The 10 Greatest Football Books, part 2

0224072676Here's the second part of our Ten Greatest Football Books list. You can read part one here.

My Father and Other Working-class Football Heroes, by Gary Imlach
Like Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch, My Father… is more of a memoir than a straight football book. Imlach, whose face you may know from his time presenting TV coverage of American football and the Tour de France, tells the story of his complex relationship with his footballer father, Stewart Imlach, a talented winger who represented Scotland at the 1958 World Cup. When Imlach Snr died, the author realised that he never really knew his father as a man, but merely in terms of his achievements on a football pitch. This touching book won William Hill's 2005 Sports Book of the Year and deservedly so – like most good sports books, this is about so much more than a game. BUY IT

Futebol_1 Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life, by Alex Bellos
What does football mean to Brazil and vice versa? Many of the answers can be found in Bellos's rigorous study of the beautiful game and its inextricable relationship with the mythical yellow shirt. Although there is a whiff of the dissertation about Futebol… Bellos is a good enough writer to ensure that the book's tone reflects the gloriously colourful subject matter – if this is a history lesson, then you won't want the end-of-lesson bell to ring. BUY IT

02923279_b003 Stamping Grounds: Liechtenstein's Quest for the World Cup, by Charlie Connelly
Football is a great subject for a standard travelogue, Liechtenstein less so, you might think. However, put the two together and Bang! you have literary dynamite, or something like that. Stamping Grounds is the classic tale of the underdog. It follows Liechtenstein's attempt to qualify for the 2002 World Cup; Connelly travels to all of its qualifying matches… hang on, this isn't really selling it, is it? Suffice it to say, this is a very funny, well-written book about a very quirky little country. Perfect holiday reading material. BUY IT

7135849_2 The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Football, by David Goldblatt
If Alan Partridge were reviewing this book, he'd say something along the lines of 'Oof, big book isn't it? Wouldn't want to drop it on my foot!' And it is a big, big book – almost 1,000 pages long. It covers the brilliant careers of Pele, Maradona and Best, the great teams in history (Brazil 1970, Hungary in the 1950s) and generally aims to explain how football has developed since its conception into a global monster. That Goldblatt can take this bewildering mass of material and transform it into a coherent whole is admirable. Every football fan should find the time to read it; 990 pages and you'll still want more. BUY IT

000716291x02lzzzzzzz Soccer in Sun and Shadow, by Eduardo Galeano
The lyrical title says it all. This is a book written from the heart and as such it's infused with a joyful admiration of the game. Like the songs of The Beatles, we know the major football histories and characters so well that it's difficult to find new ways to describe them. But Galeano, a distinguished Uruguayan journalist and author, succeeds. The English translation captures beautifully the poetry and passion in Galeano's writing. BUY IT

So what did we miss? If you feel that we got it wrong or left out one of your favourites, let us know…

March 27, 2007 in Gear & games, Lists | Permalink | Comments (8)

Shopping Basket: adidas TUNiT 2 football boots

White_f50_s02These new TUNiTs are the most advanced footy boots adidas have ever made. They're fully customisable, depending on which surface you're playing on, and their dazzling whiteness will make you look a bit like Cristiano Ronaldo, if not play like him. The boot is now completely seamless which allows for a better touch, while the velcro cover for the laces gives a greater sweet-spot for striking the ball. At least that's the theory. Available from April 07.

March 22, 2007 in Gear & games | Permalink | Comments (0)

Name all 72 Football League clubs in 10 minutes

Punch_computerIf there are any Pies readers out there who are not quite suicidal just yet, be prepared for the worst. This game is so infuriating its likely to make you want to kill yourself. You have to name all 72 Football League clubs in 10 minutes. If you name them all then you are a genius. If you are ready to do serious damage to your computer monitor because you can't think of any more teams then be warned that finding out the obvious ones you forgot at the end will not improve your mood! Click here to have a go. [Via FourFourTwo]

March 21, 2007 in Gear & games | Permalink | Comments (4)

The 10 Greatest Football Books, part 1

Why waste your money on dull, cliché-ridden, ghost-written autobiographies by the likes of Fat Frank & Stevie G, when you could invest in a proper football book. Like this brilliant lot (in no particular order):

Marc Fever Pitch, by Nick Hornby
I'm no Arsenal fan, but I still remember the first time I read Hornby's brilliant and powerful memoir. Fever Pitch is as much about the author as it is Arsenal, and that's exactly why it manages to get to the heart of what it is to be a dedicated football fan – specifically the blind loyalty, encompassing both triumph and despair. The wonderfully poignant passage about Gus Caesar's rise and fall, in particular, sticks in my mind to this day. A stone-cold modern masterpiece. BUY IT

