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There was once a time, not so long ago, where our sporting heroes were treated with veneration. Players were players and their watchers were passive. Heroes lived on pedestals - they weren't public property. This book explores the many ways this dynamic has changed over the years. From the Barmy Army's loud but loyal support of the England cricket team to the jeers that greeted our returning footballers after the World Cup, the relationship between athlete and fan is now quite dramatically different. With his usual gentle wit and subtle intelligence, renowned sports writer Patrick Collins records one year spent observing a range of different sports and their many and varied fans. From a county cricket match at Canterbury - a place that resists change - to a corporate box at Wembley - watch them eat! see them drink! - from dog racing to swimming galas, this is a wonderful and humorous look at the world of sports - and the fans who make it all possible.
This second edition of Young Wisden is the perfect introduction to one of the most enjoyable world sports. Packed with hundreds of new colour photographs and illustrations, and completely updated to include the latest stats and stars, this vibrantly designed book really brings the game to life. The authors take a wry look at every aspect of the game that a new fan could wish to know about, including: the basics - from how to read the scorecard to a crash course in the language types of cricket - the Twenty20, one-day and first-class formats of the game at all levels, from beach cricket through to international Test cricket batsmen, bowlers, fielders, keepers and thinkers - what it takes to be great in each position and plenty of info on the best there has been the world of cricket - the Test nations, the great grounds, and the fans on tour history, humour and numbers - the playing greats, the grudge matches, the records, and villains and tricksters. Written for children, there are sure to be plenty of adults taking a look over their shoulder at this brilliant introduction to cricket. "Incomparable really, different planet stuff. It is comprehensive without being bewildering, colourful but not showy, confident but never esoteric. It is also superbly designed." The Wisden Cricketer "Packed with information ... this is perfect for the youngsters who prefer Pietersen to Rooney." The Times "The cricketing world's bible specially written for children." The Economist
Sunday Times Sports Book of the Year 2015 Sometimes you love a football team not only for their strengths, the splendour of their play and the appealing thrust of their character, but also the haunting possibility that their best hopes may never be fulfilled. This has rarely been demonstrated so vividly as by the Manchester City team who briefly, but unforgettably, illuminated the late sixties. And no one was more caught up in their struggles and their triumphs than James Lawton, a young sportswriter starting out on a career that would take him to all the great events of world sport. Yet still, 50 years after Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison began to shape the brilliant team, he counts watching their rise to glory as one of the most exciting times of his professional life. Francis Lee, Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee - these players loomed large over the game as they charged at the peaks of English football, and today evoke a period of the sport's history that seems distant and unknowable, hard to see except through the rose-tinted gloss of nostalgia. Lawton goes back to those heroes, interviewing all the main players and characters who are still alive, and vividly brings to life the story of that City team which with such wonderful panache, and freedom, won the first division title, the FA Cup, the League Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup between 1967 and 1970. This, though, is not just the story of one team, but a broader one of how sport can sometimes so perfectly mirror the exaltation and the despair of the real world, how it carries those who do it, and sometimes even those who merely see it, to moments that will claim a permanent place in their hearts.
A truly unique and fascinating look at the changing nature of masculinity and manliness, told through the lens of a series of Yorkshire County Cricket Club player portraits through the ages. George Hirst was a man of his time. His apocryphal quotation "We'll get 'em in singles"epitomises his no-fuss approach to all matters, and his distate for excess or ostentation. His stiff upper lip was a requisite part of his Edwardian manliness. Fast forward a century or so to Darren Gough's besequinned victory on Strictly Come Dancing or to Michael Vaughan's final teary press conference, and the different versions of what it means to be masculine are worlds apart. It is one of the oldest cliches in sports writing to say that sport mirrors life. And yet, in this instance, the world of Yorkshire cricket has so faithfully mirrored the outside world that the cliche is unavoidable. Yorkshire, sobrest of counties, has given us some remarkable characters over the years - Len Hutton, Geoffrey Boycott, and Fred Trueman to name just a few. Through portraits of these and other Yorkshire players, and the values that they shared with their contemporaries, this wonderfully original book maps the contours of a sexual revolution whose tremors are still being felt today.
The Shorter Wisden is a compelling distillation of what's best in its bigger brother. Available from all major eBook retailers, Wisden's digital version includes the influential Notes by the Editor, all the front-of-book articles, reviews, obituaries and all England's Tests from May 2010 up to and including their latest Ashes triumph.
My Favourite Cricketer features a selection of the finest writing taken from The Wisden Cricketer magazine. Top-quality sports writers and celebrated cricket fans fondly recall their most admired player past or present, and explain their choice of cricketing hero. The player selection ranges from the obvious choices - such as Trueman, Atherton, Gough, Tendulkar and Sobers - to the more intriguing or humble. Contributors including Gideon Haigh, Duncan Hamilton, Sid Waddell, Stephen Tompkinson and CMJ all present the case for their favourite cricketer and explain just what it is that makes them so special. Each piece is accompanied by stunning full-colour photography of the player in action. My Favourite Cricketer shows the breadth of cricket's enduring appeal and presents a record of the most cherished and larger-than-life characters.
The Shorter Wisden is a compelling distillation of what's best in its bigger brother – and the 2017 edition of Wisden is crammed, as ever, with the best writing in the game. Available from all major eBook retailers, Wisden's digital version includes the influential Notes by the Editor, all the front-of-book articles, including Matthew Engel looking back at 60 years of Test Match Special, Derek Pringle revealing the secrets of ball-tampering, and Gideon Haigh exploring the evolution of the six. There are also superb pieces by Rob Smyth, Vic Marks and Tanya Aldred, plus reviews, obituaries and all England's Tests from the 2016 season. In an age of snap judgments, Wisden's authority and integrity are more important than ever. Yet again this year's edition is truly a "must-have†? for every cricket fan. "There can't really be any doubt about the cricket book of the year, any year: it's obviously Wisden" Andrew Baker in the Daily Telegraph @WisdenAlmanack

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