We love reading football autobiographies so we have compiled a list of the best football books for you to have a look at below.
From our experience some of the best football autobiographies that we have read are the ones that fly under the radar in terms of promotion.
However, we have found that some of the best football books are by lesser-known players such as Alan Stubbs, Danny Higginbotham and Muzzy Izzet which are just as entertaining, mainly down to their honest, descriptive stories and accounts of their footballing past.
Check out our football books review below:
Released in September 2016, Arsenal legend Ian Wright’s book focuses on his journey from Sunday morning football in South London to one of the Premier League’s all time top goalscorers and England international.
He writes in-depth about the transition from Arsenal’s ‘boring, boring Arsenal’ tag to the Wenger Revolution and the joys of playing with one of the most technically gifted players in the world in Dennis Bergkamp.
Wright also talks about his retirement from playing and the career change into punditry and his TV and radio career.
More of a memoir than a football autobiography, Ian Wright’s book is a must read for any Arsenal fan or football fan alike.
One of the greatest footballers of his generation, Rio Ferdinand’s autobiography charts his rise from West Ham’s youth teams to Manchester United legend.
Released in paperback edition in August 2016, Ferdinand’s book is different from your bog-standard footballer autobiography as it doesn’t chart his career in chronological order.
Instead, each chapter contains his thoughts on either a period of his distinguished career or opinions on modern-day questions such as the Messi or Ronaldo debate.
#2Sides also includes Ferdinand’s views and opinions on his history with John Terry, ex-managers such as David Moyes and Sir Alex Ferguson and former team mates such as Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Refreshing in its honesty and not one of those “all about me” football books, this will make a great gift for any football fan.
As the title suggests, this book from Manchester United legend Roy Keane is a follow-up to his hugely successful first book Keane: The Autobiography which was first released in 2002.
Released in 2015, The Second Half book talks about the end of his playing career, move into management and his new career as a television pundit.
A brilliant, well constructed read, Roy Keane’s book is surprisingly candid and there are many laugh out loud moments which will surprise many who think that he is an angry, brash man.
He talks in detail about his highs and lows at Sunderland, regrets of taking on the manager’s job at Ipswich Town when he realised the training kit was blue and also why he refused to sign Robbie Savage.
A fascinating read which gives the reader a different insight into the maturer side of Roy Keane that you see today.
In our opinion, one of the best football books around.
Arsenal’s record-breaking legend Ray Parlour released his hilarious book ‘The Romford Pele’ in May 2016 and has since gone on to become a best seller.
Parlour takes a candid look back at his life and career in chronological order with many anecdotes from his youth days at Arsenal, the infamous Tuesday drinking club and playing in the Invincibles team of 2003-04.
With a foreword from Arsene Wenger, Ray Parlour’s book is extremely well-written, easy to read and gives a great account of life as a Premier League footballer in the 1990’s.
Love him or hate him, you can’t seem to get away from Robbie Savage and his outspoken views on the beautiful game.
Savage’s second book, which was released in June 2016, gives the reader his thoughts on all aspects of the modern game with opinions on players, managers, cup competitions and even kids football.
Prepared to stand his ground on any of the topics he writes about, however controversial, Savage does talk a lot of sense. Few may actually agree with him, but everyone listens.
His straight-talking will always divide opinion but whatever you think of him, you cannot knock his passion for the game which is prevalent throughout this hugely entertaining read.
A brutally honest book and one of the best football autobiographies you will read, Paul Merson’s ‘How Not to be a Footballer” book was released in 2012 to much critical acclaim.
Merson’s rollercoaster ride of drinks, drugs and gambling which plagued him throughout his entre career is recounted in a poignant but funny way and the book is littered with laugh out loud anecdotes.
Never afraid to talk a walk on the wild side, some of the stories in this book include the time he shared a house with Paul Gascoigne, the period where he was regularly placing £30,000 bets at the bookies and his time spent as manager of Walsall.
This isn’t one of the longest football books and you’ll find it really easy to read so don’t be surprised if you finish it within a couple of days.
