He named his five favorite books on sports for the Guardian. One title on the list:
Joe McGinniss, The Miracle of Castel di Sangro, 1999Read about another book on the list.
In 1998 I published Staying Up, a behind-the-scenes account of a year with a Premiership football team (Coventry City). When Joe McGinniss came out with a similar book I was intrigued, and envious at how much he had enjoyed his experience. Admittedly his was with a minor Italian team, newly promoted to Serie B (and controlled by the local mob), but he was welcomed warmly by the management, coaching staff and players, and incorporated into the day-to-day life of the team. Lucky him. For most of my behind-the-scenes experience, I was treated like a foreign intruder in a hostile culture, and the result was a sort of travel book, with balls. I'd rather have been in Italy, eating pasta with Joe and his team, discussing tactics for our next match.