CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT
By Phil Holmes Jr and Phil Holmes Sr
This is the long awaited biography of Great Britain and Leeds rugby league legendary ‘quiet man’ John Holmes. Uniquely told by his brother and nephew, it is littered with anecdotes and reminiscences from friends and former team mates and is the definitive guide to the life of one of the code’s true greats. Paperback, 288 pages.
The absolute local boy made good, Kirkstall-b￼orn John Holmes will forever be an icon at his beloved Headingley; his exceptional, distinguished service in a glorious double-testimonial career seeing him become Leeds Rugby League’s longest serving player. Holmes honed his talents on a school playground with his elder brothers, learning and refining his abilities in the ultimate school of hard knocks to become the most durable and, arguably, best ever to don the colours he so cherished. A majestic ball handler, able to unlock any defence, he was a superb cover tackler and, perhaps most importantly, had a supreme rugby intelligence. Not that such influence was planned, his genius was instinctive. In a glorious 21 year career, he won every honour in the game, appearing in 625 matches for the Loiners including 19 finals and was the architect of victory in the majority of them. In 1972 he was integral to the Great Britain side that triumphed in the World Cup. It was a mark of the esteem with which he was held that, at barely a few days notice after his passing at the tragically young age of 57 in late September 2009, over 100 ex-players gathered on the pitch in silent tribute to him. His long awaited story, uniquely told by his brother and nephew, is littered with anecdotes and reminiscences from friends and former team mates and is the definitive guide to the life of one of the code’s true greats.
By Cameron Fleming
￼Yorkshire Football: A History is the story of club football, but told from a distinctly white rose viewpoint. It captures intriguing, surprising and tragic events, and is filled with inspiring characters from the origins of the code to the present day. The triumphs and tribulations of every professional team from the old three Ridings are featured – from Hull to Barnsley, Bradford City and Doncaster, via Leeds to Rotherham and all points beyond. Paperback, 320 pages.
￼Yorkshire Football: A History is the story of club football, but from a distinctly white rose viewpoint. It captures intriguing, surprising and tragic events, and is filled with inspired characters from all the teams in the county, from the origins of the code through to its current metamorphosis. Club football was born in Sheffield in 1857 and sparred with rugby for supremacy elsewhere in Yorkshire before flourishing. As such, the white rose county has often been at the heart of the sport’s development; its clubs and administrators helping to mould and shape the most popular game. Far more than a mere chronicle of records set, trophies won, promotions gained or relegations endured, the book offers an enduring impression of how Yorkshire football has trailblazed its way through the last 150 or so years. The triumphs and tribulations of every professional team from the old three Ridings are featured – from Hull to Barnsley, Bradford City and Doncaster, via Leeds to Rotherham and all points beyond. Surveying the history of the game from the vantage points of Moors, Dales and Wolds of England’s largest – and proudest – county offers a unique perspective.
By John Ryan
With a foreword by Kevin Keegan
“An amazing journey…” – Sir Alex Ferguson
From the making of Melinda Messenger to t￼he dramatic rescue of England’s most over-achieving football club Doncaster Rovers, entrepreneur, pioneer and self-made millionaire John Ryan continues to live his dream. This is an autobiography that carries a special health warning: it may make you fall back in love with football – and life! Paperback, 416 pages.
From the making of Melinda Messenger to t￼he dramatic rescue of England’s most over-achieving football club Doncaster Rovers, entrepreneur, pioneer and self-made millionaire John Ryan continues to live his dream. Raised on a modest council estate, Ryan was a driving force in the transformation of cosmetic surgery from controversial luxury to one of Britain’s fastest-expanding industries. As such, he helped to put smiles on thousands of female faces and has seen more breasts than the editor of The Sun. And, remarkably, he did it all in order to fulfil a promise to become the most successful chairman in the history of a football club that had, at best, long been the butt of jokes and, at worst, on the verge of extinction. In typically amusing and endearingly honest style, John Ryan reveals how seeing beyond hugely difficult circumstances has been key to almost unprecedented success in two very different fields; along with creating his own personal paradise. Laced with genuine, heart-warming tributes from some of the biggest names in the beautiful game, Ryan pulls no punches with his forthright views on a sport in which the gulf between players and fans grows almost daily. His message will resonate with the thoughts of huge numbers of supporters throughout the land who worry where the game is leading. Dare to Dream carries a special health warning: it may make you fall back in love with football – and life!
CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT
By Andy Hampson
With an introduction by the Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP
Mr Rugby Leigh is the autobiography of￼ Tommy Sale, a rugby league hero, who devoted more than 80 years of his life to the sport – as a player, coach, administrator and fan. Beautifully written by Press Association journalist and lifelong Leigh fan Andy Hampson, this is nevertheless a story about much more than rugby. Paperback, 256 pages.
Mr Rugby Leigh is the autobiography of￼ Tommy Sale, a rugby league hero, who has devoted more than 80 years of his life to the sport – as a player, coach, administrator and fan. Since his initial involvement as a scoreboard operator for his beloved Leigh at the age of 10, Tommy’s enthusiasm for the 13-a-side code has rarely wavered. He broke into Leigh’s first team as a 20-year-old and became their first post-War captain. Away from the playing action, he spent month after back-breaking month overseeing the construction of the club’s former stadium, Hilton Park. And that dedication continued after retirement when, among a string of other roles, he triggered an audacious bid for all-time great Alex Murphy. Tommy Sale has remained at the heart of the Leigh club into his nineties. He still serves diligently as timekeeper and president. Only the Second World War interrupted Tommy’s love affair with rugby league, and his time at Leigh is punctuated only by a brief stint at Warrington and one glorious, career-defining spell at Widnes. Yet this is a story about much more than rugby. It tells of how one man can go from humble beginnings to being a pillar of society. Tommy Sale overcame an abusive father, survived the horrors of war and suffered intense personal tragedy. He has been a shopkeeper, council official, teacher and headmaster. Told with characteristic warmth and modesty, Mr Rugby Leigh celebrates the life of a rugby league legend.
By Dave Hadfield
With an introduction by Adrian Morley
Despite England’s disappointment, the 2008 Rugby League World Cup in Australia wasn’t all bad. Far from it. For one thing it allowed best-selling sportswriter & broadcaster Dave Hadfield to gather material for Down & Under, his long-awaited follow-up to Up & Over – in which a journey through England’s rugby league land was chronicled. This time, the glamorous world of Australian rugby league comes under the microscope as Hadfield unleashes his wit, wisdom and wanderlust on the land of Ned Kelly and Wally Lewis. A great read? You betcha! Paperback, 216 pages.
Down and Under reviewed in the Independent – Sunday 14 February 2010 By Simon Redfern When it comes to World Cups, rugby league has a long way to go before it can compete with the football equivalent in capturing the imagination of the British public. But the 13-a-side version has its charms, especially if you approach it with an open mind and a well-developed thirst, as did Dave Hadfield of this parish when attending the 2008 tournament in Australia. While events on the pitch get due mention, the real charm lies in Hadfield’s Bill Brysonesque take on the people and places he encounters along the way. His mantra is “Don’t let the rugby spoil the trip,” which is just as well given England’s dismal performances, and he clearly loves Oz. Whether discoursing on the fine distinctions between hoons, larrikins and bogans in the pantheon of Australian layabouts or musing on the country’s unique beer measures, he is an amusing companion, the kind of bloke you’d actively seek out in a pub rather than avoid. Cheers for the book, Dave; the next schooner of grog is on me.