The longlist for William Hill’s ‘34th Sports Book of the Year Award’ has been revealed, with 15 books making the cut. 

Genres covered include hard-hitting autobiographies and memoirs, with football the dominant sport. Accounts of racism and sexism and encounters with iconic sporting figures were some of the key topics of discussion in this year’s list.

Three female authors made the cut, with retired track and field athlete Anyika Onuora, The Guardian’s football writer Suzanne Wrack, and former Irish international footballer Clare Shine all in the running. The story of female athlete Beryl Burton, who dominated the world of cycling, also features in the longlist.

Former sports stars and first-time authors Patrice Evra and Steve Thompson have also made the list for the Award, which has a £30,000 cash prize for the winner.

The William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2022 Longlist:

  • Be Good, Love Brian: Growing Up with Brian Clough by Craig Bromfield
  •  The Master: The Brilliant Career of Roger Federer by Christopher Clarey
  •  1999: Manchester United, the Treble and All That by Matt Dickinson 
  • Le Fric: Family, Power and Money: The Business of the Tour de France by Alex Duff
  •  I Love This Game by Patrice Evra
  •  England Football: The Biography: 1872-2022 by Paul Hayward
  • God is Dead: The Rise and Fall of Frank Vandenbroucke, Cycling’s Great Wasted Talent by Andy McGrath
  • My Hidden Race by Anyika Onuora
  • Scoring Goals in the Dark by Clare Shine with Gareth Maher
  • Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorised) Biography of Golf’s Most Colourful Superstar by Alan Shipnuck
  • Expected Goals: The Story of how Data Conquered Football and Changed the Game Forever by Rory Smith
  • Unforgettable: Rugby, Dementia and the Fight of My Life by Steve Thompson
  • Beryl: In Search of Britain’s Greatest Athlete, Beryl Burton by Jeremy Wilson
  • Two Brothers: The Life and Times of Bobby and Jackie Charlton by Jonathan Wilson
  • A Woman’s Game: The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Women’s Football by Suzanne Wrack

Matt Williams, sports broadcaster and Awards judge, said: “There were many fantastic books which I would pick up and re-read over and over again that didn’t make the cut, which highlights just how impressive and well-written the books that made the longlist are. 

“Racism and discrimination in sport, women’s football and the devastating effects of early onset dementia are just some of the diverse themes our longlist authors have covered, and are all huge topics in today’s sporting industry.

“It’s been truly an honour to have been part of the judging team for this year’s William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award and be able to read so many inspirational books from the most talented authors, which all should be recognised for their great literature. I look forward to seeing which of our longlist comes out on top.”

The first William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award took place in 1989, earning it the title of the longest-established competition in the industry.

Last year, cricket icon Michael Holding won the award for “Why We Kneel, How We Rise” – a first-of-a-kind expose on the experiences and treatment of black athletes.   

Notable winners of the award include Nick Hornby, Marcus Trescothick and Brian Moore, as well as three-time SBOTY winner Duncan Hamilton.

The shortlist will be unveiled on 27 October, with the winner declared on 1 December 2022 at an official award ceremony at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, London. The Award has a £30,000 cash prize for the winner and the shortlisted authors will each receive £3,000 and a leather-bound copy of their book.

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