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David Baddiel's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books David Baddiel recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of David Baddiel's favorite book recommendations of all time.

Steve Fist was the football hooligan's football hooligan. Between the years 1975 and 1991, not one day went by when he didn't beat the absolute living crap out of at least one person for being another team's fan. Bottle is a story about the extreme end of extreme violence, and a tale about the worst excesses of brutality, sadism, and senseless bloodshed. less
Recommended by David Baddiel, and 1 others.

David BaddielThis book is by my brother and is a parody of the hooligan’s memoir, which, as you probably don’t know, is a genre and there is a quite a big market for hooligans’ memoirs. (Source)

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The Story of the World Cup


Brian Glanville's dramatic history of the world's most famous football tournament has become the most authoritative guide to the World Cup. His classic, bestselling account is a vivid celebration of the great players and legendary matches in the competition from Uruguay in 1930 to Brazil in 2014 - as well as a bold attack on those who have mismanaged the 'beautiful game'. Fully revised and updated in anticipation of Russia's hosting of the event in 2018, this is the definitive book on the World Cup for football fans and novices alike. less
Recommended by David Baddiel, and 1 others.

David BaddielWe should have this in Five Books before the World Cup just because Brian Glanville is a very good sports writer. He is old now and a most esteemed journalist who always wears a big hat. He was born in 1931 and spent a lot of his career in Italy working for Corriere dello Sport. He first wrote this book in 1973 and it was originally called The Sunday Times History of the World Cup. It’s... (Source)

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Paul Canovilles story is one of extreme racist bigotry, shattering career-ending injury, a decline into drug abuse, battles against cancer, family tragedy and a determination to beat the odds. Canoville was Chelsea's first black first-team player, making his debut in 1982. But as he warmed up on the touchline, his own supporters began chanting 'We don't want the nigger!' The racist bile continued whenever he played, but within a year he had won over the terraces with his explosive pace and skill. Canoville fell out with the Chelsea board and moved to Reading in 1986, where injury suddenly... more
Recommended by David Baddiel, and 1 others.

David BaddielI met Paul Canoville at the FA Cup semi-final and, you know, heads up to him. He was the first black player at Chelsea [debuted in 1982]. He has ten kids by ten different women, which is also impressive. He’s 50 now and really looks very well, considering that racism, drugs and cancer almost destroyed him. I remember when a black player would get a lot of stick from the terraces, even from their... (Source)

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The memoir behind the documentary One Night in Turin, the inside story of a World Cup that changed our footballing nation forever

It was the World Cup semi-finals. On 4th July, 1990, in a stadium in Turin, Gazza cried, England lost and football changed forever.

This is the inside story of Italia '90 - we meet the players, the hooligans, the agents, the journalists, the fans. Writer Pete Davies was given nine months full access to the England squad and their manager Bobby Robson. One Night in Turin is his thrilling insider account of the summer when...
Recommended by Simon Kuper, David Baddiel, and 2 others.

Simon KuperIt’s gripping and it’s written in a very sort of populist, laddish style, but it works. The characters make it work, and the setting of Italy during the World Cup. It doesn’t matter that that World Cup is now history. (Source)

David BaddielThe cover is Gazza crying, which is now rather clichéd, but then it was an icon of the change in attitude towards football and men, and how emotional they can be about football. (Source)

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Fever Pitch

The Twentieth Anniversary Edition


Fever Pitch is Nick Hornby's million-copy-selling, award-winnning football classic

'A spanking 7-0 away win of a football book. . . inventive, honest, funny, heroic, charming' Independent

For many people watching football is mere entertainment, to some it's more like a ritual; but to others, its highs and lows provide a narrative to life itself.

But, for Nick Hornby, his devotion to the game has provided one...

David PapineauSporting fandom is very interesting philosophically: it’s a case of partiality, partisanship, valuing something when you can see that what you value isn’t going to be valued by other people. (Source)

Simon KuperNick Hornby doesn’t revel in, ‘Oh I’m such a football geek, isn’t that funny?’ He treats it as something suspect. (Source)

David BaddielIn about 1990 there was this sea change in the way people expressed themselves about football – more emotionally. Nick’s book sets the stall out for that. (Source)

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