Some 30 years have passed since, under the title of Fuji Football Encyclopedia, the first of a classic series of Polish football yearbooks. That year also saw the founding of publishing house GIA by Andrzej Gowarzewski. More than 100 statistical volumes followed, dealing in forensic statistical detail with not only Polish domestic but World Cups and European Championships. Gowarzewski died just over a year ago but his publishing house continues and this latest Polish football annual is just one of the latest gems. Two other ‘coffee-table’ style volumes mark the 65th anniversary of the initial building of the iconic Slaski Stadium near Chorzow and Katowice: 100 Meczow na Stadione Slaskim covers the most important 100 football matches in the stadium while 100 Wydarzen na 65-Lecie Sladionu Slaskiego covers its multisports history – including, notably, the great era of speedway world championships.

Gerry Cranham’s Sporting Life

** Special mention for the Christmas present book trade for sports fans is This Sporting Life which brings together the work of sports photographer Gerry Cranham.

Cranham was a both a master and pioneer of photography and This Sporting Life draws on his images of the 1960s and 1970s, two seismic decades of sport.

Cranham covered this period in forensic detail and with incredible vigour, capturing the humanity as well as the thrill of sport while shooting everything from Highland games to Olympics. 

The book is compiled by Mark Leech, curator of the Cranham Collection and Doug Cheeseman, graphic designer. 

Sporting greats featured include: Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, James Hunt, Olga Korbut, Bobby Moore, Gary Sobers, Tessa Sanderson and Red Rum. Era-defining events covered include: the 1966 World Cup, the 1972 Olympic Games, the Boat Race, the Le Mans 24 Hours, Wimbledon tennis, the Ryder Cup, the Grand National and Grasmere Country Sports. The list could go on.

During his career Cranham shot for the Observer, the Sunday TimesSports Illustrated, and Time Life and in 1971 his work was profiled in a solo exhibition at the V&A Museum, in London. This Sporting Life is the first comprehensive collection of Gerry Cranham’s work and is the definitive volume of his amazing career.

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** Manchester City – 50 Memorable Matches is Stuart Brodkin’s personal account of watching City from 1956 to the present but is more than an eye-witness record. It’s a roller-caster ride with the lowest of the lows and the highests of the highs along the way. From Cup Final triumphs via the Mercer and Allison regime to the latter years when the Abu Dhabi project made City the team of the decade in the UK.

Published by G2 Entertainment, £12.99.

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One of the most eagerly anticipated events on the sporting calendar, the 16th edition of the UEFA European Championship will take place between 11 June and 11 July 2021, at 12 venues across 12 countries, with 24 teams competing for the most prestigious international prize in the European game. UEFA EURO 2020: The Official Book, written by Keir Radnedge and available widely in translated editions, covers every aspect of the tournament, from the host cities and nations to full profiles of all 24 qualified teams, along with features on the star players due to light up the competition and magic moments from EUROs past. Packed full of facts and statistics, and beautifully illustrated with a superb collection of photographs, UEFA EURO 2020: The Official Book is suitable for fans of all ages and is the perfect accompaniment to the year’s biggest football event.

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** World Football Records 2021 (FIFA Official Licensed Publication) offers a unique presentation of facts and stats from the world of international football. Focusing simultaneously on all the major world and continental tournaments, national team records, exceptional matches and the stars who made it all possible, this exhaustively researched volume tells the stories of these key moments and some of the tales behind them.

With updated stats and facts for all recent major tournaments, awards and international teams plus the latest record-breaking achievements of more than 35 featured nations from around the world, including a sidebar with key stats, as well as updates and records for most of the other 170+ FIFA members.

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Bobby Robson: The Ultimate Patriot

—- deCoubertin Books is publishing Bob Harris’s biography of legendary football manager Sir Bobby Robson.

