Biographies That Bulge Nets, Ring Chords, And Are A Great Catch

How To Be A Footballer by Peter Crouch (with Tom Fordyce) Ebury Press (2018)

At last a kindred spirit for all football fanatics. Peter Crouch gatecrashed football at its highest levels (Tottenham, Liverpool, England) changed many perceptions along the way, and delivered goals galore. Like a bewildered intruder he has witnessed the bizarre rituals, superstitions, and vanity traps that have seduced even the best professional players. Now armed with a wicked sense of humour, Peter is naming names and throwing open the doors of the dressing rooms, training grounds, and elite hotels.
Starting out over 20 years ago as an apprentice, our guide has seen the passing of communal baths, card schools, and fish and chips after match meals. This isn´t your usual autobiography, but our guide still gives telling insights into what drove him to become so much more than the tall, ungainly, novelty painted by the media and mocked by some fans. The Robot goal celebration, fashion disasters, and houses and cars he lived to regret, all get an airing. They all seem quite mild compared to other star struck stars. You wouldn´t expect managers he served under like Harry Redknapp, Rafa Benitez, and Fabio Capello to escape his mischievous gaze, they all get the same close inspection from our Peter.
What has always endeared Peter Crouch to supporters has been his honesty, effort, and child like awe at being let into the world of his heroes. Even a VAR machine would struggle not to giggle at pages that aim high and deliver the trophies.

Life by Keith Richards (with James Fox) – Published by Phoenix Paperback (2011)

Neither rule book or guitar manual are big enough to contain the most extraordinary rocker the world has seen and heard. Keith Richards has always yearned for more, from diverse musical influences, company, and natures cocktail of highs. Yet in his enthralling autobiography he also reveals the smaller, subtle influences of family, good friends, and musical icons. His cover assurance that “I haven´t forgotten any of it” is backed up by his thoughts and reasoning behind the screaming headlines that shocked several generations. Accomplished journalist James Fox, a friend since the 1970´s, teases out the details of Keith´s rows, riots, raids, and relationships with those closest to him, including his love and sometimes loathing for Mick Jagger.
There was plenty of friction through the decades from Keith´s Dartford birth in 1943, and the pearls that dripped from his guitar at a frantic pace as he taught himself to feel and think the chords and riffs, and to become a valued song writer. It´s all written in Keith´s non PC voice, and he is always generous in his praise for his contemporaries, and that willingness to share and teach from the strummers union. This far removed from those heady days when The Rolling Stones were seen as the devils spawn, it´s easy to forget how their exploits tore through the very fabric of society. Drugs played a big part in the revolution, Keith doesn´t shy away from his fascination and hunger for them, and recalls those who fell by the wayside.
The biggest addiction of all for Keith has always been the music. This book worships it, celebrates it, and gives an insight into its power. You don’t need to like rock, or the anti hero Keith Richards, just enjoy the ride through a who’s who of music, all witnessed via the child like awe of a true legend.

A Clear Blue Sky by Jonny Bairstow (& Duncan Hamilton) Harper Collins Publishers (2018)

Getting behind the man behind the stumps, this book reveals a clarity of ambition, dedication, and loyalty. England and Yorkshire´s record breaking wicket keeper and batsman tells how he was inspired by his fathers illustrious playing career, challenged by his fathers suicide and mothers fight with cancer, and did his family and country proud with bat, ball, and a refusal to be beaten.
Poised a run short of his first test century, Jonny recalls the highs and lows of life and sport that gave him purpose to prove himself again and again. Bitterness has no place in Jonny´s outlook, cruel fate and setbacks are taken as lessons to be learned from and fuel for the next push onwards. There´s plenty for cricket purists to enjoy, duels with great names, stories of Yorkshire pride that borders on beligerence, and a grudging, bat dragging journey into the modern commercial rebirth of cricket.
Even if you can’t tell your silly mid on from your deep gulley, Jonny explains the technical challenges with facing a myriad of bowling styles and speeds. Most were met with a firm bat or a safe pair of hands, even when struck by the fiercest of balls, Jonny took all the knocks and bounced back. The immense pleasure of facing the world’s greatest players, experiencing distant cultures and making new friends is shared with the reader. As a sports book it excels, and as a revealing account of growing up in the shadow of adversity, it’s inspiring and entertaining.