Newsletters Sports Law 6th Apr 2020

Sports’ Books & Films: OUR TOP 10

Whilst it may not be a pre-requisite to love sport in order to practise sports law, for the vast majority of us there is almost certainly some correlation between the two.  So in these troubled times with no games to go to and no live sport to watch on TV the Sports’ Law team at 2 Hare Court brings you our top 10 sports’ books and films.

The list has been compiled following a ballot of all of our number asking each for her / his top three sports’ books and films.  We would like to be able to tell you that everyone’s votes were accorded equal weight, but in every organisation there is no accounting for (poor) taste, so one or two members’ views have been deliberately ignored; after all, who, apart from MUFC fans living in Hampshire, wants to read Man. United’s year books?



  1. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Murakami’s memoir, translated by Philip Gabriel, about his interest and participation in long-distance running.

  1. A Lot of Hard Yakka: Triumph and Torment – A County Cricketer’s Life by Simon Hughes

Hughes’ autobiographical look at the ups and downs, the lifestyle, the practical jokes and sheer hard yakka that make such a poorly paid, insecure job appeal to so many.

  1. The man who hated football by Will Buckley

A family man struggling to reconcile his shambolic personal life with the job of football reporting he has grown to hate.

  1. Managing My Life: My Autobiography by Alex Ferguson

Volume 1 of Ferguson’s life and life in football up to the year 2000 written with the late, great Hugh McIlvanney; an infinitely superior read to volume 2.

  1. Federer and Me: A Story of Obsession by William Skidelsky

A story of tennis, obsession and Roger Federer.

  1. Out of my comfort zone: The Autobiography by Steve Waugh

A frank look into a unique life in cricket, a journey into Waugh’s life on and off the field.

  1. Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks by Mick Foley

Autobiography of former wrestler Mick Foley which details his life from his upbringing in New York to winning the WWF Championship from The Rock in December 1998.

  1. The Damned Utd by David Peace

Peace’s award winning novel of Brian Clough’s tumultuous 44 days in charge of Leeds United.

  1. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

Simpson, recounts his and Simon Yates’ successful but disastrous and nearly fatal climb of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.

  1. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

Hornby’s account of how he fell in love with the beautiful game and the club that played it so beautifully.



  1. Escape to Victory (1981)

A group of Allied prisoners of war agree to play a football match against their Nazi captors, only to use it as a means to escape.

  1. Bend it like Beckham (2002)

Heart-stopping talent doesn’t seem to be enough when your parents want you to hang up your football boots, find a nice boyfriend and learn to cook the perfect chapatti.

  1. Chariots of Fire (1981)

The true story of two runners competing for gold in the 1924 Olympics.

  1. Rocky (1976)

Sylvester Stallone stars as Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer who gets a chance to fight heavyweight champion Apollo Creed.

  1. Happy Gilmore (1996)

Adam Sandler plays Happy Gilmore, an unsuccessful ice hockey player who discovers a newfound talent for golf.

  1. Moneyball (2011)

A biographical sports drama detailing the Oakland Athletics baseball team’s 2002 season as General Manager, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and Assistant General Manager (Jonah Hill) attempt to assemble a competitive team despite the franchise’s limited budget.

  1. Coach Carter (2005)

Samuel L. Jackson plays Ken Carter, the controversial head coach of his old high school’s basketball team, who puts school before sports and is determined that the team excel in the classroom as well as on the court.

  1. Field of Dreams (1989)

Kevin Costner stars as a farmer who hears voices and interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; he does, and Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919 Chicago White Sox arrive.

  1. The Blind Side (2009)

The story of a homeless and traumatised boy who became an All-American football player and first-round National Football League draft pick.  Sandra Bullock stars as the formidable woman who takes him in and gives him a chance at a better life.

  1. When We Were Kings (1996)

Documentary film about ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in 1974.  The film was pieced together over 20 years, chronicling the integration of sport and racial politics.

There is no way that this list will please all of you.  We can already hear your indignation at certain omissions and inclusions, so don’t be shy – join in.  Please send your top three sports books and films to Rebecca and we will compile the readers’ top 10 from your responses.


Brian O’Neill QC and Rebecca Erkan-Bax


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