1966 and all that: World cup tie-ins

<p>Book-buying football fans have never had it so good as they will this summer: the World Cup, to be played in Germany during June and July, brings a wave of new releases for every conceivable segment of the football market. Guides, memoirs, photobooks, trivia, humour and children's books are scheduled--all linked to the tournament.</p><p>Most booksellers have yet to finalise their World Cup promotions, but shops' football tables will groan under the weight of new releases. Peter Quartley, Ottakar's sports buyer, is among several retailers feeling overwhelmed by the torrent of books. "I think there's an issue of over-publishing," he says. "There's going to be too much out there, and many titles won't get a look in."</p><p>Of the guidebooks offering fans all the facts in advance, HarperCollins and John Blake can claim official endorsement. Optimistically titled This Time the Dream is Coming True, Blake's book is backed by England's team sponsor Nationwide, and billed as the inside story of the run-up, while HarperSport has the Official England World Cup 2006 Preview Guide. Two TV-backed titles are The Official ITV World Cup Fact File (Carlton) and The Match of the Day Guide to the 2006 World Cup (Interact).</p><p>Yet more titles focus on the history of the event. World Cup Stories (Interact) accompanies a FIFA-endorsed BBC series in April. Competing will be two newly updated titles, Cris Freddi's Complete Book of the World Cup (HarperSport) and Aurum Press' The World Cup: The Complete History by Terry Crouch. Faber reissues a perennial favourite, The Story of the World Cup by veteran football writer Brian Glanville.</p><p>Timing is everything. Mostly due a month or two ahead of the opening game on 9th June, the books must gather momentum fast and generate the bulk of sales before that date. No one wants a guide to a tournament after the last ball has been kicked.</p><p>Publishers have an extra reason to go into overdrive for this World Cup. Many of the forthcoming titles mark the 40th anniversary of England's first and only World Cup triumph in 1966, and retailers are anticipating a big nostalgia market over the next few months.</p><p>Quartley is among booksellers tipping Geoff Hurst's World Champions (Headline) as the standout book. It has an introduction by England manager Sven Goran Eriksson, and--something of a challenge for Headline's production department--flecks of grass from the turf of the old Wembley stadium incorporated into its endpapers. Headline will reissue Hurst's successful autobiography, 1966 and All That, in a 40th anniversary edition.</p><p>Other books celebrating past glories include Orion's The Ghost of '66 by Hurst's team-mate Martin Peters. Aurum Press has The Team of '66: What Happened to England's World Cup Winners? by Sarah Edworthy, and Chrysalis offers The Boys of '66: England's Last Glory by David Miller. HarperSport will chip in with a new biography of England's manager in 1966, Sir Alf by Leo McKinstry.</p><p>Publishers are hoping to catch the wave with a host of footballing autobiographies. Pel&eacute; (Simon&amp;Schuster) will be one of the biggest, and there will be memoirs by Gianluca Vialli, Bryan Robson and Paul Parker, among others, plus a new Paul Gascoigne book and paperback editions of last year's autobiographies.</p><p>Photographic books give publishers normally not associated with football a chance to cash in. Mitchell Beazley has 1966 Uncovered, a collection of previously unseen photos of English football's finest hour. 90 Minutes is Merrell's striking new book of stills from televised footage, and Abrams makes a similar foray into the archives with Football 365 Days. No tournament would be complete without a book of David Beckham photos, so Weidenfeld&amp;Nicolson provides VII, David Beckham. </p><p> Booksellers have noticed a new sub-genre of more literary football books emerging in time for this World Cup. Joe Hill, specialist at Waterstone's 311 Oxford Street, tips The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup, a collection by authors including Dave Eggers, Nick Hornby and Henning Mankell: "It's a really interesting book. The literary side of football publishing is starting to develop."</p><p>Other books in this vein include James Corbett's England Expects: A History of the England Football Team (Aurum Press), and Ingerland: Travels with a Football Nation by Mark Perryman (Simon&amp;Schuster). Two books looking at football's wider impact are How to Score: Science and the Beautiful Game by Ken Bray (Granta) and the impressively titled How Football Explains the World by Franklin Foer (Arrow).