Top 10 Books About Arsenal
There have been quite a few books about Arsenal over the years, and some of them have been must-reads for Arsenal fans and fans of other teams, too. There are a large range of subjects—statistics on the club, its history, players' autobiographies and even some fiction based around Arsenal, too.
I'll attempt to list some of what I see as the best books about the team I love.
All of my favourite Arsenal books are in the list, as well as a few recommended to me by fellow Arsenal fans whose opinions I trust. The list may be numbered from one to 10, but it's by no means in order of preference.
Fever Pitch was Nick Hornby's first book in 1992, and it told the story of the one true love of the author's life. Of course that love was Arsenal, and he tries to reconcile the rest of his life with Arsenal in the book. It culminates with the fantastic night on May 26th, 1989 when Arsenal went to Anfield and won the league.
The book tells the tale of a man obsessed with Arsenal—the team is always on his mind. It's an absolute must-read for Arsenal fans, and fans of other clubs will surely see their own obsessions in the author's tale, too.
The book was made into a film in 1997, but it was a huge disappointment for Arsenal fans. The film became a love story between him and a woman, but the book was all about his love for football.
So Paddy Got Up
So Paddy Got Up is probably the newest Arsenal book on the market, but there's no doubt that it's a fantastic read. It's a collection of pieces by some of the very best writers on Arsenal. It was put together by the incomparable "arseblog," and there are 26 different chapters detailing the various contributors' opinions on Arsenal.
Those opinions range from pieces about the club's history to opinions on the present day set-up. There are items about players, tactics, fans, stadia and kits along with many others. It's an absolute must-read for any Arsenal addict, and I'm proud to say I know one of the contributors.
If there is a must-read book about the history of Arsenal, this is it. This book covers the first 67 years of Arsenal's history and it was written by Bernard Joy, who was a former Arsenal and England amateur footballer.
It starts all the way back in 1886 with the club's origins in Woolwich, and it details the move to north London and Highbury in 1913. The fantastically successful decade under Herbert Chapman and George Allison is detailed too, and the book ends with Arsenal winning another league title in 1953.
It's a book that any Arsenal fan should be proud to have on his bookshelf.
The Arsenal Stadium Mystery
The Arsenal Stadium Mystery is a book set 80 years ago, and is centered around Arsenal football club and Highbury. It's widely recognised as the first ever football novel, and it's basically a "whodunnit" set against the backdrop of a match between Arsenal and a fictional team called The Trojans.
There was a film of the same name a few years later, but it didn't capture the true insight of the football club and its players that the book did. Like so many other good books, it's a far better read than a trip to the movies or the DVD shop to watch the screen version.
For a more complete review of the book, check out the review on "A Cultured Left Foot."
Tony Adams was a legendary captain of Arsenal, and a statue of him now stands outside their new stadium. He made his Arsenal debut at the age of 17, and he very quickly became the club captain. He was idolised by Arsenal fans, but he struggled with alcoholism throughout his career.
It culminated in him spending some time in prison after crashing his car late at night while heavily under the influence of alcohol.
The book is a warts and all look at the career of a fantastic footballer, and the influence that his addiction had on his career and his life. It's an absolute must-read for Arsenal fans, but also for those who like to find any excuse to have a drink.
Seventy-One Guns is a book which profiles Arsenal's first double-winning season in 1970-71. It's not a run of the mill book which runs through every game the team played, though, as an awful lot of it comes directly from the people involved in winning that double.
The interviews with the players and staff involved in Arsenal's first double are what make this book so different and so good too.
Arsenal All for One
Arsenal All For One is a book all about the club's incredible unbeaten league campaign in 2003-04. It's a blow-by-blow and match-by-match account of Arsenal's achievement that season, and it's an achievement which might never be repeated by any club.
I know I always anxiously await each season until every team has lost at least one game to ensure Arsenal keep their unique distinction.
The author manages to keep his audience engaged with his personal accounts of each game, and it gives a taste of what it was like to attend Arsenal games that season. Sometimes it's not easy for fans who don't get to see the team play live to realise what the feeling is like, but this book gives an accurate account of that feeling.
Rebels for the Cause
As the title of the book suggests, Rebels for the Cause is about Arsenal players who have been that little bit different. The fans love players that they can see themselves in and who refuse to conform to the normal view of what a footballer should be.
This book contains interviews with 15 interviews with former players, and it's just the book for Arsenal fans looking for something different. Whether those players were hard men or had personal problems of their own, their stories make fascinating reading.
Football Ambassador: The Autobiography of an Arsenal Legend
Eddie Hapgood was the Tony Adams of the 1930s for Arsenal, and this book profiles his career with them.
He may not have played in the same position, but he was one of the stars of the era in which he won five league championships and two FA Cups with Arsenal. He also captained England on almost all of the 43 times that he played for them when England didn't play regularly.
In the modern era of overpaid and under-worked footballers, it's good to remember that there were players who played for the love of the game and weren't only in it for the money. This book was one of the gifts included in the club membership pack of 2010-11, and it is an excellent read for Arsenal fans.
Frank McLintock was the captain of Arsenal's double winning team of 1970-71, and his autobiography is a must-read for Arsenal fans. It tells the tale of his rise to success as a professional footballer through hard work and determination. He was the Tony Adams of his era in the Arsenal team, but when things turned sour, he was sold to QPR in 1973.
Mclintock made over 400 appearances for Arsenal during his nine years at the club, and he still supports them to this day. If a player could be counted on to always give everything he had for his team, then McLintock was that man.
His story is one that all Arsenal fans should read.
I haven't read all 10 of the books I have profiled, but for those that I haven't read I have listened to the opinions of other Arsenal fans that I know and trust. I can safely say that all 10 books are well worth reading for any Arsenal fan.