Harris, one of Britain’s best known sportswriters, was for more than 30 years Robson’s friend, confidante and collaborator. He followed the manager’s career from Ipswich Town’s Portman Road to Barcelona’s Nou Camp, via successful spells with PSV, Porto, Sporting Lisbon, Newcastle and, of course, England – who Robson unforgettably took to within a penalty kick of the 1990 World Cup final.

As a player Robson had had a distinguished career with Fulham and West Bromwich Albion and was part of the England squads that competed at the World Cup in 1958 and 1962.

Harris travelled the world with Robson and was provided with an insider’s view to his incredible life and times. One of the best-known reporters of his generation, he accumulated hundreds of hours of recordings with Robson in the process of ghostwriting six books published under Robson’s name, as well as reporting on hundreds of games for club and country.

Now, a decade after Robson’s death, Harris has sat down to write about their friendship, utilising this incredible body of material and his own memories of the great man.

Part memoir, part biography, this is an extraordinary and fondly recalled portrait of one of footballs most loved and iconic individuals.

Bob Harris said: ‘Of all the books I have written with some of the world’s leading sportsmen, this was the easiest, the quickest and, I have to say, the most enjoyable.

‘It brought back so many memorable moments I was fortunate enough to share with this iconic figure; most of them good but also with incidents of great sadness.

‘Bobby Robson was a special person who touched so many people with his charm and personality and, as he matured, he became more loved and respected as he earned his place in the hearts of football followers around the globe. I miss his company enormously ten years on.’

Bobby Robson: The Ultimate Patriot by Bob Harris is published by deCoubertin Books, priced £20. The book also includes a foreword by Gary Lineker.

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Hendo: The Jordan Henderson Story 

— Timely hagiography, from Rob Mason, of Liverpool’s captain at the peak of his career with club and country. Good, warming lockdown reading for any Reds fan (G2 Entertainment, £9.99).

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West Ham United Quiz Book

—- Are you an Irons’ brain-box? If so then put that claim to the test with this second volume of the official West Ham United quiz book. There are 100 categories with 1000 questions on all aspects of the claret and blue. Compiled by life-long Irons fan Peter Rogers. £10.

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Greavsie

 —- Greavsie, a film about the Spurs and England legend tied in with his 80th birthday. The story begins in the 1950s with Jimmy a target for every major club in London and opts for Chelsea , the 1955 league champions. He makes the breakthrough and becomes a teenage superstar, scoring 124 league goals in 157 games. Frustrated by Chelsea’s inconsistency and the maximum wage, Jimmy moves to AC Milan, but a disappointing spell in Italy sees Greaves head to Spurs for a club-record fee. The forward is a major success, scoring 21 goals in 22 games before the end of the season and between 1962 and 1965, Greaves scores 101 league goals in 123 games.

www.g2books.co.uk

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The Best of Liverpool

— An updated revised version of a sharp collector’s volume first published in 2007. It’s an A-Z of Anfield heroes down the years from Alexander-Arnold to Yeats and a handful of other issues making up the full alphabet to take it all the way to the last letter in the alphabet. Includes a wide range of historical pictures rather than relying merely on ‘easy’ modern era sports photography. G2Books (£9.99)

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—- Andrzej Gowarzewski’s remarkable statistical series has produced another three magnificent football books.

Puchar Polski relates the history of the Polish cup. The text is – of course – in Polish but the statistical foundation (finals, clubs, players, goals, records etc) is clear to follow.

Next comes Rocznik 2019 which is the football yearbook, a sort of ‘Polish Rothmans.’

Both of these are illustrated and the format will be familiar to Gowarzewski admirers.

However, a magnificent expanded volume is the tale of the history of the Polish game, a unique document.

More information from: wydawnictwo GIA, PO Box 2772, 40-357 Katowice 14.

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—- The Best of Manchester United, from G2Books (£9.99) is an updated revised version of a sharp collector’s volume first published in 2007. It’s an A-Z of Old Trafford heroes down the years from Aston to Whiteside and a handful of other issues included to take it all the way to the last letter in the alphabet. Includes a wide range of historical pictures rather than relying merely on ‘easy’ modern era sports photography.

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