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In 1957 John Charles was happy in Leeds and playing the game he loved in a team he considered friends. Then a fire and desperate need to raise funds saw his fate change and a move to Juventus brokered. Little did he know it at the time but the Gigante was about to rise.

This fictional retelling of the move to Italy and his first season in Turin charts a course through the games, the goals and family life as he adjusted to a world away from Elland Road. Written after extensive research and with input and the blessing of the Charles family, this book covers his first season with Juve. With highs and lows along the way, and his time on the pitch becoming his solace away from the new pressures the transfer created, this is The Gigante.

Full details and pre-order links will be released on Monday. We will be making press copies available and it will be on all formats. Excitingly we will also be selling some of Robert's back catalogue, details to follow.


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NEW from Ockley Books, Wanderers, Rovers & Rangers by John Duerden, pre-order link and release details coming on Monday

Throughout history British coaches have made their presence felt across the world. From helping humble teams become the super clubs we know today to tactical innovations as the game grew nation by nation, the British had a huge hand in shaping football’s early global history.
In the modern age they are still to be found far from home but where once they were at the forefront they now walk some of the less travelled pathways. Even some of the highest profile footballers have found coaching careers that have taken them to places they may never have considered before and Tony Adams, Bryan Robson and the late Howard Kendall talk about their adventures as Wanderers, Rovers & Rangers, along with with many more as the book charts a course through the world of British coaches near, far and everywhere in between.
Hear about the coaches and managers who have dealt with outbreaks of Ebola in Africa during World cup qualification, earthquakes in Japan, dictatorial big club owners in Spain, match-fixing in Southeast Asia and prejudice about the British way of playing almost everywhere. Meet characters such as Bob Houghton, who took Malmo to the 1979 European Cup final, Tony Waiters, the former England goalkeeper who led Canada to their only World Cup in 1986, and Gary White, the young Englishman who gave Guam a first ever World Cup qualification win in 2015.
Wanderers, Rovers & Rangers tells the story of modern British coaches plying their trade worldwide and some of the incredible triumphs and disasters along the way. From the sublime to the ridiculous one thing becomes clear - football has never mattered more worldwide, and British coaches will continue to carve their own paths through the game.



David Hartrick

NEW from Ockley Books, Barnet Away by Tom Widdicombe, a wander through one man's love affair with football and the effect it has on his relationships to those around him.

With contributions from Henry and Josh Widdicombe, Barnet Away is a charming look at football's power to shape our friendships and lives in ways we don't even realise. Centered around a single season and in particular a trip to Barnet (a), this book charts everything from life, love and Super Sixes.

On general sale from Thursday 8th March for just £9.99 (eBook details to follow), Barnet Away is the latest release from Ockley Books.

Contact us directly on drh@ockleybooks.co.uk for press enquires or review copies


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New and available for pre-order from tomorrow, Was Grace Better Than Bradman?, a new way to look at Ashes Cricketers.

Full release details in the morning, we will have copies in good time for Christmas so get it on the list for Santa to bring you!



This week the good people at Queen's Park Books helped us launch Richard Foster's new book Football's Flaws & Foibles with an event to celebrate its release. 

Despite the small matter of a Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid game happening just down the round the event was very well attended and a great success, huge thanks to everyone who came and to our brilliant hosts.

Richard Foster's Football's Flaws & Foibles is available now from Queen's Park Books and by clicking this sentence




Over six weeks, Daniel Storey - author of 'Portrait Of An Icon', a celebration of some of the football world's foremost individuals - will discuss a selection of his choices with David Hartrick and Chris Nee. 

In this third episode of the Portrait series they talk about David Beckham, was he iconic for his football or for everything else? Listen to find out...

Click here for iTunes link

'Portrait Of An Icon' by Daniel Storey will be available from Ockley Books on August 18th. Proceeds will be donated to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Portrait of an Icon: Shipping Update


Due to an unforeseen delay with the printing, Portrait of an Icon books will now start to be sent out from Tuesday 22nd August.

Due to overwhelming initial demand we added an extra 3,000 books onto the initial print run. We had hoped that this would not lead to any delay, but as the below statement from the printers confirms, that has happened:

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Still, the good news is that we will be raising far more for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation than we ever thought possible, and we thank you both for your help in achieving that and also your continued patience.


David Hartrick

Over the next six weeks, Daniel Storey - author of 'Portrait Of An Icon', a celebration of some of the football world's foremost individuals - will discuss a selection of his choices with David Hartrick and Chris Nee.

In this second episode they talk about the career and life of Ronaldo, the "real" one, and what an exceptional player he truly was.