0224059548 All Played Out: The Full Story of Italia '90, by Pete Davies
The perfect tribute to a truly memorable World Cup – Gazza's tears, Platty's remarkable swivel finish against the Belgians, Bobby Robson's smart grey suit, Gary Lineker's awesomely un-English tan, the typically ruthless Germans doing us on penalties. All Played Out drips with nostalgia; you can almost hear New Order's World In Motion playing on a loop as you read it. BUY IT

0316557366 The Miracle of Castel Di Sangro, by Joe McGinniss
Engrossing account of a small Italian town's first ever season in Serie B, with more twists than your average soap opera. What makes the book special is the way the community and team adopts McGinniss as one of their own. The (American) author occasionally gets carried away and starts to think he knows more about the game than he does (he even offers tactical advice to Castel's manager!), but generally this is a cracking read. BUY IT

The_greatest_footballer The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw: The Robin Friday Story, by Paul McGuigan and Paolo Hewitt
Friday, Reading FC's greatest cult hero (he played for them between 1973-1976), was the archetypal flawed genius. He probably had enough talent to play for England, but he loved a drink and… you already know the rest (see G. Best). Friday was once sent off for kicking Mark Lawrenson in the face. Friday then took a protest shit in Lawrenson's kit bag. A classic tale of a colourful character who wasn't prepared to play by the rules and ended up paying th price. BUY IT

Url Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football, by David Winner
Everything you need to know about the country that gave the world total football and the genius of Johan Cruyff. Winner really gets to the heart of Dutch football culture and its neurotic, intellectualising mentality and discovers how it contributes to the nation's consciousness as a whole. Fascinating stuff. BUY IT

Check back next Tuesday to read part two of this list

March 20, 2007 in Gear & games, Lists | Permalink | Comments (4)

Moritz Volz 'Danger Volz' t-shirt from TShirts365

VolzyA Pies legend we haven't heard much about from a while is Mr Moritz Volz. Well, the eccentric Fulham utility-man is back on our radars thanks to this t-shirt from TShirt365. This Danger Volz t-shirt is available for £14.99 by clicking here. Volzy's excellent website is always worth a visit, particularly to keep up to date with the life of Moritz through his diary. [Rob Parker]

March 15, 2007 in Fulham, Gear & games | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sticker Sunday

Merlin_10 After that pulsating FA Cup tie between Chelsea and Tottenham, it's time to really get the blood pumping. Take a deep breath and click below. It's Sticker Sunday! Hooray!

Stephen Ireland (Manchester City) 20-year-old midfielder with the hairline of a 50-year-old!
Alan Quinn (Sheffield United) Blades' former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder.
Antoine Sibierski (Newcastle United) Surprise new Geordie legend.
Andy Johnson (Everton) Looks like one of those cartoons where the head looks the same both ways up!
Carlo Cudicini (Chelsea) Bench-warming swapsie.
MOST WANTED: Olof Mellberg (Aston Villa) Wannabe Viking.

Paul Stalteri (Tottenham Hotspur) Canada's greatest export since Celine Dion...
Svetoslav Todorov (Wigan Athletic) Furry-chinned forward.
Kevin Davies (Bolton Wanderers) Trotters' beast of a target-man.
Carlos Tevez (West Ham) Argentine Quasimodo lookalike.
Javier Mascherano (West Ham) Tevez and Mascherano as part of the same deal. Who would have thought it? Shame he's a swap.
Manchester United team photo You sense your attention is supposed to be drawn to the huge Nike tick rather than the tiny footballers.

Nicolas Anelka (Bolton Wanderers) My second Bolton striker of the day.
Theo Walcott (Arsenal) Just like England's World Cup squad, I didn't need Walcott. Swap.
Darius Vassell (Manchester City) Remember when he used to play for England?
Danny Webber (Sheffield United) Another swap. Bad pack for me.
Tommy Smith (Watford) One-goal Hornets striker.
Manchester United kits Two more Nike ticks for my collection.

Swap Shop:
Johan Djourou
Yossi Benayoun Most Wanted
Tomas Rosicky
Carlton Cole
Louis Saha
Dimitar Berbatov
Frank Lampard Star Player
Frank Lampard Most Wanted
Damien Duff
Carlo Cudicini
Javier Mascherano
Theo Walcott
Danny Webber

More Sticker Sunday action next week. [Rob Parker]

March 11, 2007 in Gear & games | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dress up David Beckham (you've got to be able to do a better job than him!)

Beckham_5 Who said celebrity and fashion was now a bigger part of football than the game itself? Well, Stardoll is giving you the chance to play doll with your favourite footballers by virtually dressing them. David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Freddie Ljungberg are all available for the Stardoll treatment. A wide wardrobe is available so you can dress your footballer for any occasion! Some of Pies favourite efforts are after the jump.

