At its best, sports writing can deliver a pure shot of inspiration that will have you itching to get out and play some sport yourself. Coach is big on inspiration, so it’s always exciting to see the shortlist for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, with seven books up for the title this year. The winner of the award will be announced on November 24, with the author interviewed on 5 Live that afternoon.


A fascinating account of the English football managers who spread the game around the world, creating legacies in leagues and clubs globally that are still prospering to this day. By Rory Smith, Simon & Schuster, £18.99, buy on Amazon.

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

Already a winner of a 2016 Pulitzer, this thrilling account of a life spent travelling the world chasing waves can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their surfing knowledge. By William Finnegan, Corsair, £11.99, buy on Amazon.

Chasing Shadows

This book is an unflinching account of the life of cricketer and journalist Peter Roebuck, whose life was shrouded in controversy right up until his suicide in South Africa in 2011. By Tim Lane and Elliot Cartledge, Hardie Grant Books, £12.99, buy on Amazon.

Mr Darley’s Arabian

The history of horse-racing told by following the bloodline of 25 thoroughbreds, starting with a colt bought from Bedouin tribesmen in 1704 and finishing with a modern great in the form of Frankel. By Christopher McGrath, John Murray, £25, buy on Amazon.

Forever Young

In the star-filled company of Man United’s class of ’92, Adrian Doherty was one of the club’s best youngsters, but he would never go on to play for the Red Devils. This book reveals his tragic story. By Oliver Kay, Quercus, £20, buy on Amazon.

Find a Way

The lesson of this tale is undoubtedly never give up, even if you’re swimming between Cuba and Florida without a shark cage. Nyad achieved this on her fifth attempt, at the age of 64. By Diana Nyad, Macmillan, £16.99, buy on Amazon.


Rick Broadbent receives his third nomination with a title charting the extraordinary life and career of the “Czech Locomotive” Emil Zátopek, one the greatest distance runners of all time. By Rick Broadbent, Wisden, £14.99, buy on Amazon.