Support a local business and get lost in a book

If you are looking to broaden your horizons during the national lockdown, a great way to do that is to get your head into a book and we are pleased to support Philip Howard Books in Roundhay run by lifelong Leeds Rhinos fan Phil Caplan and his wife Ros.

Phil, who is well known to Rhinos fans from his articles in the Rhinos matchday magazine Blue & Amber, and his work with the Leeds Rhinos Foundation, has come up with a top 10 of sport titles they are currently being asked about.

1) Tony Collins’s eagerly awaited Rugby League: A People’s History (9781999333973, Scratching Shed, paperback, £14.99) was brought out to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the founding of the game at the end of August, and is now in its second print run having received rave reviews and sales from across the globe. More than just the story of rugby league, it is also a social history of the life and times of the north of England.

2) Chris Berry has penned a sequel to his highly successful first novel with the follow up Tough Season in the Sun (9781912101986, Great Northern Books, paperback, £7.99). Appropriately given the debate in the game about expansion, it takes hero Greg Duggan – who in the opening volume saved his local club – to Lanzarote to help set up a new one. As racy as the first one, definitely one for warming up a winter’s evening.

3) Although predominantly about how rugby union has ‘coped’ with the professional era, the revised paperback edition of Mark Aylwin’s Unholy Union (9781472130709, Little Brown, paperback, 9.99) written with former Harlequins RL and Melbourne Storm CEO Mark Evans, is intensely revealing for league too, which is frequently referenced.

4) ‘Notes By The Editor’ appeared in Wisden in 1901 and the opinions have become a feature of the Almanack. This collection, Notes By The Editors : 120 Years of Wisden Opinion (9781472975638, Bloomsbury, hardback, £12.99) reproduces many of the most memorable opinions expressed on all the great topics – throwing, bodyline, Packer, the d’Oliveira Affair, not to mention ball tampering, the development of The Hundred…and the weather.

5) A very different type of life story is that of former Leeds, Salford, Widnes, Halifax and Featherstone player Andy Kirk, who chronicles his times in a self-published autobiography Scandalous Freedom (9798693954489, paperback, £12.99) which is brave and honest almost to excruciation. The rugby essentially provides the backdrop, Kirk retiring in 2009 after a notable 12-year career. But throughout he held a particular secret….

6) For those of a certain age, Roy of the Rovers: The Best of the 1970s: The Tiger Years (9781781087923, Rebellion, hardback, £19.99) evokes the best comic strips from the golden era of Roy Race, starting with Melchester’s European Cup final win in 1973 on their 50th anniversary. It was the decade in which footballers became real superstars – a time when goalkeeper Charlie Carter had to choose between staying at the club or perusing a burgeoning career as a pop singer!

7) Steven Bell’s excellent The Man of all Talents – The Extraordinary Life of Douglas Clark (9781785316821, Pitch Publishing, paperback £12.99) is about the Huddersfield star’s career in the early days of the Northern Union, his astonishing First World War record and as Britain’s first professional wrestler. Meticulously researched with the help of family members, is as near an authorised biography as possible of the era and times.

8) Tony Hannan’s follow up to spending a year with Batley in Underdogs, sees him now follow Minor Counties Cumberland CCC in ‘The Wicket Men : The Last Rites of Minor Counties Cricket’ (9781999333966, Scratching Shed, paperback, £14.99) which puts Gary Pratt’s expenses-only nomads under the spotlight. What is left for those rooted firmly in the English folk tradition of the sport, under the elite?

9) Many are fascinated by his story and Tim Rich’s ‘Quality of Madness – A Life of Marcelo Bielsa (9781529416152, Quercus, hardback, £20.00) gets under the skin of the maestro, cited as a mentor by Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Diego Simeone. Yet he remains one of the great enigmas of world football – a fabulously innovative and obsessive coach, who has transformed Leeds United, Marseille and Athletic Bilbao. He also lasted two days at Lazio and led Argentina to their greatest footballing disaster.

10) Martin Roach’s beautiful coffee table book with stunning colour photography throughout, ‘The History of Speed’(9781471189326, Simon & Schuster, hardback, £25.00) tells the story from Camille Jenatzy, ‘the Red Devil’, who became the first man to drive at over 100kmh in 1899, through the golden age of Malcolm Campbell and his Bluebird, on to the modern era of jet and rocket-propelled cars, also taking in Formula 1 and supercars.

Philip Howard Books can take orders over the phone (ring Ros on 0113 225 9797), by email (, on twitter (@philiphowardbks), or via Facebook (philiphowardbooks) or Instagram (@philiphowardbooks) for click & collect, posting out or local delivery.