</p><p>A scrap for the impulse buyer's pound is about to kick off, as football miscellany comes into its own. Leading the pack is Canongate's The Book of Lists: Football, covering such topics as lists of streakers at matches, reasons why the World Cup is great--and reasons why it is not. Motson's World Cup Extravaganza by John Motson (Robson) contains the commentator's trademark mix of useful and useless statistics. Also out are The England Compendium from Vision Sports Publishing; England: The Football Facts by Dean Hayes (O'Mara); and a pair of books from Carlton: The England Football Miscellany and The Little Book of England.</p><p>The event has also inspired a crop of humour titles. Ricky Tomlinson's Football My Arse! (Time Warner) should do well in paperback, while Summersdale's Don't Mention the World Cup and Carlton's Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Klinsmann? put a light-hearted spin on the rivalry between England and Germany. Readers without the slightest interest in football are served by O'Mara's They Think It's All Shite . . . It Is Now!, and those forced to watch endless TV coverage might appreciate Graham Edmonds' Big Match Bingo (Southbank), a checklist of football clich&eacute;s to listen for. Another tip is Peter Morfoot's Burksey (Know the Score Books), a smart spoof of the footballer's memoir.</p><p>Small players nip in</p><p>Small companies are trying to capitalise on the World Cup by publishing in niche areas. Lorna Clarke, Sports Books Direct product manager, tips Fuller's Mini Guide to Germany 2006 and Fuller's Fans Guide to German Stadiums, researched, written, published and promoted by Stuart Fuller using a redundancy pay-off from his previous job. "I thought I'd be happy to sell 100 books or so, but I'm already past 2,500," Fuller says. His books are available from Gardners and Bertrams.</p><p>Another writer-publisher is Clive Leatherdale, with England's Quest for the World Cup: A Complete Record 1950-2002 due from his company Desert Island Books. Know the Score has Match of My Life: England World Cup, with famous players' accounts of memorable World Cup games. Simon Lowe, Know the Score m.d., says: "We're trying to be a bit different and fill the gaps between the obvious books," he says. </p><p> Many booksellers tip children's books to be among the finest performers. HarperCollins has a crop of official tie-ins, including a World Cup Companion, Activity Book and World Cup Dream Team. Several retailers back Scholastic's Wicked World Cup and England, off-shoots from the Foul Football series, while Hodder has a So You Think You Know the World Cup? quiz book, and Boxtree has Match World Cup Special.</p><p>The World Cup offers a terrific chance to get young boys--notoriously hard-to-please readers--into books. Tom Palmer, reader development expert and co-ordinator of Reading Partners, the joint library and publisher project, has created a World Cup Reading Game with a quiz, reading tips and a mini penalty shoot-out that will tour 60 libraries around tournament time. "The World Cup is a great opportunity to get boys into books and raise awareness of what they can get out of libraries," he says. He has also written a timely children's novel, Shaking Hands with Michael Rooney (Grassroots Press).</p><p>If this seems like a lot of books, it will be nothing compared to the avalanche of titles that would follow an England win, and many publishers have contingency plans to rush out books days after the 9th July final.</p><p>Orion staff will have their fingers crossed tighter than most: win, and the team's Official World Cup Diary could prove the biggest-selling book of all; lose ignominiously and it might be quietly buried. Such players as Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney will be dictating their stories for publication after the final, and success would prompt more big deals with players.</p><p>Has England any chance of living up to the hype? Not according to Malcolm Boyle, betting expert and author of The Sporting Life World Cup Betting Guide (High Stakes Publishing). His projections are bleak for those willing a post-tournament sales rush. "I can't see England getting past the quarter-finals--and not even that far if we meet Germany. But I'd love to be proved wrong." He tips Brazil to win.</p><p>Official England World Cup 2006 Preview Guide (HarperSport) Solid performer</p><p> </p><p>Fuller's Mini Guide to Germany 2006 (Stuart Fuller) Fans' favourite</p><p>The Match of the Day Guide to the 2006 World Cup (Interact) Strong reputation</p><p> </p><p>Wicked World Cup (Scholastic) Rising star</p><p>The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup (Abacus) Possible surprise package</p><p>Complete Book of the World Cup 2006 (HarperSport) Strength in depth</p><p>World Champions: Relive the Glorious Summer of 1966 (Headline) Geoff Hurst has World Cup pedigree</p><p> </p><p>Football My Arse! (Time Warner) Joker in the pack</p><p>John Motson's World Cup Extravaganza (Robson Books) Veteran campaigner</p><p> </p><p>Pel&eacute; (Simon&amp;Schuster) The ultimate number ten</p><p>The Book of Lists: Football (Canongate) Scotland's only contribution to this World Cup</p><p>On the bench:</p><p>Official World Cup Diary</p><p>(Orion)</p>