One of the most eagerly awaited football books from one of the most respected pundits at the moment, Danny Higginbotham’s engrossing read hit the shelves in April 2015.
Refreshingly honest throughout, Higginbotham admits that he was not blessed with as much talent as other footballers at the time but what he lacked in skill, he more than made up for in commitment and passion.
A player who always wore his heart on his sleeve, Higginbotham experienced the highs of promotion, lows of relegation and injury heartbreak during his career and he talks passionately about them all.
Higginbotham doesn’t try to be too controversial within his book and doesn’t name names when he recounts his stories, it’s just simply an honest account of the modern-day footballer.
Hugely entertaining from start to finish, this light-hearted book from self-confessed football nutter Jimmy Bullard is full of hilarious stories from his playing career.
What you see is what you get with Bullard and this book is no different. You’ll know exactly what to expect as soon as you turn the first page.
The notorious prankster caused mischief at pretty much every club he played for and he recounts his stories in typical light-hearted fashion.
One of the last ‘old-school’ footballers, Bullard’s enthusiasm for the game is infectious and he never took his privileged position for granted.
Although the majority of the book details the funnier things that happened during his time as a footballer, Bullard also describes the heartbreak of the serious knee injuries that plagued him throughout his colourful career.
If you’re looking for one of those football books that are crammed with no-nonsense facts, tactical analysis and a serious tone then this book is definitely not for you.
If, on the other hand, you want a book that doesn’t take football too seriously and you’re up for a laugh then this definitely doesn’t disappoint.
One of the most recognisable faces in British football, and the ex England manager, Sam Allardyce’s autobiography is blunt, to the point and pulls no punches.
Allardyce’s career in football spans 42 years and through this book he looks back at both his playing career as well as his management career.
Refreshing in its honesty, ‘Big Sam’, is a real earthy kind of book which is not pretentious in any way and gives readers a real insight into the trials and tribulations of a Premier League manager.
The only negative point of the book in our opinion is that he doesn’t talk as much about his 20 year playing career as maybe he should have, considering that he made over 400 first-team appearances.
That aside, when you finish the book you’ll discover that there is much more to Big Sam than you ever thought.
This book was written before he resigned as England’s manager after the Telegraph’s well-publicised sting operation.
Didier Drogba – Commitment: My Autobiography
One of Chelsea’s all time greats, Didier Drogba’s autobiography is not only a fascinating insight into his life as a modern-day footballer but also a look back at his humble beginnings as an immigrant in Paris.
Drogba goes behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge and relays many anecdotes from inside the dressing room as well as expressing his opinions on the numerous managers he played under at Chelsea.
A Chelsea man through and through, his positive opinions and reflections on every aspect of the club shine through, however this book will also appeal to fans of other clubs.
An intelligent, thoughtful and compassionate man, who uses his status to achieve goodness in the world, this book is a very enjoyable read.
Harry Redknapp: Always Managing: My Autobiography
Released in 2014, Harry Redknapp’s book is a fantastic stroll down memory lane from one of the most iconic managers in the modern game.
From his days as a player at West Ham to his FA Cup win as manager of Portsmouth, this memoir shares the unbeatable highs and the dismal lows of a footballing career which has spanned over 50 years.
He also tells his side of the story on many issues such as his dismissal from Spurs, the England manager’s job and his tax evasion court case.
One of the old-school breed of managers, Redknapp comes over as a very down to earth and humble man in a book which went onto become a Sunday Times bestseller.
A highly recommended read for anyone who loves the game and one of the best football books available at the moment.
In September 2016, Ruud Gullit released his book How to Watch Football his masterclass on how to ‘read’ the game.
The book looks at the technical side of the game and what you should watch out for in respect to tactical decisions and formations.
Amongst the many talking points within the book, Gullit explains the secret of the tiki-taka style of playing, as well as explaining why one striker can be better than three strikers.
More of a manual than an autobiography but jam-packed with Gullit’s acute insights, original observations and talking points, How to Watch Football will be one of the go to football books for any armchair pundit.
A goal-scoring machine in the 1980’s for Chelsea, Kerry Dixon’s book which was released in September 2016, is a fascinating look at the rise and subsequent fall of a Chelsea legend.
