The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2020 Shortlist Announced

June 17, 2020

Sports Book Awards Shortlist 2020

Eddie Jones and Warren Gatland renew an old rivalry at The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2020

Sporting Legends and Leaders dominate 2020 Shortlist as nominations are announced

England Rugby coach Eddie Jones’s My Life and Rugby and recently re-appointed British Lions coach Warren Gatland’s Pride and Passion will renew an old rivalry as they compete for the Rugby Writers Book of the Year at The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2020. Also shortlisted is David Beresford’s beautiful book Brothers in Arms, an account of Rugby, life & friendship in France, up against Welsh Legend Sam Warburton’s personal exploration, Open Side. In a strong year for Wales, Ross Harries tremendous Behind the Dragon delivers an excellent history of Welsh Rugby. Enigmatic Welsh international Glenn Webbe’s entertaining autobiography, Glenn Webbe: The Gloves are Off, concludes the shortlist.

Eddie Jones reflected on his nomination, commenting:
“I am so pleased that our book has been nominated for Rugby Book of the Year at The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2020. I’d like to wish all the other books in the shortlist the best, and whoever wins, I’m sure it will be a just result. Thank you for the nomination.”

The Football Book of the Year award, sponsored for the first time by CLOC Printing, features six outstanding books, selected once again by the Football Writers’ Association. Their final list includes David Tossell’s Natural, a revealing and comprehensive biography of one of England’s most loved footballers, Jimmy Greaves. Tobias Jones delves into a facet of Italian football’s subculture, examining the sinister side of fandom in Ultra. Daniel Fieldsend’s Locãl looks at the uniquely intertwined relationship between Liverpudlians and their city and football club. Jonathan Wilson’s excellently researched assessment of how Hungarian football in the 1950s shaped the modern game, The Names Heard Long Ago, is up against Leo Moynihan’s The Three Kings, tracking the life and careers of three of the greatest ever managers, Stein, Shankly & Busby, undoubtedly all architects of the modern game. Steven Scragg pays homage to the European Cup Winners’ Cup with A Tournament Frozen In Time, charting its distinct history through the unique, eccentric stories it created.

The Telegraph Sports Autobiography of the Year shortlist was revealed in May, and features a diverse group of sports people, including world heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, World Cup-winning cricket hero Ben Stokes and England’s leading all time wicket taker James Anderson, England footballing-legend Eniola Aluko, the extrovert racing driver Jason Plato, as well as former Liverpool and England footballers Michael Owen and Emile Heskey.

Ben Stokes, who renews his playing career with England in July said:
“I’m delighted to be shortlisted for the Sports Autobiography of the Year Award at The Telegraph Sports Book of the Year Awards 2020, and in such fantastic company.”

The Children’s Sports Book of the Year award, in partnership with our inspirational charity of choice National Literacy Trust, reflects the growing strength and importance of the genre. BBC broadcaster, Clare Balding’s The Racehorse Who Learned to Dance, illustrated by Tony Ross, leads a group that includes Olympic Cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy and Joanna Nadins’ Flying Fergus 10:The Photo Finish, Illustrated by Clare Elsom, and former England women’s football captain Casey Stoney’s, Changing the Game. Paralympian Gold medal winner Danielle Brown and nine year old Nathan Kai’s Be Your Best Self features alongside David Barrow’s The Big Race. Matt Oldfield, author of the popular Ultimate Football Heroes series, features with Unbelievable Football, with Alex Bellos & Ben Lyttle’s popular series, Football School Season 4, illustrated by Spike Gerrell completing the inaugural shortlist.

Clare Balding, supporter of the National Literacy Trust and nominated for the Children’s Sports Book of the Year reflected:
“It’s great to use the power of sport to connect with kids all over the world. Some reluctant readers will pick up a book for the first time because it’s about football or horses or bikes and that’s their passion. I’m pleased to see The Telegraph Sports Book Awards team up with the National Literary Trust to recognise this with a category for children’s books. I’m very proud to be on the list of nominees, along with some outstanding titles which share the joy of sport and the many ways in which it can help us through life.”

