Fiction with a football setting

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Note: This list is about novels that have football as a setting or, at least, where football plays an important role. To the rest of the world, it is amazing that the United States (and Canada) have a game involving forty-seven players where only two of the forty-seven are legally allowed to touch the ball with their feet and, indeed, where it is possible to have a successful career without ever touching the ball at all and yet they call it football. This list refers to football as the rest of the world understands it.

Dannie Abse: O Jones, O Jones
Keith Alldritt: Elgar on the Journey to Hanley
Jorge Amado: A bola e o goleiro
Bernardo Atxaga: Gizona bere bakardadean (El hombre solo/The Lone Man)
Imran Ayata: Ruhm und Ruin
Eduard Bass: Klapzubova jedenáctka (The Chattertooth Eleven)
Sam Hanna Bell: The Hollow Ball
Antoine Bello: Mateo
Arnold Bennett: The Card
Nalinaksha Bhattacharya: Hem and Football
Pino Cacucci: San Isidro Futból
J L Carr: How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup
Edilberto Coutinho: Maracanã, adeus (Bye, Bye Soccer)
Eduardo Galeano: El futbol a sol y sombra (Soccer in Sun and Shadow)
Alain Gillot: La surface de réparation (Penalty Area)
Alex Gray: Pitch Black
Brian Glanville: The Rise of Jerry Logan
Peter Handke: Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter (The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick)
Thomas Glavinic: Herr Susi
Barry Hines: The Blinder
Barry Hines: Kes
Nick Hornby: Fever Pitch
Robin Jenkins: The Thistle and the Grail
Dan Kavanagh (Julian Barnes): Duffy
Peter Kernow: The Cambridge University Women’s Football Team & Me
Laurent Mauvignier: Dans la foule
Macedo Miranda: O sol oscuro [The Dark Sun]
Manuel Vázquez Montalbán: El delantero centro fue asesinado al atardecer (Off Side)
Flávio Moreira da Casota (ed.): Onze em campo [Eleven on the Pitch]
Dick Morland: Albion! Albion!
Nelson Motta: Brasil F. C.
Sérgio Ortiz Prado: O sol e o verde [The Sun and the Green]
David Peace: The Damned Utd
Tim Pears: In Place of Fallen Leaves
J B Priestley: The Good Companions
Jean Rouaud: Le monde à peu près (The World, More or Less)
Sérgio Rodrigues: O Drible
Mel Stein: Red Card
D J Taylor: The English Settlement
Irvine Welsh: Trainspotting
Gordon Williams: From Scenes Like These

Peter Seddon’s A Football Compendium, the source for many of these titles, is essential reading for books (fiction and non-fiction), films and music about the beautiful game.

Other sources

Gooooooal – Soccer/Football Fiction