Some recommended football books

When Roy was at the club I took a big interest in football coaching. I wanted to understand what he was doing and why it worked. So I did what I always do and read a load of books on the subject.

Some of them were really useful so, reminded by a comment in the match thread below, here are few that I think you might like. Disclaimer: the links contain Amazon Affiliate code, which means that if you buy anything I get a small percentage (no idea what). It’s simply another attempt to try to make the blog pay its way a little.

Some good books:

Football Association Guide to Training and Coaching

Allen Wade’s book. Speaks of formations that are not used any more but the principles here are worth reading about.

Soccer Modern Tactics: Italy’s Top Coaches Analyze Game Formations Through 180 Situations

This is a really good overview of various approaches to football and why the coaches in question do what they do. Recommended.

Soccer Strategies: Defensive and Attacking Tactics

This one is very slim (83 pages) and looks quite amateurish but I liked how it explained things a little more than some of the other coaching books out there.

Inverting The Pyramid: The History Of Football Tactics: A History of Football Tactics

You already have this, I assume. If not, get it!

Football and Chess: Tactics Strategy Beauty

Fascinating stuff and well worth a look.

More coaching books, lots of diagrams. The trouble with a lot of coaching books is that they’re not remotely easy reads. There’s often no attention paid to explaining to the reader why something is important, and equally, writing can be quite rambly (not in the books listed here, I should add). Reedswain are an important publisher in this field but their output is very hit or miss (e.g. one book on counter attacking is about what formation to use against other formations, not about actual counter attacking at all).

Many books are quite amateurishly put together (e.g. typeface) but worth studying. I think studying is the operative word; as yet there seem to be few ‘first principles’ books explaining the nuts and bolts of football (although you do start to piece all this together over the books, taking a few nuggets here, others there, etc. It’s harder than it should be though.):

Soccer’s 4-4-2 System

The four-four-two is going out of fashion now but remains the bedrock on which most of English football has been built, at least in recent years. A good overview.

Attacking Soccer: A Tactical Analysis

Lots of diagrams, proving that a lot of attacking football is indeed pre-rehearsed. This talks about how to engineer space, etc, but is probably more of a coaching manual. Interesting enough though.

Soccer Systems and Strategies

This is a nice overview book. Again lots of diagrams and very much written from a coaching perspective, but worth a read.

Defensive Soccer Tactics

As above, but focuses entirely on defending.

2 thoughts on “Some recommended football books

  1. Cheers, rich. Even more comprehensive than I’d hoped.

    Pity so few of them are available for Kindle, but then, it’s only their own flippin’ product that would profit from them being available, so why should they bother?

  2. Rich, you doofus! You’re supposed to do this post -before- Christmas!

    Also, how is Inverting the Pyramid available for Kindle from, but not from

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