Footballers Lit

Footballers’ favourite books

Wigan defender Arjan de Zeeuw picked ‘The Gruffalo’ as his favourite book

The annual list of footballers’ favourites books has thrown up the usual mixed bag of literary works.
This year’s selections can pretty much be split into three categories: kids books, sporting autobiographies and high-brow novels.

Arsenal’s eccentric goalkeeper Jens Lehmann selects modern classic ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini, while Manchester United striker Alan Smith picks motorbike racer Valentino Rossi’s memoirs ‘What if I Had Never Tried it?’.

Meanwhile, Bolton’s veteran midfielder Gary Speed opts for ‘Winter In Madrid’ by CJ Sansom, a book which drew praise from the Independent newspaper for the “the non-pareil evocations of time and place which anchor the characters with satisfying precision”.

But Chelsea’s Wayne Bridge shunned the serious stuff and went for ‘Horrid Henry and the Football Fiend’.

Francesca Simon’s book apparently has nothing to do with Arsenal’s Thierry but instead tells the tale of the eponymous hero’s attempts to win the class football match by fair means or foul.

The list was compiled by Premier League Reading Stars – a scheme set up jointly by the Natural Literacy Trust, Arts Council England, Football Foundation and the Premier League to encourage inspire families to read more.

Jens Lehmann (Arsenal) The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Steven Davis (Aston Villa) Back from the Brink – Paul McGrath
Brad Friedel (Blackburn) Fantastic Football Poems – John Foster
Gary Speed (Bolton) Winter in Madrid – CJ Sansom
Ben Thatcher (Charlton) The Tiger Who Came to Tea – Judith Kerr
Wayne Bridge (Chelsea) Horrid Henry and the Football Fiend – Francesca Simon
Tim Cahill (Everton) My Autobiography – Shane Warne
Liam Rosenior (Fulham) Fungus The Bogeyman – Raymond Briggs
Jermaine Pennant (Liverpool) Private Peaceful – Michael Morpurgo
Nedum Onuoha (Man City) It’s Not About The Bike – Lance Armstrong
Alan Smith (Man Utd) What if I Had Never Tried it? – Valentino Rossi
Chris Riggott (Middlesbrough) Action Replay – SW Parry
Steven Taylor (Newcastle) Tamar – Mal Peet
David James (Portsmouth) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Marcus Hahnemann (Reading) Without Remorse – Tom Clancy
Craig Short (Sheffield United) Angels and Demons – Dan Brown
Ledley King (Tottenham) Krindlekrax – Phillip Ridley
Malky Mackay (Watford) The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
Robert Green (West Ham) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Arjan De Zeeuw (Wigan) The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. SubtleBlade
    Mar 30, 2007 @ 07:23:52

    So, that makes Craig Short’s selection a kid’s book then? Certainly doesn’t fit in the other categories…

    sulz: haha, wise guy. 😉 i take it you hated the da vinci code?


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