Footballer Joey Barton has won the Cross Sports Book Award for autobiography of the year.
The former Burnley Football Club player, who has recently been charged with breaking gambling rules by the Football Association, triumphed over a shortlist which included memoirs by Formula One champion Damon Hill, Arsenal football legend Ian Wright, London 2012 Olympic Gold medallist Greg Rutherford and Olympic Games runner Jo Pavey.
Organisers said Barton’s title No Nonsense (Simon & Schuster) is a “game-changing” autobiography which “redefines one of the most fascinating figures in British football”.
“It is the raw yet redemptive story of a man shaped by rejection and the consequences of his mistakes,” they said.
Dame Katherine Grainger who is chair of the judges for the Cross Autobiography of the Year, said the standard of the shortlist was high this year. “It has been an absolute privilege to be a judge for this year's awards but I think I can speak for all the judges when I say it's also been a complete headache and challenge in the best possible way,” she said. “The books were really outstanding and every book on the shortlist opened up something new about sport or about the athlete in question making for fascinating reading.”
She added: “The decision-making process wasn't easy but after much discussion, deliberation, and a little arguing, we have agreed that Joey Barton is the winner for his refreshingly raw and candid autobiography. It is an honest portrayal of a football player confronting his history and his behaviour, examining both his bad boy reputation and the philosopher within. It makes for a stimulating and entertaining read.”
A special award for Outstanding Contribution to Sports Writing was presented to Hugh McIlvanney by the 2015 recipient of the award Sir Michael Parkinson.
Commenting on McIlvanney's award Parkinson said: "He is a meticulous journalist and a very gifted writer - an unbeatable combination. He is the best of us."
Other winners included Find a Way by Diana Nyad, awarded the International Autobiography of the Year, British and Irish Lions second row forward Paul O'Connell’s The Battle, which won the Rugby Book of the Year award. Mark Nicholas won The Cricket Book of the Year, while The Times football correspondent Oliver Kay was awarded Football Book of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association for Forever Young, which tells the forgotten tale of Adrian Doherty, the prodigious talent who looked set to spearhead Manchester United's famed class of 92.
The last winners were And The Sun Shines Now, by Adrian Tempany, which deconstructs the dramatic changes that have taken place in English football in the 25 years since the Hillsborough disaster, which won New Writer of the Year, whilst The Lane by Adam Powley, Martin Cloake and former Tottenham Hotspur Captain Steve Perryman picked up the Illustrated Book of the Year.
The Times Biography of the Year was handed to acclaimed biographer Robert Wainwright accounting the story of The Maverick Mountaineer - George Finch.
Each of the nine winning titles is now put to an online public vote to determine the overall Cross Sports Book of the Year in association with The Times.
The 15th annual Cross Sports Book Awards were announced at Lord's Cricket Ground on 24th May.
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