Sunday, 30 August 2015

13. A guide to football books & magazines

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Hello Everyone!

It's been a long time since I last posted, with my efforts being more focused on setting up and working on my photography portfolio. But with the new football season up and running, I thought I would finally try and fit in my love for football into my blog. I thought it would be a good idea to show you guys some of my favourite football magazines and books, so if you're a football fanatic like myself, or maybe someone looking for a unique present for someone you know who is, hopefully there should be something here for you!

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Why England Lose

Described as an "Arsene Wenger of a book", this offering takes on the theories of baseball's equivalent 'Moneyball' by attempting to pull apart many assumptions that plague English football, such as how there are too many foreigners in the premier league, and how England consistantly under-acheive on the world stage , and essentially break it down to the figures to try to see if they are true, which they almost always aren't (spoiler alert, England actually over-acheive based on the data). The book gives a genuinely unique perspective on many matters that the footballing powers that be assume to be sacrilege, and a book that wil undoubtedly improves anybody's understanding of the game.

Why not also try - Soccernomics: The updated version of why England lose, which includes a chapter explaining the rise of Spain as a powerhouse.


Calcio: A History Of Italian Football


One for nostalgia fans, this book does exactly what you would expect from the title; gives a fascinating insight into one the the most unique and easily recognizable footballing countries on the planet: Italy. Rather than purely a historic account to Italian football, the book navigates through the psyche of the Italian people, and how this mentality permeates onto the football pitch and the boardroom. One of the reasons why I believe football to be the best sport in the world is the simplicity of its rules, and ability for one nation to interpret those rules in a completely different way to another, and Calcio provides a perfect example of just that.

Why not also try - 'The Italian Job': Told from the perspective of former Italy, Juventus and Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli, this loose autobiography attempts to explain the differences between Italian and English football, using a combination of anecdotes, opinions and snippits from fellow professionals, this is definitely my favourite football autobiography.                   
'Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life': Like Calcio, This Alex Bellos written book talks us through Brazils religious relationship with football, made even more interesting when compared with Italy's polar opposite interpretation of the beautiful game.
'Inverting the pyramid: The history of football tactics: Not one for the faint-hearted, this comprehensive title explains the evolution of the game, from the 2-3-5 formations of the English sides of the 19th century, to the rise and fall of brazilian samba football, the evolution of stats in 1960s USSR and Dutch total football. A slog of a read, but you will definitely come out of it wiser, if not a little weary!

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Rabona

Undoubtedly on of my favourite football magazines is Rabona. Only 4 issues in, each one focusses on a specific country or club (Issue 3 on the US in a personal favourite of mine) with Interviews from well known stars and brilliant photography highlighting the culture of the football fanaticism of the issues focus. As the magazine is only bi-annual and mostly centres on one specific topic, it has the ability to really delve into every nook and cranny of the subject, with a combination of player interviews, informative articles tackling the current talking points of the club or country at question, as well as pieces on fan behaviour and support, which genuinely leaves you with something cool and interesting to read on every page. An added bonus of this mag is its stellar website, with constant updates from various writers including the immense Michael Cox.

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The Green Soccer Journal

One of the few magazines to successfully blend football with style & fashion, The GSJ does this with ease. This magazine doesn't go into current footballing talking points as such, more focussing on a combination of latest sportswear and high end high street trends and personal interviews with genuinely interesting characters throughout the footballing spectrum, with the latest edition including Gergory Van der Wiel, Henri Lansbury and Joe Gomez. This is a particular highlight for me, as interviews are undertaken with the view of getting solid and interesting content, rather than media trained soundbites from whoever the current flavour of the month might be. If like myself you have a love for all things football and fashion, this is definitely for you!

Untitled-3 Eight by Eight

Probably the most visually stunning of the magazines, Eight by Eight offers the most diverse mix of subject matter. Being a US publication, what makes this magazine interesting is its different take on footballing matters. A sport still growing across the pond, Eight by Eight still feels like its catoring to a fanatic minority, which is fantastically refreshing to someone who lives somewhere where football is at times inescapable. What I love about this publication is the sheer amount of content in it from writers and creatives who genuinely love their content, and are just having fun with it. With pieces in their latest editions ranging from Roy Hodgson, a ranking of footballers hair styles, and a quick guide to all the football teams in London, whether you're a seasoned football supporting pro, or a relative soccer novice, there's bound to be something that you enjoy!

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'The Stylish Life: Football'

Last, but certainly not least, is this amazing photography book that Livvi got for my birthday last month. There isn't too much to say on this, as the pictures can tell you everything, but I feel that it's a really great example of how football genuinly does permeate the sporting boundries into pop culture, and can create iconic and memorable imagery. Although on the pricey side, this is definitely the most long lasting of my recomendations, and perfect for a present for a football mad friend or other half!


I'm genuinely impressed to anyone who has got this far, I hope it's been of interest! I'm going to try and do a favourites post once a month (I promise it won't always be about football!) so let me know if you found it useful! Although due to other commitments I've been putting my blog on the backburner recently, I have a few really exciting posts coming up and will definitely be much more regular from now on!

Have a great week!

Joe
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