Back of the net: Our top XI football reads
Did you hear the English team have a pop-up library in their hotel? It seems the English FA are hoping to foster a winning mentality amongst the team through reading. Our Irish team assistant manager Roy Keane features in the library. As well as reading Roy's words of wisdom, the team can consult the memoirs of other successful sporting figures such as Alex Ferguson, Swedish Zlatan Ibrahimovic and F1 champion Lewis Hamilton. The library also includes books by and about inspirational leaders such as Nelson Mandela, civil rights champion Malcolm X and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Here are our top XI football reads
Only a Game by Eamon Dunphy. Love him or hate him this intelligent insight into football and footballers is a great read. Written in diary format, it charts his experience playing with Milwall during the '73-'74 season. This classic of the genre displays a candour and depth which can be lacking in footballer memoirs.
Full Time: the secret life of Tony Cascarino by Tony Cascarino with Paul Kimmage and Back from the Brink: Paul McGrath with Vincent Hogan. The autobiographies of Irish legends Paul McGrath and Tony Cascarino also stand head and shoulders above what is a cluttered field. These honest accounts focus on their personal lives and the demons they faced, as well as their football careers, and are richer for it.
Brilliant Orange by David Winner is about the growth of "Total Football" in the 70s and how it's an expression of Dutch culture. Winner charts the influence of Rinus Michels and key exponent Johan Cryuff in its development and looks at how one of the world's most distinctive and sophisticated styles of football fits into Dutch national spirit.
The Miracle of Castel di Sangro by Joe McGinniss. American journalist McGinniss looks at how a football team from small town Italy rose to the second division against the odds. You learn about life in the town, the lives of the players and the owner, who has a shady past (Naples anyone?). This book provides insights into colourful world of Italian football and the human stories of the people involved.
Inverting the Pyramid by Jonathan Wilson. This technical book looks at the history of football tactics from its nascence to the modern game. Spanning the globe, Wilson looks at how different countries took the game and made it their own, from Dutch "Total Football" to Italian defensive style. This is a good one for anyone involved in coaching or if you are looking to deepen your knowledge of the game.
Fear and Loathing in La Liga by Sid Lowe charts the fascinating history of the arch rivalry between Spain's biggest teams, F.C. Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby. In this autobiographical book Hornby examines the influence that football, and in particular Arsenal FC has had in his life. Originally published in 1992, it was Hornby's first book. See also Fever Pitch film, an adaptation of the book set in '88-'89 season when Arsenal won the league scoring with the last kick of the match, in the last game of the season, and the season in which the Hillsborough tragedy took place.
In Living on the Volcano, Michael Calvin spends time following football managers who reveal to him the highs and lows of managing beautiful game.
The Special One: the dark side of Jose Mourinho by Diego Torres. Originally written in Spanish by investigative journalist Torres as a portrait of Mourinho during his time in Real Madrid, this book looks beyond the charm and success of "The Special One".