Read all about it – a comprehensive list of Derby County books by David Moore

Read all about it – a comprehensive list of Derby County books by David Moore

The article below first appeared in issue 7 of Derby County Memories magazine in December 2014 and was updated in August 2021 to include more recent publications. Copies of the magazine can be purchased on eBay.

When the subject of football memorabilia is raised with football fans, including those of Derby County, it is invariably collectable items such as matchday programmes and tickets that spring to mind along with badges, pennants and of course replica shirts. But, in my opinion, books about the club you support are just as collectable and equally rewarding; sometimes more so. Let’s be honest though; only on rare occasions have books about football received rave reviews from critics and none have come within a million miles of winning the Nobel Prize for literature. Whilst books about cricket have frequently been categorised in the Premier League of sporting literature, those on the subject of football have often ranged from somewhere between the Championship at one end right down to the lower reaches of non-league football at the other in terms of literary merit, with only a handful making it into the top tier. This applies just as much to books about Derby County although, thankfully, there have also been some outstanding ones and very few duds. In this article I have attempted to compile a comprehensive list of books about the Rams as well as those written on the fascinating subject of Brian Clough, along with the various biographies of Derby players.

It wasn’t until 1970 that Rams fans were able to start to weigh down their bookshelves with books about their favourite club thanks to the Derby Evening Telegraph’s George Edwards who had the bright idea to produce a book to celebrate the Rams return to First Division football. His simplistically titled The Derby County Football Book was very well received and a year later he produced a follow-up called The Derby County Football Book No2. Once again, a not particularly catchy title, but equally readable to supporters basking in the renaissance of a run-down football club rejuvenated by Clough and Taylor. That was about it until 1983 when Anton Rippon and Andrew Ward (son of ex Derby player and manager Tim Ward) wrote The Derby County Story. Then came journalist Tony Francis’s controversial There was some Football Too which apparently upset Brian Clough considerably. The year 1984 was something of a watershed because it marked the publication of Gerald Mortimer’s Derby County, A Complete Record 1884-1984 which is still regarded as the “bible” for Derby County fans. Since then it has twice been updated, in 1988 and 2006. How Gerald kept himself informed on subjects such as the deaths of ex-players remains a mystery to me.

Altogether there have been, by my calculation, over 60 books about our favourite club including a couple of e-books. I have managed to obtain all of them and two of my personal favourites are Peter Seddon’s The Little Book of Derby County and The Men who made Derby County which filled the gap in our knowledge of exactly how the club was formed. I enjoyed reading Ian Hall’s books too and I thought Jim Fearn’s Player of the Year was particularly readable thanks to his knack of getting those important personal reminiscences from players. Edward Giles has put together some interesting tomes about the old days and Andy Ellis has produced some very readable books on various Derby County related topics, as have Gareth Davis and Phil Matthews. The popular large format offering from the now extinct Breedon Books (and its successors) such as Gerald Mortimer’s The Who’s Who of Derby County and Anton Rippon and Andrew Ward’s The Great Days of Derby County are musts for Rams fans, particularly those who like plenty of photographs.

