



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