Dixon’s book is a frank and honest account of football in a day where players weren’t paid multi-million pound salaries and the game itself was a far cry from the circus it has become today.
He reveals the truth about his darkest times since retiring from playing which include problems with drugs and gambling and his recent prison sentence after his conviction for grevious bodily harm.
An excellent read which includes a lot of humour amongst the doom and gloom, Kerry Dixon’s book is a great read not just for Chelsea fans but anyone who loves the beautiful game.
A Leicester City legend, Muzzy Izzet’s autobiography charts his rise from YTS player at a pre-Roman Abramovich Chelsea to Premier League player with Leicester City to World Cup semi-finalist with the Turkish national side.
Co-written with Leicester Mercury feature writer Lee Marlow, Muzzy Izzet’s book is brutally honest and he comes across as a really humble guy who had to work extremely hard to get to the level he played at.
The book is packed with lots of amusing stories including the drinking cultures within the clubs he played at, great times under Martin O’Neill and his international career with the Turkish national side.
One of the game’s most underrated players but still one of Leicester City’s greatest players of the time, this football book is a fantastic read for any fan of the beautiful game.
One of the most moving football books you’ll read, Alan Stubbs’ book tells the story of a life and a career which was plunged into turmoil at the age of 27 when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Away from the cancer story, this book looks back at the career of a player who experienced promotion from two divisions to the Premier League with Bolton, time at his boyhood club Everton and also his successful spell at Celtic.
Emotional at times but also very inspirational, this is a fascinating read from a player who never whined or moaned about his bad luck and just got on with it.
One of the most controversial but also one of the most fascinating players of the modern game, Joey Barton’s autobiography is an often painfully honest and brave look back at a career which has often been sensationalised by the tabloids.
Barton comes across in the book as a man who has a huge desire to win football matches at all costs, even at the expense of personal relationships, and he goes into detail about many of the scrapes he has been involved in over the years on and off the pitch.
He also reveals another side of his persona and talks about his personal battles with his inner demons, drugs and his time spent in prison for assault.
What we liked about Joey Barton’s book is that it’s not all doom and gloom and he devotes a lot of pages on how he has changed his life around since his children were born and also his future plans once he retires.
After reading this book you will definitely change your opinion about the Joey Barton you have seen on the television and read about in the papers.
Legend is a word that is banded around freely nowadays but you could arguably put former Aston Villa, Manchester United and Irish international Paul McGrath into this category.
Released in 2007 in paperback, this brilliant read charts McGrath’s journey from racial abuse as a black boy playing football in the streets of Dublin to iconic footballer of the 1980’s and 1990’s.
This book is not just about football, it’s also a story of how someone can wrestle with alcohol addiction whilst at the same time playing at the very top-level of the game.
If you want one of those football books that are full of amusing stories about players and managers then this definitely is not for you. But, if you want to read a very candid book about a professional sportsman’s battle against the demon drink and a life lived on the very edge of chaos then this will be the perfect football book for you.
Not one of your normal football autobiographies, Keith Gillespie’s superb book is a story of one man who had it all, lost it, regretted it and who is now trying to get his life back on track.
A player who came into the Manchester United team around the same time as the Class of 92, Gillespie talks about his rise to fame and the trappings and temptations that go hand in hand with it ultimately leading to a gambling addiction and bankruptcy.
Gillespie comes across in the book as a really decent man who unfortunately has a really sad story to tell.
Although the overall tone of the book focuses on the negative side of the modern game, it is not a gloomy read at all and when you finish it you’ll be surprised at how much you enjoyed it.
Liverpool and Scotland legend Steve Nicol’s book was released in September 2016 and is an absolutely hilarious account of the life of a professional footballer in the 1980’s.
Part of the hugely successful Liverpool team of the 80’s, Nicol tells numerous funny anecdotes about life in the Anfield dressing room in a time when the game was full of characters and not overpaid prima donnas.
There is also a really moving section in the book about the Hillsborough tragedy from the perspective of a player who witnessed first hand the terrible events.
