Peter Crouch – How to be a Footballer (Ebury Press hardback, £18.00 – signed copies available while stocks last )

Who knew Peter Crouch had a podcast? Who knew he could be so funny and self-deprecating? Who knew reading about football could be so much fun? Well, the publishers of this book for starters.

Already Crouchy’s podcast has a devout following and having read this book you can see why. He is witty and chatty and doesn’t take himself or fellow footballers too seriously. He acknowledges the ridiculous wealth that teenage footballers amass these days and the difficulties that come with living in the spotlight. He also discusses the burden of carrying the nation’s hopes on your shoulders. The book has a fun format with chapter headings such as Dressing Rooms (the best in its day was Highbury), Cars (apparently 'the relationship between footballers and cars has always been open to heinous error'), Celebrations (always think them through: they are going to be reshown on TV a lot) and Haircuts (Crouch gets charged 250 pounds for a 'trim round the back and sides' and bursts into hysterics, before realising he hasn’t actually got enough cash in the house.) He talks about the good times when 'in 2006/07 scoring seemed like the easiest thing in the world' and then the hard times when you have a goal drought and question everything. Oh and a whole final chapter on Steven Gerrard, the complete footballer, who Crouch reckons the best he ever played with. Even reading this final accolade however, you still can’t help but laugh at Gerrard and Jamie Carragher dismissing Liverpool’s new signings after just one training session ('He’s a donkey. Waste of money.') There aren’t many football books that advise you not to go to the toilet immediately after Robert Huth, but this one does, and it is all the better for it. So if you are wondering what to buy the football fan in your life, here is our suggestion. Enjoy.

Reviewed by Philippa Morris, Little Apple bookshop