Jenson Button, Jonny Bairstow and Judy Murray lead a prestigious shortlist for Best Autobiography of the Year Award.

May 10, 2018

The full list of nominations for the 16th Sports Book Awards was announced this morning at the Headquarters of Coutts in Central London.

Olympic Champions Dame Katherine Grainger & Christine Ohuruogu were present in their capacity as judges of the Sports Book Awards.

The education and sports charity, Right To Play was announced by ambassador Chemmy Alcott as Sports Book Awards charity of choice for 2018. Right To Play uses the power of sport and play to educate and empower two million of the world’s most vulnerable children in 16 countries across Africa, Asia and The Middle East. Right To Play is supported by a host of athlete ambassadors including Chemmy Alcott, Mark Cavendish, Mike Tindall, Elise Christie and Nathan Redmond.

Former F1 World Champion; Jenson Button, Yorkshire and England cricketer; Jonny Bairstow, and leading Tennis coach; Judy Murray lead the nominations for Best Autobiography of the Year Award. Inspirational Paralympian athlete Martine Wright, the world’s strongest footballer Adebayo “The Beast” Akinfenwa and 13-time TT racing world champion Michael Dunlop complete the outstanding list of nominees for the award that was won by Joey Barton in 2017.

Speaking at the lunchtime reception, Dame Katherine Grainger, Chair of the Judging Panel for the 2018 Autobiography of the Year Award said, “I’m delighted once again to be part of the Sports Book Awards and have enjoyed reading about some incredible stories. It’s another truly impressive list of nominees.”

 The shortlist for The Coutts Football Book of the Year Award, as judged by The Football Writers Association, pits past and present managerial greats against each other, with biographies of Sir Matt Busby, Bob Paisley and Mauricio Pochettino nominated for the award. Staying with the ‘managerial’ theme, Owen Amos’s book, recounting the fascinating story of lesser known globetrotting coach Stephen Constantine has also made the shortlist. The remaining books vying for the award are James Montague’s probe into footballs super rich owners, The Billionaire’s Club and Tom Van Hulsen’s Game Changers, which tells the story of the first two Dutch professional footballers in England, living legends among fans of Ipswich Town.

The shortlist for the 2018 Rugby Book of the Year Award, as judged by The Rugby Writers Association, is suitably hard-hitting, with England and Saracens destructive and outspoken number 8 Billy Vunipola leading the line. Former England rugby player and RFU Director Rob Andrew’s assessment of England Rugby is also shortlisted, along with biographies of two welsh stars: Lee Byrne and Carwyn James. An official History of Wasps rugby club and an impassioned account of the seminal 1971 Lions tour make up the rest of the shortlist.

The Cricket Book of the Year Award features previous Ashes winners Steve Harmison and Graeme Swann, as well as the recently retired legendary cricket journalist Henry “Blowers”

Blofeld. Other titles include the little-known story of Albert Trott, “The Man Who Cleared the Lord’s Pavilion”, as well as John Lazenby’s account of the longest test match ever played and Christian Ryan’s book on Patrick Eagar’s incredible photographs from the Ashes series of 1975.

Fellow Germans and Gunners, Mesut Özil and Jens Lehmann will battle it out for the International Autobiography category. However, they will face stiff opposition from retired flat racing champion Kieren Fallon, outspoken tennis legend and pundit John McEnroe, Malaysian millionaire and QPR owner Tony Fernandes, and South African cricket legend turned match referee, Mike Procter.

The 2018 Sports Book Awards is now in its 16th year and will, as always, feature a host of brilliant sportsmen & sportswomen, writers & journalists. The awards will be presented at a star-studded ceremony, which takes place at Lord’s Cricket Ground on the evening of 7th June.

After the individual category winners have been announced on 7th June, each winner will be promoted in a media and retail campaign in the run-up to Father’s Day on June 17th, with an online public vote determining the Overall Sports Book of the Year.

