29 January 2018
award-winning sports writing

This year Yellow Jersey Press, an imprint of Vintage, is celebrating 20 years of award-winning sports writing with a victory parade of new sports publishing, promotions celebrating its groundbreaking books and a star-studded Hackney Empire event in association with Penguin Live.

Yellow Jersey Press launched in 1998, with Paul Kimmage’s William Hill Sports Book of the Year winner, Rough Ride. It set out to give a platform to brilliant stories, which just so happened to be framed within a sporting environment. Since then, its name has become synonymous with quality sports writing, with bestsellers from a string of sporting legends and acclaimed sports writers - including Bradley Wiggins, Frank Bruno, Diego Maradona, Tim Moore, Gary Imlach and Seve Ballesteros.

To mark the anniversary year, Yellow Jersey will deliver a 2018 schedule packed with top names including The Cycling Podcast, William Fotheringham, The Secret Cyclist, The Fantasy Football Scout and Ed Warner. There team will also be working with retailers, cycling shops and cafes nationwide to supply branded display kits and special offers for their customers.

The highlight of the year will take place on 20 June, with a celebration event at the Hackney Empire in London, entitled Yellow Jersey Live: Who was the greatest cyclist of all time? in association with Penguin Live. A must-see event for every cycling fan, it'll see Yellow Jersey’s cycling experts, including Ned Boulting, William Fotheringham, Jeremy Whittle, Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and Peter Cossins, debating which rider deserves to be crowned the greatest rider of all time, with the audience casting their votes on the night.

Celebrating the anniversary, Tim Broughton, Editorial Director at Yellow Jersey Press, commented, “Sport has this remarkable ability to stir incredible passion in fans, whether they are screaming from the stands at Selhurst Park or camping on the slopes of Ventoux. It represents a determination to challenge and compete, binds individuals with a common goal, and often reflects our experiences in the wider world. Yellow Jersey understands this as much as its readers.”

Rachel Cugnoni, Publishing Director at Vintage and founding Publishing Director of Yellow Jersey Press, says, “Twenty years ago in this country the sports section in any bookshop wasn’t much more than A-Z of ghosted autobiographies and hardly anyone knew the difference between the mighty Yellow Jersey and an old yellow jumper. That has now changed and I’m extremely proud of the pivotal role Yellow Jersey has played in that transition."

Sports books with personality: Yellow Jersey's iconic titles

Over the last twenty years, Yellow Jersey Press has been home to some of our best-loved sports titles. Here are just five to jog your memory:

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger

Before the acclaimed movie and cult TV series, there was the book...

In the state of Texas American football is a religion. And nowhere is more fanatical about its football than the small town of Odessa. There, every Friday night from September to November, a bunch of seventeen-year-old kids play their hearts out for the honour of their high school. In front of 20,000 people.

In 1988 H.G. Bissinger spent a season in Odessa discovering just what makes a town pin its hopes on eleven boys on a football field. He lived with the students, coaches and townspeople who dedicate their lives to their team, sharing their joys and triumphs, their pains, injuries and bitter disappointments. He returned with a compassionate but hard-eyed story of a town riven by money, race and class, where a high school can spend more on medical supplies for its athletic program than on its English department.

French Revolutions by Tim Moore

Self-confessed loafter Tim Moore, seduced by the speed and glamour of the biggest annual sporting event in the world, sets out to cycle the course of the Tour de France. All 3,630km of it. Racing old men on butchers' bikes and being chased by cows, Moore soon resorts to standard race tactics - cheating and drugs - in a hilarious and moving tale of true adventure.

Klopp: Bring the Noise by Raphael Honigstein

Jürgen Klopp's super-sized personality and all-or-nothing style of football and management made him the perfect choice to pump up the volume at Anfield. The appointment sparked hysteria in the city with fans and club officials delighted to get the coach they’d long admired from afar and eager to see the impact he would have on the club and the Premier League.

With exclusive access to Klopp's friends, family, colleagues and players, Raphael Honigstein goes behind-the-scenes at Liverpool, Mainz and Dortmund to tell the definitive story of Klopp’s career, transformative footballing genius and how he is bringing the noise to Anfield.

The Racer by David Millar

What is it really like to be a racer?

What is it like to be swept along at 60kmh in the middle of the pack? What happens to the body during a high-speed chute? What tactics must teams employ to win the day, the jersey, the grand tour? What sacrifices must a cyclist make to reach the highest levels? What is it like on the bus? In the hotels? What camaraderie is built in the confines of a team? What rivalries? How does it feel to be constantly on the road, away from loved ones, tasting one more calorie-counted hotel breakfast?

David Millar offers us a unique insight into the mind of a professional cyclist during his last year before retirement. Over the course of a season on the World Tour, Millar puts us in touch with the sights, smells and sounds of the sport. This is a book about youth and age, fresh-faced excitement and hard-earned experience. It is a love letter to cycling.

Fire in Babylon by Simon Lister

The West Indies had always had brilliant cricketers; it hadn’t always had brilliant cricket teams. But in 1974, a man called Clive Lloyd began to lead a side which would at last throw off the shackles that had hindered the region for centuries. Nowhere else had a game been so closely connected to a people’s past and their future hopes; nowhere else did cricket liberate a people like it did in the Caribbean.

For almost two decades, Clive Lloyd and then Vivian Richards led the batsmen and bowlers who changed the way cricket was played and changed the way a whole nation – which existed only on a cricket pitch - saw itself.

With their pace like fire and their scorching batting, these sons of cane-cutters and fishermen brought pride to a people which had been stifled by 300 years of slavery, empire and colonialism. Their cricket roused the Caribbean and antagonised the game’s traditionalists.

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