Half an hour at the William Hill Sports Book of the Year ceremony

Half an hour at the William Hill Sports Book of the Year ceremony

William Hill Sports Book of the Year 25 YearsEach year I attend the William Hill Sports Book of the Year awards.

The days when sports books were only fit to prop open a door are long gone.

When, in 1988, Graham Sharpe of William Hill came up with the idea of the award, publishers thought he had lost his mind. What was he thinking of?

Footballers cannot write books, they said, and with some justification. Sports books in those days were, with one or two notable exceptions, deadly dull.

Not now. Thanks to the sponsorship by William Hill, authors have been encouraged to write some top class sports books, and publishers no longer look down their noses at sports based manuscripts.

The 25th bash was a bit special. Names such as Freddie Flintoff, AP McCoy, Beth Tweddle, Barry McGuigan and Robbie Savage attended the ceremony in Covent Garden. There were also past winners of the award in attendance.

The winner in 2013 would receive £25.000, a free bet to the sum of £2.500 and a day at the races. 6 books contested the award.

Below is my half hour film from the ceremony, which includes interviews with David Walsh, who pursued Lance Armstrong for many years.

David Lagercrantz, who helped the charismatic Zlatan Ibrahimovic tell his extraordinary life story, also talks to me. As does racing fan and punter Jamie Reid, whose own book relives a horse racing doping scandal of the 1960’s.

And I kick off the film by asking one of the judges about the strength of the award itself and his favourite books over the years that he has been judging. That is broadcaster Danny Kelly, my one time presenter on the live C4 TV show, ‘Under the Moon.’

Sit back and enjoy my film.

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