Publishers capitalise on Leicester City's 'footballing fairy tale'

Publishers capitalise on Leicester City's 'footballing fairy tale'

Publishers are celebrating Leicester City's rise from underdogs to Premier League champions with a host of offerings, including the "definitive" biography of manager Claudio Ranieri from Yellow Jersey Press.

The club's odds of winning were quoted 5,000-1 just nine months ago, their triumph yesterday (2nd May) costing the bookies their largest ever pay-out

Yellow Jersey Press has acquired a "definitive" biography of Claudio Ranieri: the "mastermind" manager behind Leicester City’s success. Claudio Ranieri, authored by football writer Gabriele Marcotti, is due to be published on 3rd November. Rachel Cugnoni, publishing director at Vintage, bought world all language rights from David Luxton at David Luxton Associates.

The biography promises to shed light on "the man behind this modern-day footballing fairy tale", his story "even more turbulent and unpredictable than the success of Leicester City", according to Yellow Jersey. 

Ranieri took the reins of Leicester City FC in 2015, when he reversed the club’s fortunes from impending relegation to Premier League champions in a single season. The book charts his rise from the streets of post-war Italy, where he was born the son of a butcher in Rome, to the tenure of Juventus and Chelsea, and subsequently King of the Power Stadium.

Marcotti is a senior writer and analyst for sports TV channel ESPN, world football correspondent for the Times and UK correspondent for Corriere dello Sport. His previous books include The Italian Job: A Journey to the Heart of Two Great Footballing Cultures (Bantam)shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, and Capello: Portrait of a Winner (Transworld).

Cugnoni said: "What Claudio Ranieri has achieved with his Leicester team is a footballing fairy tale and ranks among the most remarkable achievements in the long history of glorious sporting triumphs. It’s one of those rare victories in which all football fans (with the exception of the Spurs crew) can share in. It’s a happy and glorious moment and we are delighted to be celebrating it with Gabriele Marcotti’s biography about the man who has with great humility and charm nurtured, coached, guided and yes, tinkered, his team to victory."      

Headline has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) in Fearless: How Leicester City Shook the Premier League, and What it Means for Sport. It is a narrative on Leicester City FC's dramatic turnaround by Sunday Times’ football correspondent Jonathan Northcroft. The deal was struck by non-fiction publishing director Jonathan Taylor with David Luxton of David Luxton Associates.

The book, publishing 22nd September, will tell both the immediate tale of the last 12-15 months in the history of the club and also explore the wider story of what these events might mean for English football in the future. 

Taylor commented: "Last night Leicester City won the Premier League. Turn the clock back just seven years, and they were a League One club. Little more than twelve months ago they were seriously adrift at the foot of the Premier League table and deemed relegation certainties. Their manager was favourite to be the first to get the sack once this season got underway. The squad contains  “journeymen” and players bought from little-known French sides. Yet they’ve conquered all. It’s ridiculous. It’s miraculous. It makes all football fans feel good to be alive."

Icon Books meanwhile distributed over 500 sample copies of its book, 5000-1: The Leicester City Story, at the match against Manchester United on Sunday (1st May) to give fans the first glimpse. The book is going to press imminently with a publication date of 26th May, brought forward from July. Its author, Leicester Mercury’s chief football writer Rob Tanner, called it "the most remarkable underdog story in the history of the Premier League". 

Another offering on "rush release" is G2 Entertainment's The Immortals: The Story of Leicester City’s Premier League Season 2015/16. The book, by football writer Harry Harris, is to include a foreword by either manager Claudio Ranieri or one of the other “star” players, and is due on 27th May.

A publisher has paid a £250,000 advance for striker Jamie Vardy’s memoirs, according to an unconfirmed report in the Sunday Times

John Blake is publishing the footballer's biography, Jamie Vardy: The Boy from Nowhere, The true story of the genius behind Leicester's amazing season, by journalist Frank Worrell, on 19th May. It was originally due out in June. John Blake is doing an initial print run of 20,000 copies. Editor James Hodgkinson signed world rights in the book.

And King Power is coming from Nicholas Pearson at Fourth Estate in June. The book will chronicle Leicester City’s title-challenge against the odds purportedly in the words of one of the club's biggest fans, Richard III himself. The monarch died at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 and was reinterred in Leicester Cathedral in 2015. His statue, outside Leicester Cathedral, had a blue club scarf tied around his neck during Leicester City's last game.

Michael Morpurgo penned a story about the fairytale win for BBC Radio 4 this morning (3rd May).