10 Footballers and their favourite novels REVEALED!

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Books – occasionally used by footballers

China Climate

After the weekend reminder about the wonderful works of fiction penned from delicate hands of Steve Bruce, The Spoiler got to thinking – what do footballers actually read?

Over the years, some of the biggest names have occasionally been forced to reveal their favourite novels, so grab a pen, because there are ten thrilling reads suggested by great players after the jump… 

Paul Robinson – The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin S Sharma

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It’s fair to say that goalkeepers probably have a bit more time to sit back and contemplate life than their team mates, hence presumably why Paul Robinson chose to delve into this spiritual self help book. It’s all about a high-flying lawyer who decides to pack it all in and go for a long walk around India in a bid to find himself. Whilst there he gets totally wasted with some gap year students, and has a tatt done on his foot. Perhaps… some of you might have already guessed that The Spoiler has not read this.

Jamie Carragher – War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

Soccer - UEFA Europa League - Fourth Round - Lille v Liverpool - Liverpool Training - Melwood Training Ground

To hear him savage the English language with a series of snorting sounds, throat hacking, and face twitching, you wouldn’t have Carragher down for much of a bookworm, and yet his favourite novel was the runner-up in the predigious Whitbread awards in 1982. Basically a kid’s book, it tells the story of a young boy inconveniently going to war to look for his beloved childhood nag, and it has since been adapted into a very popular stage play, in which the horses are replaced by thrilling life-size puppets that look almost exactly like real horses. Only they’re not. They’re people pretending.

Wayne Rooney – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling

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Nothing sticks in the craw quite like the sight of a grown man/woman sitting on public transport reading a Harry Potter book. It’s not for you. It’s for kids. Would it be okay for The Spoiler to sit sqealing with delight at The Very Hungry Caterpillar? No it would not. And yet, when Wayne Rooney declares that the first Harry Potter book is his favourite read of all time, it somehow just fits. At least he’s not spending all of his spare time dicking around with crayons.

David James – Moneyball by M Lewis

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Portsmouth v Chelsea - Fratton Park

Those who have enjoyed David James’ occasional newspaper columns will attest to a keen mind lurking beneath the impressive array of strange and unusual haircuts, so it’s no surprise that he likes to absorb himself in the detailed study of business theory and sport. This page-turner revolutionised the way American people looked at baseball, and even comes complete with the cumbersome sub-heading, “The Art of Winning an Unfair Game”. James also recommends The Hobbit.

Robert Green – The Iliad by Homer

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v West Ham United - Old Trafford

Should Joe Hart get the nod for the World Cup, you might yet find David James and Robert Green donning half-moon spectacles in the dugout, catching up on a few classics. Green tends to favour the really old ones – like this from around the eight century BC. It’s a sword and sandals romp set during the latter stages of the Trojan War, and it includes the rather fitting legend ofAchilles – now the scourge of many a footballer’s heel.

Ledley King – Krindlekrax by Phillip Ridley

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United - White Hart Lane

Another book for children, this was published in 2005, and tells the moving story of a young weakling who attempts to tame a massive crocodile that lives in the sewers on a diet of beans on toast. It’s a triumph over adversity tale, which Ledley presumably views as some kind of allegory about coming back from a series of football injuries to prove that you can still be a hero. But does it have a happy ending? Ledley’s career, not the book.

Jermaine Pennant – Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

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The second of three books by Michael Morpurgo on the list, it appears that the writer must be doing the rounds in the changing rooms. It focuses on the horrors of war, and life in the trenches. In football terms, those trenches would be dugouts, and the horrors could easily echo Pennant’s cruel Liverpool journey. A hunch suggests that Jermaine has since moved on to rip-roaring reads like A Place in the Sun: Buying Your Dream Home Abroad, and It’s Not About the Tapas.

Wayne Bridge – Horrid Henry and the Football Field by Francesca Simon

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Chelsea v Manchester City - Stamford Bridge

Rather fittingly, Wayne Bridge’s favourite book is about a particularly naughty young boy who is always up to no good behind everyone’s backs, and has been described by one reviewer of kiddy fiction as “monstrously selfish and greedy”. A young John Terry then.

John Terry – Cool! by Michael Morpurgo

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Chelsea v Aston Villa - Stamford Bridge

As with pretty much everyone mentioned on the list, it’s almost impossible to visualise John Terry taking the phone off the hook and enjoying a nice long read. It just doesn’t quite fit. Anyway, apparently he does, and his book of choice would be this story of a young boy in hospital, who can see everything that’s going on around him, but just can’t shake this bloody coma off. It guest stars Gianfranco Zola and the young sick lad is a Chelsea fan, which probably goes some way to explaining Terry’s seal of approval.

Rio Ferdinand – The BFG by Roald Dahl

Soccer - Carling Cup - Semi Final - Second Leg - Manchester United v Manchester City - Old Trafford

With an air of MTV cool about him, you might expect something a little bit edgier from Rio Ferdinand – perhaps some Bukowski, or Hubert Selby Jnr? – but no, when it comes to reading, Rio likes stories about enormous giants with magnificent ears sending sweet dreams to sleeping children. Unless this is all just a wind up. Rio, seriously now dude, is this another one of your hilarious “merks”?

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