The shortlist in full:

Book title Author Publisher
Autobiography of the Year
Life to the Limit Jenson Button Blink
The Beast Adebayo Akinfenwa Headline
A Clear Blue Sky Jonny Bairstow & Duncan Hamilton HarperCollins
Road Racer Michael Dunlop Michael O’Mara
Knowing the Score Judy Murray Chatto & Windus
Unbroken Martine Wright Simon & Schuster
The Times Biography of the Year
Arnie: The Life of Arnold Palmer Tom Callahan Arena
The Prince of Centre-Halves: The Life of Tommy ‘T.G.’ Jones Rob Sawyer deCoubertin Books
Fearless Freddie, The Life and Times of Freddie Mills Chris Evans Pitch Publishing
Anquetil, Alone Paul Fournel Pursuit
Ali: A Life Jonathan Eig Simon & Schuster
Different Class: The Story of Laurie Cunningham Dermot Kavanagh Unbound
The Heartaches Cricket Book of the Year
Edging Towards Darkness: The Story of the Last Timeless John Lazenby Wisden
Over and Out Henry Blofeld Hodder & Stoughton
The Ashes: It’s All About the Urn Graeme Swann Hodder & Stoughton
Feeling is the Thing that Happens in 1000th of a Second: A Season of Cricket Photographer Patrick Eagar Christian Ryan Riverrun
Speed Demons Steve Harmison with John Woodhouse Trinity Mirror
Over and Out, Albert Trott: Steve Neal Pitch Publishing
Cycling Book of the Year
Three Weeks, Eight Seconds: The Epic Tour de France of 1989 Nigel Tassell Polaris Publishing & Arena Sport
Butcher, Blacksmith, Acrobat, Sweep: The Tale of the First Tour de France Peter Cossins Yellow Jersey
Higher Calling: Road Cycling’s Obsession with the Mountains Max Leonard Yellow Jersey
Anquetil, Alone Paul Fournel Pursuit
Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire Andy McGrath Rapha
Ventoux Jeremy Whittle Simon & Schuster
Coutts Football Book of the Year
The Billionaires Club James Montague Bloomsbury
Quiet Genius: Bob Paisley, British Football’s Greatest Manager Ian Herbert Bloomsbury
From Delhi to the Den: The Story of Football’s Most Travelled Manager Stephen Constantine with Owen Amos deCoubertin Books
Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs Guillem Balague Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Game Changers – The Remarkable Story of Dutch Masters Arnold Mühren and Frans Thijssen Tom van Hulsen, translated by Jolanda van Boeijen Portman Road Producties
Sir Matt Busby: The Definitive Biography Paddy Barclay Ebury
Right To Play General Outstanding Sports Book of the Year
Dog Rounds Elliot Worsell Blink
Above Head Height James Brown Quercus
Four Mums in a Boat Janette Benaddi, Helen Butters, Niki Doeg, Frances Davies HarperCollinsHQ
The Push Tommy Caldwell Michael Joseph
Underdogs Tony Hannan Transworld Publishers
Centaur Declan Murphy & Ami Rao Transworld Publishers
Thomson Reuters Illustrated Book of the Year
The Redmen: The Tobacco Years George Rowlands deCoubertin Books
Goal! Michael Donald Octopus
Remarkable Golf Courses Iain T. Spragg Pavilion Books
The History Makers Sarah Juggins and Richard Stainthorpe Pitch Publishing
The Darkness Beckons Martyn Farr Vertebrate Publishing
A Portrait of Wimbledon AELTC Vision sports
Cross International Autobiography of the Year
The Madness is on the Pitch Jens Lehmann with Christof Siemes, translated by Ceylan Hussein deCoubertin Books
Gunning for Greatness: My Life Mesut Özil Hodder & Stoughton
But Seriously John McEnroe Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Caught in the Middle Mike Procter & Lungani Zama Pitch Publishing
Flying High: My Story From AirAsia to QPR Tony Fernandes Portfolio
Form Kieren Fallon Simon & Schuster
 The London Sporting Club Rugby Book of the Year
When Lions Roared: The Lions, the All Blacks and the Legendary Tour of 1971 Tom English & Peter Burns Polaris
Wrecking Ball: A Big Lad From a Small Island – My Story So Far Billy Vunipola Headline
Rugby: The Game of My Life Rob Andrew Hodder & Stoughton
Wasps – The Official History Barney Burnham & Marcus Wiliams Vision Sports Publishing
The Byrne Identity Lee Byrne with Richard Morgan Y Lolfa
Into the Wind: The Life of Carwyn James Alun Gibbard Y Lolfa




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