Duncan Hamilton, left, has twice won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, first in 2007 for Provided You Don’t Kiss Me: 20 Years with Brian Clough, and again in 2009 for a biography of 1930s cricket legend Harold Larwood.
Duncan has been named on a 14-strong ‘longlist’ for The Footballer who Could Fly, which interweaves the history of British football since the 1950s with an autobiographical story of how the ‘Beautiful Game’ defined his relationship with his father.
The book charts the progress of post-war British football to the present day and the careers of some its most legendary figures, from Jackie Milburn to Sir Alex Ferguson.
But the heart of the book is Duncan’s exploration of the bond between father and son, and how football became the only live connection between two people who, without it, were “strangers under the same roof.”
Also up for a third William Hill award is Donald McRae, who co-authored Between the Lines, the biography of cycling gold medallist Victoria Pendleton.
If either he or Duncan win they will become the first writer to receive the award three times. Duncan was also nominated for the award in 2010 for A Last English Summer, a tour around the
Said Duncan: “I finished the book in August last year so for it then to come out and then to get longlisted it’s a very long gestation period, but I’m delighted.
“I am so flattered really, to think it’s been the fourth nomination in six years and I know how many sports books there are. It’s a tough market.”
The judging panel for this year’s award includes broadcasters John Inverdale and Danny Kelly, award-winning journalist Hugh McIlvanney and columnist and author, Alyson Rudd.
As well as a £24,000 cash prize, the winning author, to be announced on 26 November, will receive a £2,000 William Hill bet, a specially-commissioned hand-bound copy of their book, and a day at the races.
William Hill spokesman and founder of the Award, Graham Sharpe, said: “2012 was a memorable sporting year thanks to the Olympics and the Paralympics, the Ryder Cup and the US Open to name but a few of the highlights, and it is a year which has also produced a strong crop of memorable sporting books.
“It has been difficult enough to narrow the contenders down to a manageable longlist of fourteen titles, and with sports like squash, swimming and Ironman racing represented for the first time, this is the most diverse longlist we have yet seen.”