The William Hill Sports Book Of The Year
The William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2018 Winners:
A Boy in the Water by Tom Gregory
& The Lost Soul of Eamonn Magee by Paul D. Gibson
It is with great pleasure that we announce that this year’s 30th anniversary William Hill Sports Book of the Year is awarded jointly to A Boy in the Water by Tom Gregory and Paul D. Gibson’s The Lost Soul of Eamonn Magee.
The first time the prize has been split in its 30-year history, this year’s neck-and-neck finish rewards two unique personal stories. A superb portrait of a troubled titan - one of the most gifted fighters to ever emerge from Ireland - The Lost Soul of Eamonn Magee is a brutal and unflinching examination of an embattled, damaged life, in and out of the ring. Meanwhile, Tom Gregory’s book breaks a lifetime of silence to tell his own story and that of his coach, John Bullet, the man who took him from a local swimming club to becoming the youngest person to ever swim the English Channel.
As befits a significant year in the history of the prize, the two winners represent the diversity and breadth of skill in contemporary sport’s writing. Significantly, these are personal stories rooted in place and time; stories that reflect the relationship between the individual and the wider community in which talent both thrives and comes undone.
Anyone who's ever seen or attended the PDC World Darts Championships knows that darts is no ordinary sport. Where else would you find world-class superstars, in the midst of a championship match, cultivating tomorrow's banging hangover? Join King ADZ as he dives headfirst into this tempestuous world, meeting former legends, future stars, dominant Internationals, the owners, the referees and of course the fans. Darts may be a simple game to many, but to most it's absolute mayhem.
Drawing on more than four hundred interviews with people from every corner of Woods' life - friends, family members, swing coaches, Tour pros and members of Woods's inner circle - Benedict and Keteyian construct a captivating psychological profile of an African-American child programmed by an attention-grabbing father and the original Tiger Mom to be the 'chosen one', to change not just the game of golf, but the world as well. But at what cost?
The Boy on the Shed is a story of love and fate. At 16, Paul Ferris becomes Newcastle United's youngest-ever first-teamer. Like many a tricky winger from Northern Ireland, he is hailed as 'the new George Best'. As a player and later a physio and member of the Magpies' managerial team, Paul's career acquaints him not only with Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and Bobby Robson, Ruud Gullit, Paul Gascoigne and Alan Shearer but also with injury, insecurity and disappointment. Written with brutal candour, dark humour and consummate style, The Boy on the Shed is a riveting and moving account of a life less ordinary.
For sixteen days in the summer of 1936, the world's attention turned to the German capital as it hosted the Olympic Games. Seen through the eyes of a cast of characters - Nazi leaders and foreign diplomats, athletes and journalists, nightclub owners and jazz musicians - Berlin 1936 plunges us into the high tension of this unfolding scene. During the sporting events the dictatorship was partially put on hold; here then, is a last glimpse of the vibrant and diverse life in Berlin in the 1920s and 30s that the Nazis aimed to destroy.
The incredible story of how one man inspired a nation of underdogs to achieve sporting greatness. It is late summer 2013. Ben Ryan, a red-haired, 40-something, spectacle-wearing Englishman, is given 20 minutes to decide whether he wants to coach Fiji's rugby sevens team, with the aim of taking them to the nation's first-ever Olympic medal. He has never been to Fiji. There has been no discussion of contracts or salary. But he knows that no one plays rugby like the men from these isolated Pacific islands. Ryan says yes. And with that simple word he sets in motion an extraordinary journey that ends in Olympic gold.
Eamonn Magee is widely regarded as one of the most gifted fighters to ever emerge from Ireland. Yet, despite becoming a world champion in 2003, such was his genius it will always be considered a career unfulfilled. The Lost Soul of Eamonn Magee is a uniquely intimate telling of a barely believable life story. It is a compelling story filled with heartache and laughter, violence and love, unthinkable lows and fleeting, glorious highs. Eamonn's is a story for which the term 'brutally honest' might have been coined.
Eltham, South London. 1984: the hot fug of the swimming pool and the slow splashing of a boy learning to swim but not yet wanting to take his foot off the bottom. Fast-forward four years. Photographers and family wait on the shingle beach as a boy in a bright orange hat and grease-smeared goggles swims the last few metres from France to England. He has been in the water for twelve agonizing hours, encouraged at each stroke by his coach, John Bullet, who has become a second father. This is the story of a remarkable friendship between a coach and a boy, and a love letter to the intensity and freedom of childhood.