A comprehensive list of Derby County books

1970 The Derby County Football Book, G Edwards

1971 The Derby County Football Book No2, G Edwards

1975 Champions Again 1967-75, G Mortimer

1983 The Derby County Story, A Rippon/A Ward

1984 There Was Some Football Too. 100 Years of Derby County, T Francis

1984 Derby County. A Complete Record 1884-1984, G Mortimer

1985 Derby County. A Complete Record 1985 Supplement, G Mortimer

1988 Derby County. A Complete Record 1884-1988, G Mortimer

1991 The Derby County Story 1884-1991, A Rippon/A Ward

1992 The Who’s Who of Derby County, G Mortimer

1993 The Great Days of Derby County, A Rippon

1994 The Book of Derby County, Various

1994 Derby County Champions 1974-75, M Cockayne

1995 Images of Derby County, A Rippon

1997 Journey through a Season, I Hall

1997 Derby County Days 1944-1956, E Giles

1997 The Baseball Ground 1895-1997, D Parkin/J Fearn

1998 The Derby County Story, A Rippon/A Ward

1999 Pride Park: The Story of a Stadium, D Parkin/J Fearn

2000 Journeys with Jobey, E Giles

2000 Voices of the Rams, I Hall

2001 The Legends of Derby County, I Hall

2002 Bloomer and Before, E Giles

2003 Derby County The Clough Years, M Cockayne

2004 The Who’s Who of Derby County, G Mortimer

2004 Derby County Diary of a Season 2003-04, S Nicholson

2005 Relics of the Rams, A Ellis

2005 Derby County Champions of England 71/2 & 74/5, E Giles

2006 The Little Book of Derby County, P Seddon

2006 Derby County Football Legends, M Cockayne

2006 Derby County. The Complete Record, G Mortimer

2006 Access all Eras, D Parkin

2007 Match of my Life. Derby County, N Johnson

2007 Derby County A Season Review, G Davis

2008 Derby County Football Club 1888 – 1996, A Ellis

2008 Derby County Player of the Year, J Fearn

2009 The Ultimate Derby Quiz Book, C Cowlin

2010 Derby County on This Day, P Matthews

2011 Derby County Thirty Memorable Games from the 90s, A Ellis

2011 Derby County Miscellany, P Matthews/G Davis

2012 Derby County Newspaper Headlines, (Highlights from National Press)

2012 Me, My Dad and Derby County (Son of my Father), C Trembirth

2012 Derby’s Days, G Davis/P Matthews

2012 Derby County The Rams in Europe, A Ellis

2012 Derby County Champions at Last, D Moore

2012 History of Derby County 1967 to Present, Cohn/Russell

2012 Derby County FC Home Programme History (eBook), A Ellis

2012 History of the Baseball Ground (eBook), A Ellis

2013 Derby County Greatest Games, G Davis/P Matthews

2013 Derby County The Story of a Football Club, A Rippon

2013 When Football was Football, Derby County A Century of the Club, T Hopkinson

2013 The Men Who Made the Rams, P Seddon

2014 Got, Not Got: The Lost World of Derby County, D Hammond

2014 The Day that Derby Won the Cup, A Rippon

2014 When the Rams met the Nazis: Derby County’s 1934 Visit to Germany, A Rippon

2015 Derby County: 50 Memorable Matches, A Rippon

2017 Brian Clough and Derby County – From Glory to Disaster: The inside story as told by the DCFC Board Meeting Minutes, A Ellis

2017 Derby County Programme Guide, A Ellis

2018 Derby County – The First 100 Years: Match by Match, A Ellis

2018 Derby County – The Modern Era: Match by Match, A Ellis

2018 Barmy Derby, A Beardmore

2019 The Colours of The Rams, A Ellis, P Lowe, J Shardlow

2019 Derby County Quiz Book, C Carpenter

2019 Derby County in Focus 1950 to 1970, A Ellis

2019 Derby County – the turbulent ‘80s – week by week: Volume 1 of 3 – January 1980 to Summer 1983, S Forsyth

2019 Derby County – the turbulent ‘80s – week by week: Volume 2 of 3 Summer 1983 to Summer 1986 From Robertson to Rotherham, S Forsyth

2020 Derby County – the turbulent ’80s – Volume 3: Rise of The Rams, S Forsyth

2020 Derby County: The 1971-72 Complete Record, A Ellis

2020 The Baseball Ground – Gone but not forgotten, A Ellis

2020 Pride: The Inside Story of Derby County in the 21st Century, R Hills

2021 Tens and Nervous: Derby County in the 2010s: Volume 1 (2010-2015), O Wright (eBook)

2021 From the Baseball Ground to the Bernabeu, A Ellis

2021 Derby County – the 1990’s – Week by Week: Volume One Follow the Money, S Forsyth

Books about Brian Clough

To date there have been at least 21 books about Brian Clough and, I suspect, a few more to come. Has any other football manager had as many written about him? Not surprisingly, some have been extremely controversial with David Peace’s The Damned United the most notorious. The first book on our legendary manager was With Clough written by Peter Taylor. Brian was reportedly extremely upset that his long-time assistant and friend thought fit to go into print and it did nothing at all for their relationship which was already souring. Clough was also unhappy about Tony Francis’s controversial Clough – A Biography. Arguably the best book on the subject is Duncan Hamilton’s Provided You Don’t Kiss Me but unfortunately for Rams fans it is about his time at the City Ground. I also particularly enjoyed Clough’s War by Don Shaw, A Right Pair by Maurice Edwards and George Edwards’ Right Place, Right Time.

