FEATURE: Five Bradford rugby league books

Iestyn Harris - There And Back

Iestyn Harris - There And Back

Bradford Bulls – or Bradford Northern, for readers of a certain age – is one of the most famous clubs in British rugby league.

Some of the game’s greatest players, including the likes of Ellery Hanley, have worn the red, white and black with distinction.

Two modern day Bulls have written autobiographies that are bound to be of interest for both Bradford fans and rugby league aficionados with a wider interest.

Iestyn Harris never reached his previous rugby league heights when he returned to Odsal from Welsh rugby union. Harris had been a superstar during his early years at Warrington and Leeds, and Bulls fans had big hopes for the talented stand-off.

But Harris’ timing was unfortunate, joining the club at the start of its recent decline. Nevertheless, while at the Bulls he won the Super League Grand Final in 2005, the World Club Challenge in 2006, and remained one of Bradford’s most reliable performers even when the efforts of his team-mates were not on the same level. His book, Iestyn Harris: There and Back, charts his cross-code career in revealing detail.

Odsal Odysseys - The History of Bradford Rugby League

Odsal Odysseys - The History of Bradford Rugby League

Terry Newton played alongside Harris at the Bulls. His book, Coming Clean, details his own career and subsequent fall from grace when he tested positive for human Growth Hormone (hGH) during his time at Wakefield. (See our full review of Coming Clean here.)

There’s also plenty out there for those looking for some Bradford nostalgia. Bradford Rugby League (Archive Photographs: Images of Sport) is 128 pages’ worth of fascinating photography, while Odsal Odysseys: The History of Bradford Rugby League brings the club’s history to life.

And no Bradford history would be complete without mention of Trevor Foster, arguably the club’s greatest ever servant. Trevor Foster: The Life of a Rugby League Legend would be a welcome addition to any rugby league bookshelf.

FEATURE: Five Warrington rugby league books

Brian Bevan statue at Warrington's Halliwell Jones Stadium

Welcome to a new regular feature on Rugby League Books.

Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be working our way through rugby league’s major clubs to produce lists of books that might interest the club’s fans.

The lists aren’t necessarily a ‘Top Five’ – just five books that will appeal to a particular club’s supporters.

This week, we’re starting with Warrington Wolves.

Biting Back: The Mike Gregory Story, by Mike Gregory, Erica Gregory, Steve Manning and Dave Hadfield

First up is Biting Back: The Mike Gregory Story, by Mike Gregory, Erica Gregory, Steve Manning and Dave Hadfield. Gregory was a Warrington hero and a rugby league great. His bravery and courage was immense, both on the field and later in life as he battled his illness.

Andrew Johns only played three games for Warrington, but his impact was almost unbelievable. His arrival at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in late 2005 generated headlines and media interest across the globe. His autobiography, Andrew Johns: The Two of Me, is an equally gripping read.

Another charismatic figure associated with Warrington is Alex Murphy OBE. His autobiography is nearly 11 years old, but Saint and Sinner: The Autobiography of a Rugby League Legend is still of interest to the generations who grew up watching Murphy’s magical skills.

Finally, two recommendations for Warrington history buffs. So Close to Glory: Warrington Rugby League Football Club 1919 to 1939, and Warrington Rugby League, 1970-2000, detail some fascinating years in the Wolves’ story.

Happy reading!

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: Caza_No_7

INTERVIEW: Phil Holmes Jr, co-author of ‘Reluctant Hero: The John Holmes Story’, on writing a tribute to a Leeds hero

Reluctant Hero - The John Holmes Story

This is the first of a two-part interview with Phil Holmes Jr, co-author of Reluctant Hero: The John Holmes Story. Here he talks about gathering material for a book about a man who meant so much, to so many.

Few in rugby league are held in as high regard as John Holmes.

At Leeds, nobody is.

So when Holmes’ nephew, Phil junior, decided with his father, Phil senior, to take on the task of producing Reluctant Hero: The John Holmes Story, they realised the challenge they were undertaking.

“One of the reasons behind the book was John being so quiet,” Phil Jr told Rugby League Books. “There were things my dad was finding out through John’s team-mates, there were things John’s team-mates were finding out through my dad, and there were even things John’s Great Britain team-mates were finding out from his Leeds team-mates, and vice-versa.

“He kept himself to himself, but he had an absolutely massive bond with the guys he played with.” [Read more…]

FEATURE: Revealed – the top 10 rugby league books of 2010

Rugby League Books has been busy doing some research (no laughing at the back, please).

According to Amazon*, here are the 10 bestselling rugby league books (in Britain) published in 2010:

We realise this is a far from perfect exercise. It doesn’t take into account high-street sales from giants such as WHSmith or Waterstone’s, nor does it include figures from heroic independent book shops.

But hopefully it gives us at least some kind of a flavour of what’s been selling well in 2010.

And we’re sure there’s something on this list to keep interested even the most discerning reader until the start of the new season.

Enjoy!

* List compiled on January 4, 2011. Sales figures and/or rankings may have since altered.