Click here for iTunes link

'Portrait Of An Icon' by Daniel Storey will be available from Ockley Books on August 18th. Proceeds will be donated to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.



Over the next six weeks, Daniel Storey - author of 'Portrait Of An Icon', a celebration of some of the football world's foremost individuals - will discuss a selection of his choices with David Hartrick and Chris Nee.

In this first episode, he talks about the career and life of Sir Bobby Robson, which I think is an exceptional place to start.

Click here for iTunes link

'Portrait Of An Icon' by Daniel Storey will be available from Ockley Books on August 18th. Proceeds will be donated to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.


David Hartrick

So first the bad news for those of you looking to order; we have indeed sold all 1000 copies of Daniel Storey's Portrait of an Icon in aid of The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. The demand has been overwhelming and we never expected to sell out so quickly. The link went live at 12 o'clock and twelve hours later here we are, all sold out.

So to the good news, we're going to get a second print run asap. We want to make as much as possible for The SBRF and knowing lots of you still want to order we're going to sort out some more stock just as soon as we can. We'll give you the details when we have them, it will be a finite number again but we hope to get things sorted within a day or two and let you know exactly when you can get hold of one - bear with us!

**UPDATE, 08.08.2017**

Okay, you ordered, we listened.

We have managed to organise 3000 more copies of Portrait of an Icon to go with the initial 1000 so hopefully nobody misses out. If we sell out of those we will gauge interest and possibly do more, but we can't guarantee that at this stage and again it would be a finite and probably final amount.

We're going to make The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation an awful lot of money between us so thank you for your interest, orders, help spreading the word, and generosity. The response has been amazing, you lot are incredible.

So at 12:30 today we go live with copies to sell again, this has caused a small delay on shipment but everyone who orders/has ordered will have a book before the end of the month.

Again, thank you, it's been an amazing few days.



The wait is nearly over we promise: Portrait of an Icon by Daniel Storey is not far away. The book is going to be available exclusively via the Ockley Books website as a limited edition paperback run and the pre-order link will go live very soon.

With eight book-only Portraits (including Pelé, Arrigo Sacchi, Diego Maradona, and Pep Guardiola), a foreword by Jamie Carragher, and illustrations from the likes of Dan Leydon, Steve Welsh, Stan Chow and more, this really is a must have.

So to answer the three most obvious questions - why limited edition, why no eBook, and why only via the Ockley website? 

It's because we're producing this book in aid of The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and by doing it as an exclusive we can give more back to the charity. We're hoping to raise as much as we possibly can for the SBRF and copies will go quickly. We ship worldwide and all orders will be posted within 24 hours.

More details to follow next week including that pre-order link, pricing, and launch date.

All enquires (including press requests) can be emailed to drh@ockleybooks.co.uk.





Episode Three of our podcast is live and it's the third of our Play-Off specials with Richard Foster. This week we, of course, talk Play-Offs but also a little about The Agony & The Ecstasy and answer the question of whether we will keep on updating the book till the 50th anniversary...

If you enjoy please leave us an iTunes review or share the pod with someone else, we're very grateful for your time and helping us spread the Ockley word!

Click here for Soundcloud link

Click here for iTunes link

You can buy The Agony & The Ecstasy by Richard Foster by clicking this sentence


David Hartrick

This week's episode of the Ockley Books Podcast is now live and it's part two of Chris Nee's chat with author of The Agony & The Ecstasy, Richard Foster, about all things Play-Offs.

This week covers their origin in the 1980s, touches on some of their greatest moments, and goes some way to explaining why we love them so much.

If you enjoy please leave us an iTunes review or share the pod with someone else, we're very grateful for your time and helping us spread the Ockley word!

Click here for Soundcloud link

Click here for iTunes link

You can buy The Agony & The Ecstasy by Richard Foster by clicking this sentence



Welcome to the Ockley Books podcast, now available on Soundcloud and iTunes.

Over the coming weeks you will hear interviews, extracts, announcements, and general chat from Ockley's authors and friends. We're starting with something timely but over the summer we will be covering Roger Domeneghetti's brilliant From The Back Page to the Front Room, Daniel Storey's upcoming Portrait of an Icon, announcing and talking about our new colouring book, and much, much more!

We start with Chris Nee talking to Richard Foster, author of The Agony & The Ecstasy, about the Football League Play-Offs, their history and how he came to be the man who literally wrote the book on them. 

Here's the full iTunes link for those who want to subscribe: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/ockley-books/id1235696826?mt=2



Roger Domeneghetti's study of football's history with the media has been fully revised, updated and redesigned for 2017. Featuring new design work from Mick Kinlan inside and out, this beautiful new edition is available via Amazon, Ockley and in all major book stores from the 7th of April.