All in all one, we found Steve Nicol’s book to be one of the most funny, insightful and well written books that we have read for a long time.
Steven Gerrard – My Story
A true Anfield legend who has achieved iconic status at the club, Steven Gerrard’s book is an open and frank look back at a career in which he won everything at club level – except the Premier League title.
One of the few modern players who spent their entire UK career at the one club, Gerrard dissects the defining games of his illustrious club career as well talking about his experiences with the England national team, both good and bad.
Amongst the anecdotes that are peppered through the book are Gerrard’s thoughts on players he has played with and against and also managers that he played under.
This book can be compared to how Steven Gerrard led his footballing career, no-nonsense, straight-laced and relatively drama free – this is not one of those football books which lift the lid on scandal and secrets.
A fascinating read for any football fan but less so if you just want to know more about Gerrard as a person.
A hugely compelling, honest look back at a career in which he enjoyed huge success with both Aberdeen and of course Manchester United, Alex Ferguson’s book is not only entertaining but also very revealing.
This is not one of those football books that you can speed read through and finish within a couple of days, this book is full of content that you’ll have to re-read to take it all in.
Throughout the book Ferguson attempts to explain the reasons for various decisions that he had to make involving top players such as David Beckham and Roy Keane and he attempts to settle some old feuds as well as reigniting others.
Sir Alex also breaks down the psychology of management and football strategies at the top level in a way that a general reader can easily comprehend.
Written in more of a conversational style rather than a classic literacy style, Alex Ferguson’s book will not entertain you but also educate you.
Regarded by many in the game as the best football manager in the world, Carlo Ancelotti’s book is a must read for anyone wanting an authentic insight into how to get to the top of your chosen profession without compromising your values.
Ancelotti gives the reader a fascinating insight into the mind of one of the greatest man managers and tacticians in the modern game, and his understated way in which he goes about his work has reaped praise and respect from some of the best players in the world including Cristiano Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham.
This isn’t one of those football books full of amusing stories from the dressing room, (although there are of course some funny ancedotes), it’s more of a book on leadership skills, qualities and values and how you can lead a team of people to success.
One of the biggest selling football books of 2015, Sky Sports Spanish football expert Guillem Balague’s gives us a fascinating account of Cristiano Ronaldo’s journey to become aruguable the greatest footballer in the world.
Balague has previously written football books on Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola and this book follows the same biographical format, charting Ronaldo’s early career at Sporting Lisbon, through to his time in England with Manchester United and becoming a ‘galactico‘ at Real Madrid.
Brilliant written and intensively researched, this is one of those football books that you won’t be able to put down.
One thing to note is that there are a few swear words within the book therefore it’s not suitable for some of Ronaldo’s younger fans.
The longest-serving Liverpool FC player in the history of the club, Jamie Carragher released his long-awaited autobiography in 2009 whilst still an active player.
Originally put off by the fact that this book was quite of date, we were pleasantly surprised at how good a read this football book was.
Carragher talks candidly about his Liverpool career in his typically down-to-earth style which he regularly portrays in his role as a television pundit.
Along with the obvious dressing room anecdotes which are prominant in most football books, Carragher doesn’t hold back his opinions on sensitive areas such as the Liverpool-Everton rivalry, his England career and his dislike for the way certain other professionals attempt to cheat by diving.
If you like Jamie Carragher’s punditry style then you will like his book as it’s written in the same kind of tone but it won’t be everybody’s cup of tea purely because of this football book’s age.
Released in February 2013, and a former Sunday Times bestseller, former Premier League player Dietmar Hamann’s book is a really entertaining look back at his life story.
Extremely funny from start to finish, the German with the Scouse accent lifts the lid on life playing for two of the biggest clubs in Europe in Bayern Munich and Liverpool as well the German national team.
Throughout the book, Hamann expresses his thoughts and opinions in a no-nonsense way but at no point do you think he is trying to be sensational. Maybe it’s his German charm!
The main focus of the book is on his time at Liverpool which included the glory years of the mid 2000’s but this book will definitely appeal to fans of other clubs.