1980 With Clough by Taylor, P Taylor

1987 Clough A Biography (revised edition 1993), T Francis

1993 His Way. The Brian Clough Story, P Murphy

1994 Clough The Autobiography, B Clough/J Sadler

2002 Cloughie. Walking on Water, B Clough/J Sadler

2004 The Life of Brian, T Crane

2005 Grass in the Sky, The Book of Clough, A Murphy

2006 The Damned United, D Peace

2007 Right Place Right Time. Clough’s Derby Days, G Edwards

2008 Provided You Don’t Kiss Me, D Hamilton

2009 Good Old Bighead. Wit and Wisdom of Brian Clough, D Hamilton

2009 Clough’s War, D Shaw

2009 150 BC Cloughie. The Inside Stories, D Armitage

2009 We are the Damned United (Brian Clough at Leeds United), P Rostron

2010 Brian and Peter, A Right Pair, M Edwards

2011 Brian Clough The Biography: Nobody Ever Says Thank You, J Wilson

2011 Clough and Revie, R Hermiston

2011 Clough Confidential, D Armitage

2011 The Day I met Brian Clough, M Alton

2014 Champagne Memories. How Brian Clough Changed my Life, C Shields/M Alton

Clough’s Gold (eBook), D Armitage


Derby County related biographies and autobiographies

Football biographies and autobiographies are often notoriously poor, particularly ones about players still in the early stages of their career. Thankfully the majority of books about ex-Derby players are a good read, and a few of them are excellent. I particularly enjoyed Andrew Ward’s story about his father Tim called Armed with a Football and Bert Mozley’s When Football was Fun brought back memories. It was strange to see that the book about Chairman Sam Longson was subtitled An Autobiography considering that it was put together many years after his death, but son-in law and author Robert G Mulholland explains that it was based on comprehensive diaries and notes that Sam had kept. It certainly puts a different perspective on the departure of Clough and Taylor in 1973. Peter Seddon’s exhaustively researched book Steve Bloomer, Football’s First Superstar (later re-titled Destroying Angel) is first class. Gerald Mortimer’s Are the Fixtures Out? is ideal for followers of Derbyshire cricket as well as Rams fans and, as usual, Edward Giles came up trumps with his book about Carter and Doherty called Derby County’s Perfect Partnership.

1947 Spotlight on Soccer, P Doherty

1948 How to Play Football, B Steel

1994 Armed with a Football. Biography of Tim Ward, A Ward

1999 When Football was Fun, B Mozley

1999 Steve Bloomer. The Story of Football’s First Superstar (republished as ‘Destroying Angel Steve Bloomer -England’s First Football Hero’), P Seddon

2000 Jim Smith The Autobiography: It’s Only a Game, J Smith and B Cass

2003 Billy Steel, B MacAlindin

2003 Are the Fixtures Out?, G Mortimer

2003 Raich Carter: The Biography, F Garrick

2004 Peter Shilton: The Autobiography, P Shilton

2004 The Real Mackay, D Mackay

2004 Kinkladze. The Perfect 10, D Clayton

2005 Charlie George – My Story, C George

2005 My Autobiography (Archie Gemmill), A Gemmill

2006 Back from the Brink, P McGrath

2008 The Tin Man. The Ted McMinn Story, T McMinn & R Hutchison

2008 Toddy. The Colin Todd Story, C Todd/J Brown

2010 Savage: The Robbie Savage Autobiography, R Savage

2010 For Pete’s Sake: The Peter Taylor Story, W Dickenson & S Hildred

2011 Derby County’s Perfect Partnership (Carter and Doherty), E Giles

2012 John McGovern My Story: From Bo’ness to the Bernabeu, J McGovern/K Brennan

2012 Running through Walls: David Langan Autobiography, T Keane

2013 Sam’s Story: An Autobiography, S Longson

2014 Roy Mac, R McFarland

2015 Rise of the Underdog: My Life Inside Football, D Higginbotham

2016 Clough, Maxwell and Me, S Webb

2019 Cherry Picking: Life Between the Sticks, S Cherry/J Nicholas

2020 The Ruhleben Football Association: How Steve Bloomer’s Footballers Survived a First World War Prison Camp, P Brown

2021 Triumph and Tragedy: The Alan Hinton Story, A Hinton with Charlie Bamforth

2021 Football’s Braveheart: The Authorised Biography of Dave Mackay, M Donovan

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