Fact-filled football annual is on target once again

Former editor ERIC BROWN says the Nationwide football annual is on the ball once again

The annual that styles itself “soccer’s pocket encyclopedia” has been around a long time. Longer even than Fergie. It is 126 years old and seems to include extra football gems with each edition.

The world’s oldest football book is still the best value soccer yearbook on the market. If you can’t find a fact in here, then it’s probably not worth knowing.

Having edited the annual for a few years, I know first-hand how difficult it can be gathering all the items required and checking them thoroughly before the printer’s patience expires.

There are so many facts crammed into its 540-odd pages that a few errors do sneak through. Fortunately, loyal readers are always there to make sure compiler and editor Stuart Barnes is aware of them and the necessary amendments made in the following year’s edition.

As usual the book is packed with information vital for the football fan; from team line-ups to international results; from international appearances and goalscorers to enough trivia to keep a pub quiz going for another 126 years.

Included are: results and teams from the European Championship; results from the 2011-12 season (including domestic and European cup competitions and international matches involving British and Irish teams); full fixture lists
for the 2012-13 season; all major domestic, European and world football awards; a day-by-day diary highlighting the season’s biggest stories; players and their appearances for every league club, plus a review of how each club fared.

This national treasure of a book faced an uncertain future when the now-defunct Sunday newspaper under whose name it was published dropped it. After a few years of uncertainty it now seems settled on the publishing calendar once more under the umbrella of Randall Northam’s Cheltenham-based SportsBooks Ltd. Heartily recommended.

  • The Nationwide Football Annual 2012-13, Edited by Stuart Barnes. Price: £7.99
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