The Simplest Game, by Paul Gardner

"It was written a while back but it's a lovely book about what soccer means. It's about the deeper level of the English fan," says Vescey. Sure, Gardner's book originally came out in 1976, with an update for the 1990s, but it's a definitive look at soccer from the perspective of the purist, going back to the 1930s and taking readers through the game's evolution into a more modern version beginning in the 1950s and 1960s. More manual than literature it's a true primer for readers looking to examine tactics, the origins of country-specific playing styles, and a sense of the game on the verge of a new century.