About The Author
Duncan Hamilton is an author and newspaper journalist. He lives in the Yorkshire Dales.
He is the only writer to have won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year twice. Provided You Don't Kiss Me won the award in 2007; as a young journalist for the Nottingham Evening Post, Hamilton followed the reign of Nottingham Forest's legendary manager Brian Clough, including the club's two European Cup wins in the 1970s.
He won the award again in 2009 for his biography of Harold Larwood, the England bowler most closely associated with the infamous 'bodyline' tour of Australia in 1932-3. He was also shortlisted in 2010 for A Last English Summer, in which he reflects on the past, present and future of cricket, set against the backdrop of a year as a spectator.
He has also written The Unreliable Life of Harry the Valet, the story of the audacious theft of the Duchess of Sutherland's priceless jewellery collection in 1898, and The Footballer Who Could Fly, which reflects upon some of the game's greatest players and how football was the only bond he found with his father.
His latest book is Immortal, a biography of George Best publishing to coincide with the 50th anniversary of his debut for Manchester United. Hamilton chronicles the dizzying fame that Best's unique abilities granted him and the decline that led to his premature death, but most of all, the book is a tribute to the mercurial skills that see Best remembered as one of the greatest footballers the world has ever seen.
Here Duncan recommends the very best football books his years of reading on the topic have uncovered. He suggests books by the doyen of football journalists, Brian Glanville, a peerless book on football tactics and David Winner's appreciation of the total football practised by the Dutch national team of the 1970s. He also recommends two books that are sadly out of print, although second-hand copies are available through Foyles marketplace: Journey to Wembley by Brian James and Pardon Me for Living by Geoffrey Green. He says:
James is on the FA Cup trail in 1976-77. He begins with a non-League club in Devon and is eventually inseparable from Liverpool's quest for the treble that season. I loved it when it first came out. I love it now. Green, the football correspondent for The Times, quotes Walt Whitman on the first page of his autobiography: 'I am a man; I contain multitudes'. Green was exactly like that - and he could write, too. I met him a few times when I was too young to appreciate his great talent properly.