If you’re looking for a gift for Dad this Father’s Day, here’s five books he’s sure to love. Each has featured in the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Awards, the world’s most valuable literary sports-writing prize.

Graham Sharpe, who set up the Awards 34 years ago, chooses five sporting greats:

  1. True Blue: The Oxford Boat Race Mutiny by Daniel Topolski. Available from Amazon
  2. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby. Available from Waterstones or Amazon
  3. The Miracle Of Castel Di Sangro by Joe McGinniss. Available from Blackwell’s or Amazon
  4. It’s Not About The Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong. Available from WHSmith or Amazon
  5. Swell, A Waterbiography by Jenny Landreth. Available from Blackwell’s or Waterstones

Five great books from the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Awards, by Graham Sharpe

Our first winner in 1989 set the bar high for future years, entitled ‘True Blue’ and telling the dramatic story of its sub-title, The Oxford Boat Race Mutiny. Written by brilliant Oxford and Olympic team rowing coach, Daniel Topolski, and talented thriller writer Patrick Robinson, this is the story of a rowing rebellion in probably the world’s best-known water-borne race, which resulted in the American mutineers quitting and leaving their inexperienced replacements up a creek without a proverbial paddle. A thoroughly deserving winner which became a must-read tome.

Nick Hornby’s career took off as ‘Fever Pitch’ created a genre of its own. Was it a novel? An autobiography? A ‘faction’? This tale of one man’s devotion to his favourite football team was about Hornby and Arsenal, but could have been about myself and Luton Town – or you and your own favourite club. A phenomenal break-through book.

My own favourite sports book, ‘The Miracle of Castel Di Sangro’ by American writer Joe McGinniss, is an incredible tale of achievement, corruption, and tragedy at an obscure, lower-division Italian football club, told by a man who experienced all of those elements at first-hand. It is the finest book about sport I have ever been privileged to read.

‘It’s Not About The Bike’, co-authored by Lance Armstrong and Sally Jenkins was, at the time, felt to be an inspirational story, but as was subsequently remarked “The book now stands as a testament to Armstrong’s capacity to delude himself and deceive his fans.” It remains a compelling read.

Jenny Landreth’s excellent book, ‘Swell’ became and remained a particular favourite of mine. The quality and originality of the subject matter shone a light on a previously unchronicled aspect of swimming’s history.  It explains entertainingly how swimming in the 19th century was almost exclusively a male domain, but how some liquid-loving suffragettes eventually managed to demand and achieve a watery equality. In the process of immersing herself in the story she brought it to the attention of many – including Jo Brand, who declared: “If you love swimming you’ll love this. If you hate swimming, you’ll still love this.”

To see more award-winning book ideas for Dad, visit https://news.williamhill.com/sport/sports-book-of-the-year