Dress up David Beckham (you've got to be able to do a better job than him!) continued

(L-R Fergie's Nightmare; Camp Freddie, Jimmy Savile-dinho, Ball Control)


[Via The Offside, Rob Parker]

March 7, 2007 in Funny old game, Gear & games | Permalink | Comments (1)

Craig Bellamy School of Golf t-shirt

275783l_2 The wags at T-shirts365 don't miss a trick. In this case, the trick is producing a t-shirt called 'The Craig Bellamy School of Golf', just days after Bellamy showed the world his swing. Ouch, it's zeitgeisty! Available in green, red or white, for the princely sum of £14.99. BUY IT

March 6, 2007 in Funny old game, Gear & games, Liverpool | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sticker Sunday


Get your weekly installment of sticker fun courtesy of your favourite football blog after the jump.

Mark Viduka (Middlesbrough) Big-boned musical muse.
Ledley King (Tottenham) Constantly crocked club captain.
Eric Djemba-Djemba (Aston Villa) Flop
Brian McBride (Fulham) USA striker. Looks like his skin-tight shirt was painted on.
Wigan badge I admit it had me baffled for a couple of seconds before I realised it was Wigan.
STAR PLAYER: Emile Heskey (Wigan) Wigan double.

Paul Gallagher (Blackburn) Young Scot with a swirly hairdo.
Luke Moore (Aston Villa) Baby-faced forward.
Steve Harper (Newcastle) Magpies bench-warmer.
Albert Luque (Newcastle) Probably his most telling contribution of the season.
Amdy Faye (Charlton) Senaglese with a fancy autograph.
Arsenal kits The kits are a bit of a funny shape, but these are stuck in to perfection. Proud of my work!

Scott Carson (Charlton) 21-year-old keeper who looks about 40.
Damien Duff (Newcastle) First swap of the day.
Sheffield United badge Blades shiny.
Jonathan Spector (West Ham) USA defender with a toddler's haircut.
Claus Jensen (Fulham) Terrible sticking. He's got a big crease down his head now.
MOST WANTED: Sol Campbell (Portsmouth) Back on form centre-back.
Mantax the Ray More strange Lego sea creatures.

Swap Shop:
Johan Djourou
Yossi Benayoun Most Wanted
Tomas Rosicky
Carlton Cole
Louis Saha
Dimitar Berbatov
Frank Lampard Star Player
Frank Lampard Most Wanted
Damien Duff

More Sticker Sunday action next week. [Rob Parker]

March 4, 2007 in Gear & games | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sticker Sunday

Merlin_8It's that time again: Who Ate All The Pies' Sticker Sunday, it's by far the stickiest Sunday around. If you are collecting the Merlin's FA Premier League stickers, check out our Swap Shop to see if there's anything you fancy!

George McCartney (West Ham) Has a Kirk Douglas chin arse.
Dave Kitson (Reading) Spiky haired ginger striker.
Paul Robinson (Tottenham) Concerned looking England keeper.
Steve Kabba (Sheffield United) Looks like a red and white stripy bouncer.
Djimi Traore (Charlton Athletic) Own goal scorer extaordianaire.
Tottenham team photo So small it could be anyone, but I'll take Merlin's word that this is the Tottenham squad!

Khalid Boulahrouz (Chelsea) "You can take my photo, but then I'll have to kill you!"
Jermaine Pennant (Liverpool) The class clown's school photo.
Shay Given (Newcastle) The man with the toughest job in the Prem.
Emmerson Boyce (Wigan) That's either a very strange 'o' or he's copyrighted his signature.
Manchester United badge Ooh! Table-topping silver.
MOST WANTED: Frank Lampard (Chelsea) First swap of the day.

Aaron Mokoena (Blackburn) South African bit-part player.
Leroy Lita (Reading) Young striker with a slight conehead.
Peter Whittingham (Aston Villa) Peter Crouch's geeky little brother!
Lloyd Doyley (Watford) Vacant looking defender.
Danny Landzaat (Wigan) Dutch holding player.
STAR MAN: Frank Lampard (Chelsea) Second Frank Lampard. Why me?!
Carapar the Crab (Barraki Creeps From The Deep) Another non-football sticker courtesy of Lego.

Swap Shop:
Johan Djourou
Yossi Benayoun Most Wanted
Tomas Rosicky
Carlton Cole
Louis Saha
Dimitar Berbatov
Frank Lampard Star Player
Frank Lampard Most Wanted

More Sticker Sunday action next week. [Rob Parker]

February 25, 2007 in Gear & games | Permalink | Comments (0)