Reviews for From the Back Page to the Front Room:

“Prodigious research and perceptive interpretation of it make this book an unrivalled exposition of the relationship between professional football and the media, a connection that has often been as acrimonious as it is mutually essential, symbiosis with a snarl. It is a lively and compelling story, made richer by the rescuing from obscurity of many characters whose important influence will be a revelation to most readers.” - HUGH MCILVANNEY

“In the last twenty years every facet of the football industry has been covered in some way, except the most important of all – the media. Now Roger Domeneghetti has done us all a service by tracing the role of the media in making the game into the national ritual and soap opera and done so in a voice that is scholarly, thorough and pointed.” - DAVID GOLDBLATT, AUTHOR THE GAME OF OUR LIVES

“An outstandingly readable piece of scholarship, this book addresses every aspect of football’s relationship with the media and society and, as one who has lived through the most recent halfcentury of the game’s development, I recognise so much. If I may pick one detail from so many, the portrait of the great James Catton, father of football journalism, was superb.” - PADDY BARCLAY

“Roger Domeneghetti’s irresistibly enjoyable book offers a fascinating history of football’s relationship with the British media, from tabloid headlines and Twitter controversies to fanzines and Fever Pitch. Clear, authoritative and clever, with some splendid anecdotes and colourful examples, it is likely to become the definitive word on an often controversial subject.” - DOMINIC SANDBROOK, AUTHOR THE GREAT BRITISH DREAM FACTORY

“The paradox of sports writing in the UK has always been that cricket was graced by its own ‘literature’ but not the far more popular, far more intently followed, association football. Domeneghetti examines the culture contrast in an engrossing and comprehensive far wider study of football’s media context. Stranger than fiction indeed – football’s love–hate relationship with media. Any doubters should read this book.” - KEIR RADNEDGE

“… exhaustively well researched … a breezy conversational style ensures that the dominant perspective here is that of the ordinary fan/reader/viewer. Media-analyst business-speak is thankfully lacking.” - WHEN SATURDAY COMES

“Wide-ranging, thoroughly researched and enjoyably opinionated, Roger Domeneghetti’s pioneering survey of the symbiotic but often fractious relationship between football and the media is an important contribution to our understanding of modern Britain.” - DAVID KYNASTON, AUTHOR TALES OF A NEW JERUSALEM, 1945–1979

“Witty, masterful and intelligent … deserves to be the standard text on the subject.” - THE NEW STATESMAN

Entertaining and thoughtful ... a terrific piece of work.” - ROY GREENSLADE, THE GUARDIAN

“An unrivalled account ... both informative and compelling.” - PHILOSOPHY FOOTBALL

“The central theme running through this hugely enjoyable and impressively researched history of the relationship between the English game and the media as a whole is that it has always been a mutually beneficial arrangement; the media promote football, which grows more popular, and the increased interest drives newspaper sales, radio and television audiences and online traffic. His analysis of how new technology has changed the way we experience football is admirably lucid and thought-provoking, and although he occasionally digresses from his overarching theme, as with his survey of football in literature, they are always interesting digressions; with this terrific tour de force, more is more.” - SIMON REDFERN, THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

“What is so enjoyable about From the Back Page to the Front Room is that it feels like one of those great moments when you are down the pub with your friends, probably just having finished watching a match and the discussions start. You move from football to politics to popular culture and back again. Domeneghetti has mastered a skilful weaving of our national sport into our social history and it is a great read as a result.” - SARAH JUGGINS, SPORTS JOURNALISTS’ ASSOCIATION

“Domeneghetti has delivered a comprehensive, and superbly insightful, study of the relationship between football and the media. It leaves no stone unturned and is an invaluable – and radical – guide to the way this problematic relationship has ebbed and flowed. It is especially good on the extraordinary explosion of the post-Premier League era.” - ANTHONY CLAVANE, AUTHOR PROMISED LAND: THE REINVENTION OF LEEDS UNITED

“Recommended reading on two levels: as a vividly written and splendidly researched history of English sports journalism, and as a searching study of the nation’s most popular spectator sport. A must for anyone seeking to understand one of the more complex love affairs of our times.” - ROB STEEN, AUTHOR FLOODLIGHTS AND TOUCHLINES

“Roger Domeneghetti’s From the Back Page to the Front Room is essential reading for anyone who wants to understands the complex love–hate relationship between football and the media. Wide-ranging and well-read, it combines a love of football history with a journalist’s real-world insight.” - PROFESSOR TONY COLLINS, INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR SPORTS HISTORY & CULTURE, DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY

“This is a must-read book for anyone interested in the history of the journey of football through the English media, whether you are a casual football punter or a student on a sports journalism course. Based in a fabulous feel for the game itself, this is a detailed history of everything to do with its subject – it is equally good on football fanzines and women in football as it is on the failed Bloomfield Road experiment to televise football live in 1960. A great read.” - PROFESSOR STEVE REDHEAD, CHARLES STURT UNIVERSITY

“This is a timely assessment of the place that football has established within mainstream media culture in Britain. Supported by an impressive cast of interviewees to emphasise its authority, the book is replete with anecdote and astute reflection on the centrality of football’s mediation to social and cultural life. From ‘folk football’ to full-on fandom, Domeneghetti explores how the sport has become a barometer for most aspects of contemporary Britain. It is richly contextualised within a historical grounding yet acutely aware of the digital present.” - MARTIN CONBOY, PROFESSOR OF JOURNALISM HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD



By Richard Foster

It is early March, the evenings are getting lighter, the temperatures are gradually on the rise and winter is almost behind us at last. We will finally know the season has changed for good when the winter high-vis ball is replaced by the plain old white one. So to bastardise Queen Victoria’s favourite poet Alfred Lord Tennyson this is the time that a young person’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of the Play-Offs. There are just a dozen games left across the three divisions and the battle for those twelve spots is about to intensify.

Following on from last year there seems there will be another strong Yorkshire contingent in the mix. In the Championship, potentially joining last year’s beaten finalists Sheffield Wednesday (who admittedly do need to buck their ideas up a tad) both Huddersfield Town and Leeds United are looking strong candidates for one of those Play-Offs berths. If these two do meet then it will be a much-anticipated encounter after the touchline stramash between David Wagner and Garry Monk when the two sides met at the John Smith’s Stadium. Add the spicy tension that always accompanies these post-season games and this has all the makings of a classic confrontation.

Leeds will not be overly keen on their chances considering their history of their previous four failures and any team facing Huddersfield should try to avoid a penalty shoot-out as they are the acknowledged kings, having won all four they have been involved in – 1995, 2004, 2011 & 2012. There is even the remote chance that all four Play-Offs semi-finalists could be from the White Rose county as Barnsley who are in touching distance of Wednesday may repeat last year’s surge into the League One top six from being bottom in December.

Most of those clubs that are straining to get into the frame are showing signs of inconsistency with the exception of Fulham and Preston. Fulham will be keen to rid themselves of being the only London club not to have won a single Play-Offs match in their two previous attempts, while Preston will be dreaming of repeating breaking their duck back in 2015 when they easily beat Swindon 4-0 after a run of nine failures. Or is there an outside chance of the most successful manager in Play-Offs history, Neil Warnock adding Cardiff City as the fourth club he has been in charge of to win the Play-Offs?

In League One there is also a couple of Yorkshire clubs right in the mix with last year’s beaten semi-finalists, Bradford City as well as their conquerors Millwall who fell at the last hurdle. On the back of Billy Sharp’s goals, Sheffield United look likely to avoid their regular Play-Offs humiliation by gaining automatic promotion. By contrast Fleetwood Town are one of only five clubs boasting a 100% record in the entire league. Meanwhile the chances of another club with a perfect record, AFC Wimbledon repeating their League Two triumph over Plymouth seems a long way off but they did achieve a similar late run under Neal Ardley last year.

Scunthorpe’s recent drop-off in form has seen their grip on an automatic spot weakened and the Play-Offs are looming and if they do they would be one of the most seasoned practitioners with seven attempts yielding two promotions including the latest in 2009 where they beat Millwall in the Final, a fate that the Lions experienced last year against Barnsley. Just outside the top six are Southend and Peterborough who are amongst the more successful clubs, with five promotions between them. Perhaps the most interesting of the chasing pack are Oxford United who are one of only five clubs currently in the Football League to have never participated in the Play-Offs.

In League Two there is also another club that are looking to take their Play-Offs bow, Exeter City under Paul Tidsdale, the second longest-serving manager in English football. If both Exeter and Oxford make their respective Play-Offs then that will mean 98 clubs will have competed in the Play-Offs. While Doncaster look unlikely to need to test their 100% record as automatic promotion is probable, Plymouth seem to be heading towards a repeat of last year’s ultimately fruitless foray and maybe even another match-up with Portsmouth who they overcame in the semi-finals. Of the others in with a chance there are relatively few with too much experience, the seven clubs occupying 4th to 10th having only competed 13 times between them over the thirty-year history.

