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The 24 best football autobiographies to read right now

10:08 BST 14/07/2021
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Want a first-person look into the lives of football's most extraordinary characters? Add these must-read autobiographies to your reading list

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At their most basic, football autobiographies offer fans a glimpse into the person behind the persona we’ve come to know through our TV screens. At their best, they provide a unique look into an individual’s thought process that would be impossible to get from a simple biography. 

This selection of autobiographies follows the careers of some of football’s biggest stars, from both on and off the pitch, and gives a raw insight into what it’s like to play at the highest level.

Side Note: If you prefer to listen to your books than read them, Audible is offering a free 30-day trial for new customers, giving you access to a free audiobook copy of any title in this list.

1. I Think Therefore I Play by Andrea Pirlo

The World Cup and Champions League-winning midfielder gives a humorous and insightful look back on his career, filled with plenty of anecdotes involving his former team-mates at Juventus and AC Milan.

Get it from Amazon for £7.89

2. Banksy by Gordon Banks

In his own words, legendary goalkeeper Gordon Banks revisits the highs and lows of his career, from his role in helping England to World Cup victory to the car accident that left him blind in one eye. 

Get it from Amazon for £6.55

3. The Accidental Footballer by Pat Nevin

As the name suggests, The Accidental Footballer is different from your usual football memoirs. Pat Nevin writes about his life with honesty and humour while never shying away from difficult topics.

Get it from Amazon for £14.50

4. Stillness and Speed by Dennis Bergkamp

In this autobiography, the enigmatic Bergkamp details his life, career, and inspirations, while also giving his own opinion on the game of football and how it should be played. 

Get it from Amazon for £7.30

5. My Turn by Johan Cruyff

Widely regarded as one of football’s greatest players, Johan Cruyff’s life was just as extraordinary off the pitch where the 1973 European Footballer of the Year dealt with bankruptcy and a kidnapping attempt.

Get it from Amazon for £2.99

6. Thinking Out Loud by Rio Ferdinand

Written just a couple of years after the loss of his wife Rebecca to cancer, Rio Ferdinand’s autobiography is a meditation on grief and loss written with the inspiration of helping others. 

Get it from Amazon for £5.99

7. My Life in Red and White by Arsene Wenger

This definitive autobiography of the revolutionary football manager is not only a must-read for Arsenal supporters but essential reading for anyone who considers themselves a football fan.

Get it from Amazon for £6.29

8. How to Be a Footballer by Peter Crouch

Peter Crouch's autobiography is one the funniest memoirs put to paper, which is no surprise coming from the man widely regarded as one of the funniest men in sport. The book has an equally hilarious sequel I, Robot: How to Be a Footballer

Get it from Amazon for £7.20

9. Always Managing by Harry Redknapp

From his early days struggling at Oxford City to lifting the FA Cup at Portsmouth, Harry tells the full story of his career as one of the most recognisable managers in the history of football.

Get it from Amazon for £9.99

10. Living For The Moment by Terry McDermott 

The Liverpool legend and one of the most colourful characters to ever play football shares stories from his stints at Liverpool, Newcastle, and just as entertainingly, his time off the pitch.

Get it from Amazon for £6.66

11. I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic by Zlatan Ibrahimovic

In his own unique style filled with witty one-liners, Zlatan recalls his time at Barcelona, PSG, and Manchester United on his journey to becoming a modern sporting icon.

Get it from Amazon for £7.37

12. How Not to Be a Professional Footballer by Paul Merson

Paul Merson’s autobiography is as much a manual as it is a memoir. The book contains a treasure trove of anecdotes told in Merson’s usual entertaining and laugh-out-loud manner.

Get it from Amazon for £8.59

13. A Life in Football by Ian Wright

The Sunday Times bestselling memoir from Ian Wright covers the former England striker and current TV pundit’s career in front of the fans, as well as topics such as racism, social media, and retirement. 

Get it from Amazon for £7.50

14. My Autobiography by Alex Ferguson

Originally published in 2013, this autobiography has recently been updated to include Sir Alex Ferguson's thoughts on events at Manchester United since his retirement, as well as more anecdotes from his post-managing career. 

Get it from Amazon for £9.66

15. The Romford Pelé by Ray Parlour

Now a pundit for talkSPORT and Sky Sports, Ray Parlour’s memoir takes a candid look back at his on-field career including his time on Arsenal’s famous unbeaten team of 2003-04.

Get it from Amazon for £8.15

16. Not For Me, Clive by Clive Tyldesley

It’s not just the footballers and managers who have entertaining autobiographies to their name, as this book delves into the career of one of the most recognisable voices in sports broadcasting.

Get it from Amazon for £9.34

17. Back from the Brink by Paul McGrath

Called by some “the most candid sports book ever written”, McGrath’s autobiography doesn’t shy away from the more difficult chapters in his life which includes his upbringing as an orphan and his struggle with alcoholism.  

Get it from Amazon for £8.95

18. Any Given Saturday by Shay Given

A rare behind-the-scenes look at the illustrious career and life of the Irish goalkeeper whose career has spanned over three decades and included World Cups and FA Cup finals.

Get it from Amazon for £8.99

19. Clough The Autobiography by Brian Clough

Perhaps a little overshadowed by the dozens of biographies written about Brian Clough, this book offers a rare insight into the legendary Derby County and Nottingham Forest manager in his own words. 

Get it from Amazon for £8.19

20. Be Careful What You Wish For by Simon Jordan

After making his fortune outside of football, Simon Jordan decided to follow his childhood dream by purchasing Crystal Palace. This book lifts the lid on how only a decade later the club went into administration.

Get it from Amazon for £10.55

21. The Second Half by Roy Keane

Written with the help of Man Booker Prize-winner Roddy Doyle, Keane’s autobiography offers a brutally honest account of the former Manchester United captain, leaving no stones unturned.

Get it from Amazon for £2.99

22. Quiet Leadership by Carlo Ancelotti

One of the greatest managers of all time, Carlo Ancelotti reveals the full story of his career managing the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Beckham, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Get it from Amazon for £9.34

23. My autobiography by Luka Modrić

Released in 2021, this illuminating insight into the career of Luka Modric reveals his journey from growing up in war-torn Croatia to playing for his country in the 2018 FIFA World Cup final.

Get it from Amazon for £5.75

24. Even Heskey Scored by Emile Heskey

Shortlisted for the Best Sports Autobiography at the 2020 British Sports Book Awards, Heskey’s revealing autobiography charts the rise of the England footballer as he overcame fierce criticism.

Get it from Amazon for £12.17