11 best sports autobiographies

From dealing with pressure on the pitch to overcoming demons in their personal lives, IndyBest finds sports stars whose memoirs pack a punch

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The Independent Online

Whatever sports you're into, these books, all published in the last six months, make for absorbing reads.

{1} Gareth Thomas: Proud: Ebury, £20

 

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Since becoming Britain’s first openly-gay professional rugby player in 2009, Thomas has been something of a pin-up for the LBGT community. But it was not an easy path to contentment, as he lays bare in this accomplished, moving effort.

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{2} Nicole Cooke: The Breakaway: Ebury, £20

 

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Before the likes of Laura Trott was making headlines for women’s road racing, Cooke was battling to give the sport the recognition she felt it deserved. Her grit and determination, spanning from childhood to the London Olympics, radiates from the page in this account of achieving in a male-dominated arena.

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{3} Ian Poulter: No Limits: Quercus, £20

 

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The media has seized upon snappy dresser Poulter’s “rags to riches” story. But the one-time market trader who became a Ryder Cup master’s story has impact when it comes from the horse’s mouth.  His revealing tale is an absorbing one for golf aficionados.

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{4} Our Life on Ice: The Autobiography: Simon & Schuster, £20

 

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From their gold medal-winning routine in 1984 to eight years judging Dancing on Ice, Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean have come as a professional pair. This shines a light on their individual personal struggles and how their – entirely unromantic – partnership has worked for four decades in the figure skating business. Fans will love it.

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{5} Roy Keane: The Second Half: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20

 

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To use a sporting cliché, this blisteringly honest book  - written in collaboration with Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle — is a tale of two halves. An account of the driven Premier League star’s career, then an insight into life as a manager. Keane’s self-deprecating wit, combined with a take-no-prisoners approach, make for an entertaining read.

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{6} Jimmy White: Second Wind: Trinity Mirror sport media, £20 

 

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Snooker might not be your usual bag, but White’s searingly honest account of how drugs cost him ten world titles and nearly his life, is a gripping one. “The Whirlwind” airs his dirty laundry and leaves you to make up your own mind on his legacy.

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{7} Luis Suarez: Crossing the Line : Headline, £20

 

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When you’ve gone from the street football of Montevideo to the excellence of Ajax, married your childhood sweetheart, been banned for racism and biting, almost dragged Liverpool to the title, been thrown out of the World Cup, and joined Barcelona, you’ve got a story to tell. Suarez delivers his brilliantly and honestly.

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{8} Carl Froch: Froch The Autobiography: Ebury, £20.87

 

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Froch has never been scared to take on the hardest opponents in the boxing ring. Here, alongside his in-depth analysis of fights – including  his much-hyped win against George Groves to– you see a softer side, loyal to friends, family and trainer Rob McCracken.

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{9} KP: The Autobiography : Sphere, £20

 

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Former England cricket captain Kevin Pietersen takes a no-holds-barred approach to telling the stories - and apportioning blame - for his memorable moments, including being dropped before the failed 2013/14 Ashes series. Like him or not, KP’s book is compulsive reading.

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{10} Brian O’Driscoll: The Test: Penguin, £20

 

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With Ireland a favourite to take the Six Nations, now’s an apt time to delve into the life of the national side’s former rugby captain. The likeable O’Driscoll covers his turmoil over the suicide of his best friend, along with his own surprising on-pitch struggles.
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11. Geoffrey Boycott: The Corridor Of Certainty: Simon & Schuster, £20

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The batsman-turned-commentator is always forthright on his beloved sport but here you get a unusually candid insight into his life away from cricket, notably a harrowing account of his recent cancer treatment. You sense the impact the illness had on his family in this engaging book that reads almost as if Boycott was sat next you telling the story.
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Verdict
For books that transcend sport and are moving and thought-provoking memoirs, try Gareth Thomas' Proud or Nicole Cooke's The Breakaway.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing

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