The next two months will involve plenty of jostling for position until the picture clears in late April/ early May as the twelve semi-finalists are decided. As ever, there are bound to be certain clubs who enter the Play-Offs with a spring in their step, as Barnsley did last season whereas others will be treading warily having seen the chance of automatic promotion slip from their grasp, just as Accrington Stanley did in the very last minute of their league campaign. Then over the last two weekends in May the fate of the six finalists will be decided at Wembley with all the accompanying agony and ecstasy.

The Agony & The Ecstasy by Richard Foster is available here for just £12.99



As 2016 draws to a close we asked The Agony & The Ecstasy author, Richard Foster, to give us an overview of how this season's Play-Off runners and riders are shaping up.

As we have heard on countless occasions all three divisions of the Football League are a slog. The relentless schedule of 46 matches, which barely offers a chance to rest and recuperate throughout the season, is a test of strength and depth as much as it is of quality. Then of course there is the added dimension of the Play-Offs for a dozen clubs who have to gather themselves for the vicissitudes of this perpetually dramatic version of Russian roulette that reach their climax at Wembley in May.

With the mid-point for each division almost reached, it is time to assess the likely contenders in what will be the 30th anniversary of their introduction and those that might be dreading it and others who will be relishing the prospect. Looking at the tables from this stage of last season nine of the clubs who qualified for the Play-Offs were already in the top 8 of their respective divisions and this is a regular pattern so it is safe to assume the majority of this year’s semi-finalists are already there or thereabouts. By contrast last season’s surprise packages Barnsley were rock bottom of League One and AFC Wimbledon were beginning their rise up the League Two table from 13th and so Shrewsbury and Mansfield should take heart, all is not lost. 

Starting with the Championship, Newcastle seemed destined to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking and as their only experience of the Play-Offs was a semi-final defeat to Sunderland they will be desperately keen to go up automatically. The same will be true of Brighton who have suffered three semi-final failures in the last four years. Reading and Leeds are teams that both have an unhappy record, having contested three Finals each but still no promotions. By contrast Huddersfield have prospered with three promotions from eight attempts but they have never been involved in Championship Play-Offs. Meanwhile all of Derby’s six appearances have been in the second tier where they have gained one solitary promotion. Sheffield Wednesday will have painful memories of last year’s Final loss to Hull but will hope to bounce back like Middlesbrough did the previous year and they would want to emulate their only other Play-Offs experience, a win in 2005. Both Birmingham and Norwich have secured one Play-Offs promotion, with the Blues beating the Canaries back in 2002 whilst Norwich beat Middlesbrough in 2015.

In League One Scunthorpe have a reasonable record with two promotions out of seven in 1999 and 2009. The same cannot be said of Sheffield United who will have a morbid fear of the Play-Offs having the joint worst record of eight attempts, four Finals and still not one promotion. Bolton and Bradford have both notched up two successful campaigns whilst Rochdale are still to taste triumph in their three campaigns. Peterborough boast the best record in this division with three promotions from four attempts and will be keen to revenge their only Play-Offs loss to date against Leyton Orient in the 2014 semi-final.  Fleetwood Town are one of only five teams in the League who have a 100% record after their 2014 success over Burton. Southend have clocked up two promotions and beat Wycombe on penalties in their last Final appearance in 2015.

League Two leaders Plymouth suffered at the hands of AFC Wimbledon last year but did win their only other Final back in 1995. Carlisle are relative novices having lost both their semi-finals to date. Doncaster’s finest hour in their recent history was their victory over Leeds in 2008 League One Final, which is their only appearance. Portsmouth lost out to Plymouth in the semi-finals last season, which mirrored their only other appearance in 1993 when they also lost 3-2 on aggregate. Luton’s only experience of the Play-Offs ended in a semi-final defeat to Crewe in 1997. Wycombe won their first Play-Offs in 1994 under Martin O’Neill but have failed in their subsequent three attempts. Blackpool are still the only club out of 96 to have been involved since 1987 to have won the Play-Offs in all three divisions. Barnet would need to improve from their three semi-final failures whilst Cambridge would want to replicate their solitary triumph in 1990 when they became the first team to win a Wembley Play-Offs Final courtesy of a Dion Dublin goal.

There will be the odd club that appears out of nowhere to appear in the Play-Offs picture, which is one of the main attractions of the system as it provides a route to a successful season for nearly every club at this stage of the season. As the race hots up over the coming months nerves will become frayed and the hopes of fans realised and dashed in equal measure. Welcome to The Agony & The Ecstasy.

The Agony & The Ecstasy is available here for the discounted price of just £12.99, order quickly if needed in time for Christmas!