Remember last season’s EPL? Two books that will help you
This season’s English Premier League – arguably the world’s toughest, richest and most popular football league – will begin on August 18. Last season’s edition was the most thrilling in recent memory, with Manchester City winning the title for the first time since 1968 with what was virtually the last kick of the season.
I have previously touched upon Nick Hornby’s Pray: Notes on the 2011/2012 Football Season and do so again here. It is a beautifully written, insightful book that explains why that dramatic season was so very special, and what it tells us about the nature of the game in England today. “…2011/12 had a lot more to offer than a linear narrative leading to a predictable conclusion, like a mediocre genre thriller. We might have guessed the ending before the season kicked off [big money wins, emphatically], but we couldn’t have predicted the route we were going to take to get there… football managed to encompass politics, high finance, the law and matters of life and death.”
Leavened with humour, studded with analysis and numbers, this is available only as an ebook and is only about 8,000 words long. Ideal for a commute, especially an evening one in a car or taxi because the your e-rader will allow you to devour the book in the darkness.
The ‘our’ in the subtitle of Fight to the Finish: The Inside Story of our Rollercoaster 2011-12 Season is Manchester United football club – and, of course, its players and fans. Written by Steve Bartram – the author of seven previous books on the club – along with the United team, this is the sort of book that will be irresistible for the United obsessive (and heaven knows that there are enough of them). With detailed reports of every game United played in the season in all competitions, and striking photographs, it is a handy book for all those United fans who will look back on 2011-12 as the nearly season.