The Cricket Book of the Year, sponsored by Sir Tim Rice and the Heartaches, features England’s all-time leading run scorer, Sir Alastair Cook’s The Autobiography, pitted against Duncan Hamilton’s fascinating biography of Neville Cardus, The Great Romantic. The hard-hitting England batsman Robin Smith’s, The Judge, competes alongside the founder of the Professional Cricketers’ Association Fred Rumsey, Sense of Humour, Sense of Justice. Finally, Zimbabwe wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu’s, Keeper of Faith, and Tim Wigmore and Freddie Wilde’s account of the T20 revolution, Cricket 2.0 complete the shortlist.

The Pinsent Masons International Autobiography category includes Manchester United and Spanish International Juan Mata’s story in Suddenly A Footballer – My Story, alongside Casey Legler’s God Speed, an emotional journey charting her life as an Olympic swimmer. Former All Black captain Kieran Read’s Straight 8 appears alongside former Gloucestershire cricketing all-rounder Franklyn Stephenson’s My Song Shall Be Cricket and Arsenal and German defender Per Mertesacker’s Big Friendly German. 

This year’s General Outstanding Sports Writing award is arguably the strongest list compiled to date, with each book transcending sport; uncovering incredible, revealing and heart-breaking stories in equal measure. Rick Reilly uses the stories of Donald Trump’s golf partners to help explain the controversial President in Commander in Cheat. Olympic rower Annie Vernon’s Mind Games, an exploration of the psychology of elite sport, goes up against Mind Game, Michael Calvin & Thomas Bjorns’ investigation into the mind of the professional golfer. Donald McRae’s inspirational story In Sunshine or in Shadow assesses boxing’s role in healing the sectarian divide during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Andy Woodward shares his harrowing story in Position of Trust, a trust shattered at the hands of convicted sex offender Barry Bennell, and Jonathan Rice tells the fascinating story behind a painting of Kent v Lancashire in 1906 with Stories of Cricket’s Finest Painting.

The Biography shortlist covers a variety of sports, starting with Mark Synnott’s account of Alex Honnold’s adventurous life, including his attempt at The Impossible Climb, a free solo ascent of El Capitan. Unbreakable by Richard Askwith is a story of endurance and defiance, focusing on the inspirational life of a Czech countess and her perilous journey to taking part in a prestigious steeplechase. Lofty by Matt Clough assesses the career and influence of England footballing legend Nat Lofthouse, David Tossell reveals the trials and tribulations of another England football star in Natural, his biography of Jimmy Greaves, and Monarch of the Green, Stephen Proctor’s excellently researched history of golf’s first superstar, Young Tom Morris, concludes the shortlist.

The Illustrated Sports Book of the Year features seven beautiful books ranging from motorsport to tennis, Tottenham Football Club to international Sailing. The list includes Yellow Jersey by Frédérique Galametz and Philippe Bouvet, More to Gain than Just the Game by Dave Courteen, Lap of Honour by Tim Hain, An A to Z of Football Collectibles by Carl Wilkes, A Life Behind the Lens by Richard Pelham, SailGP: Sailing Redefined by the team at SailGP, and last but not least Destination Tottenham collated by Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

The Cycling Book of the Year, sponsored by VAARU Cycles for the first time, shortlists The Cycling Podcast’s The Grand Tour Diaries, Emily Chappell’s Where There’s a Will, Carlton Kirby’s Magic Spanner, The Beast, the Emperor and the Milkman by Harry Pearson, The Yellow Jersey by Peter Cossins, and Riding in the Zone Rouge by Tom Isitt.

The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2020 winners will be digitally announced on July 15th. The online announcement will replace the traditional celebration at Lord’s Cricket Ground.