Publishers to score with World Cup book sales

When Wayne Rooney became the latest victim of the curse of the metatarsal, it was not just football fans that were left pondering an uncertain future.

Publishers are preparing for a World Cup sales bonanza this summer and expectations of selling an estimated two million books - worth at least £10m - depend largely on England's success.

Publishers hope the blockbusters will come after the month-long tournament, which starts on 9 June, thanks to big-name player biographies awaiting the inclusion of - preferably heroic - World Cup tales.

With football books accounting for at least half of the sports sector, an England triumph at the Berlin final would dwarf the publishing phenomena produced by the World Cup-winning England rugby team and last summer's Ashes cricket success.

Poised to go to the printers are books about most of England's star players, including Rooney who made sports publishing history recently by signing a £5m deal with HarperCollins for five books over 12 years.

His editors are sweating over the player's fitness and are ready to postpone the 24 July publication date should the 20-year-old striker play no part in the tournament. Almost every England star has a book out later this summer, and Rooney's Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand's promises much as it will deal for the first time with his recent season-long exile because of a missed drugs test.

Steven Gerrard, whose stock has risen even higher following Saturday's FA Cup performance, has also put pen to paper, along with Frank Lampard.

The England defender Ashley Cole, who has a pop star girlfriend and recently launched legal action against two newspapers over gay slurs, may be left with little to tell if England perform poorly as he has missed much of the season through injury.

Theo Walcott, the 17-year-old named in the World Cup squad despite not having played in the Premiership, is thought to have rejected a book deal until his prospects for making an appearance become clear.

"An awful lot hinges on the outcome and for that reason we are holding back on the autumn titles," said Roddy Bloomfield, veteran sports editor of Hodder & Stoughton, which has recently published books from England cricket captain, Freddie Flintoff, and former England football manager, Sir Bobby Robson.

Michael Doggart, publishing director of HarperCollins sports division, which has signed both Rooney and Cole, said: "A certain amount depends on how the team perform and we will benefit if [they do well]. Putting that aside, the quality of the story is important as is their personality and their popularity. It also helps greatly if they have a constituency beyond their clubs. It is also important to react quickly if England do well, as we saw with the national rugby and cricket teams."

There are also football titles not reliant on Sven Goran Eriksson guiding the national team to its first tournament success in 40 years. Industry experts believe the best-selling book will be from Paul Gascoigne, the former England star, who will lay bare his addictions in Being Gazza next month.

Apart from the quadrennial editions of football quiz and joke books, and branded publications from Match of the Day and football magazines, this World Cup sees some new departures.

Among the nostalgic titles to coincide with the 40th anniversary of England's dramatic World Cup defeat of Germany is a book on the triumphant England manager Sir Alf Ramsey by the journalist Leo McKinstry.

Reflecting changes in the national team's following, there are also fewer hooligan confessionals. Mark Perryman, a fans' group leader, hopes to plug a gap in the market for the growing number of England fans who want to read about themselves. His book, Ingerland: Travels of a Football Nation, charts evolution of the modern England fan.

He believes there is a niche market for the work as 90 per cent of books follow events on the pitch or hooliganism. "At Italia 90 there were fewer than 10,000 at the semi-final. There are expected to be 100,000 in Germany - a tenfold rise in 16 years."

Top reads for football fans this summer

* THINKING FAN'S GUIDE TO THE WORLD CUP Various authors (HarperCollins)

An upmarket bluffer's guide which is at pains to point out it is "not strictly a football book". No sports hacks allowed, instead there is a contributor from each of the 32 participating countries. The Arsenal fan Nick Hornby ponders the dual loyalties to club and country, a former Mexican foreign minister invites George Bush to a game and a New Yorker writer covers the World Cup underdogs - and England opponents - Trinidad and Tobago.

* WAYNE ROONEY AUTOBIOGRAPHY By Hunter Davies (HarperCollins)

The one-footed wonder has committed to HarperCollins for the next 12 years for £5m in the biggest deal in sports publishing. But his likely exclusion from the World Cup due to a broken foot will be a headache to ghost-writer Hunter Davies. The first of five books was to have hit the shelves at the end of July but those planned chapters on Rooney's tournament experiences may have to be ditched.

* INGERLAND: TRAVELS OF A FOOTBALL NATION By Mark Perryman (Simon & Schuster)

Charts the evolution of the England fan from rioting scourge of football internationals in the 1980s to the legions of largely well behaved, multiethnic supporters at Euro 2004. Perryman, an articulate fans' group leader, interviews around 100 fans and bases his work on decades travelling with the "Three Lions" brigade. His target market is the growing band of England fans - around 100,000 are expected in Germany.


The insider's tip for the best-selling of this summer's football-related books from Paul Gascoigne. Published when England play Sweden, modern English football's best known tortured genius tells it warts and all. A follow-up to Gazza's bestseller My Story, it will cover his problems with drink, bulimia, gambling, attention deficit disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. Its emotionally raw content mean it is expected to sell 500,000 copies.


Unashamedly blokeish, and not the most politically-correct of titles, borrowed from the Second World War-themed sitcom about the Home Guard. An apparent backlash against football's literati, this is about "crap keepers, disgusting kits and worst tackles". It also explores Anglo-German relations through football. The book's title is also vying to outdo Embrace, who recorded the official team song, to become the unofficial England World Cup anthem.

* THE ITALIAN JOB By Gianluca Vialli and Gabriele Marcotti (Bantam Press)

The former Chelsea player and manager joins with the international sports journalist Marcotti to contrast the idiosyncrasies of the English and Italian games. Perhaps lacking the mass-market appeal of other titles, the book is, though, an early contender for this year's literary prizes in sport, and features a long list of high- profile contributors. Expect analyses of sociological and cultural variations rather than match tactics.

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment


film review
Arts and Entertainment
Relocation, relocation: Zawe Ashton travels the pathway to Northampton
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most