The Best New Sports Gift Books

  16 Dec '22   |  Posted by: Birlinn

In the past few years, we’ve published some unique and interesting sports books through Arena Sport, our dedicated sports imprint. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the sports enthusiast in your life, look no further! From women’s football to golden age golf history, here are some of our top gift picks from Arena’s recently released titles.

‘Unsuitable for Females’ The Rise of the Lionesses and Women’s Football in England by Carrie Dunn

2022 has been a huge year for Women’s Football, and leading sports journalist Carrie Dunn takes you back to the beginning of England’s star team in ‘Unsuitable for Females.’ This compelling read explores the history of the Lionesses, and how they persevered even after the Football Association introduced a ban on women’s football in 1921, pronouncing the sport ‘quite unsuitable for females’.

Though the ban persisted for half a century, trailblazing women kept the game alive and laid the foundations for the success of the Lionesses today. This book tells the story of England’s team through portraits of the fearless women who continued to play, organized illegal games, and broke barriers which enable today’s all-star team to flourish.

Little Wonder: Lottie Dod, the First Female Sports Superstar by Sasha Abramsky

Another riveting story in women’s sport history, Little Wonder focuses on the life of the first female sports star, Lottie Dod. Lottie was no ordinary athlete– she played tennis, golf, hockey, and archery in addition to being a skilled tobogganist, archer, skater and mountaineer.

Despite her status as one of the most famous women in Britain in the late 19th century, she became somewhat of a forgotten figure a few decades after her retirement. Author Sasha Abramsky aims to set the record straight in this book, and give Lottie Dod the recognition she deserves for her incredible athletic achievements at a time where professional women’s sports were all but non-existent. This fascinating story of resilience and determination would make a great gift for a fan of lesser-known sports history.

The Long Golden Afternoon: Golf’s Age of Glory, 1864-1914 by Stephen Proctor

Undoubtedly one of Scotland’s most influential contributions to sport history, the development of golf into the modern sporting phenomenon it has become is an intriguing tale. Stephen Proctor tackles this captivating narrative in The Long Golden Afternoon, zeroing in on the transformative generation of golf that followed the rise of Young Tom Morris.

The period between the 1890 Open Championship and the First World War saw the incredible rise of golf as an international sensation. This renaissance for golf included the invention of new clubs and balls, the development of important rules of the game, the advent of professional tours, and many more changes that have lasted to this day. This book is the ideal gift for the golf aficionado in your life!

Bring me the Sports Jacket of Arthur Montford: An Adventure Through Scottish Football by Aidan Smith

This comprehensive gift book is a hilarious romp through the best and worst of Scottish football history. Packed full of laugh-out-loud anecdotes and fun facts, Bring Me the Sports Jacket of Arthur Montford would make a great gift for anyone who appreciates the quirky moments and great players and characters in Scottish football.

From the Midlothian origins of Bovril to the time Davie Robb met Olivia Newton-John, this charming book tells old legends in an exciting new way and brings to light stories that even the most devoted fan might not have known before! And let’s not forget the one and only Arthur Montford, commentator, curator, favourite uncle to the nation, whose voice is central to the story of Scottish football.

The Road to Barcelona: The Glory of 72 and My Life in Football by Dave Smith

Football legend Dave Smith tells the fateful story of one of the biggest nights in Rangers history from his perspective. 24 May 1972, the final game in Barcelona, and Dave Smith would be the hero of the night. In this fascinating memoir, Smith explores his rollercoaster career from joining the Ibrox in 1966 for a record fee to eventually moving to Scotland’s lower leagues as player-manager at Berwick Rangers.

Smith played over 300 games over eight years with the Rangers, and then went on to play in South Africa and the United States. His story is all the more impactful when told in his own words, so The Road to Barcelona is a memoir you just can’t miss!

Dreaming the Impossible: The Battle to Create a Non-Racial Sports World by Mihir Bose

Finally, an essential read published this year, Dreaming the Impossible confronts the racism embedded in British sports through interviews, anecdotes, and analysis by author and journalist Mihir Bose. He explores how racism has affected Black and Asian sportspeople over the past fifty years, and how attitudes have evolved in that time.

Bose examines controversies from grassroots to international competitions, and the powerful impact the Black Lives Matter movement has had on the world of British sport. Dreaming the Impossible includes the perspectives of influential figures from the field to the boardroom and the media, with the author seeking to answer the question of whether an anti-racist sports world could one day become a reality.

Check out our exciting new sports titles here:

  • Share:


The Winter’s Trail

14 Feb '24
Spring might be on its way in Scotland but it’s still February and still seasonally cold. The crisp chill makes it one of the favourite times of...
Read More