Canoville ‘autobiography’ scores a late winner

Edward Whitaker, the Racing Post snapper who won two awards at last week’s SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, including being named Sports Photographer of the Year, today added to his haul at the National Sporting Club’s British Sports Book awards.

At a lunch staged at the Sheraton Park Lane in London, Whitaker was named the winner of the Best Ilustrated title award for his book, In The Frame, Great Racing Photographs, including images like the one shown right.

Perhaps surprisingly, after it was named as the sports book of the year in the pre-Christmas William Hill awards, Marcus Trescothick’s widely acclaimed Coming Back to Me, ghost written by Peter Hayter, did not feature among the winners today at all, neither as an autobiography nor as best cricket book.

Those plaudits went to former Chelsea midfielder Paul Canoville for his Black and Blue, published by Headline, while The Way It Was by Stephen Chalke (Fairfield) took the cricket category.

Canoville’s book, written by Chelsea FC stalwart Rick Glanvill, may prove a controversial choice as winner for a couple of reasons.

The book clearly affected the judges, because it beat My England Years, the latest instalment in Sir Bobby Charlton’s autobiography (ghosted by Jim Lawton), the first part of which had won two prizes at these awards last year.

Canoville’s is undoubtedly a shocking story, telling of the racist bigotry encountered’s by Chelsea’s first black player, his career-ending injury at the age of 24, a decline into drug abuse, battles against cancer, and family tragedy.

But with its 2008 book awards, the NSC appears to have fallen foul of a trap encountered by William Hill’s “Bookie Award” a couple of years ago: Canoville’s book was first slated for publication in June 2007.

Today’s other winners at the NSC Sports Book awards included:

Best new writer: When Friday Comes by James Montague (Mainstream).

Best rugby book: Seeing Red – Twelve Tumultuous years in Welsh Rugby by Alun Carter and Nick Bishop (Mainstream).

Best football book: Inverting the Pyramid by Jonathan Wilson (Orion).

Best biography: Regga – Clay Regazzoni by Christopher Hilton(Haynes).

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