The Set Pieces’ Christmas List

There’s no point trying to ignore it. Christmas is coming and it’s gaining on us. But what should you put on your list to Santa? And what should you buy the football fan in your life? We’ve looked around, we’ve asked our friends, we’ve been through our archives. We think we’ve got a very, very impressive shortlist for you. It’s all part of the service. 


The National Football Museum has an online shop filled to the rafters with books, art work and, well, random stuff. Who doesn’t want a replica trophy in their house? Who wouldn’t be tempted by Subbuteo-style salt and pepper shakers.  There’s lots of stocking ideas here too, including a key ring of an old fashioned football. Startle your children with stories of a time when footballs didn’t look like dangerously sour boiled sweets.


Keep it, cuddle it, love it, burn it, aim rocks at it, attach it to a firework and aim it at the sun. We don’t care what you do with it. Just get it out of our office.



We have reviewed piles of books since we opened our doors in January, slumped on the office sofa with a nice cup of tea and a bag of sweets. Here is a selection of reviews for your delectation, not a top five, but an array of different genres.

The Official Manchester United Graphic Novel was one of the oddest books to come through the letterbox in 2015, but we rather liked it. It’s a bit of a throwback to the old Tiger/Eagle/Valiant annuals of the 1960s, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Worth a look for the younger reader.

Quite Literally…Pundit Colouring Book is another marvellous effort from Ockley Books. Is colouring-in for children? Who cares. Is it fun to scrawl obscenities in speech bubbles? Yes. Yes, it is.

Das Reboot was one of our favourite books of the year. The real story of the German football recovery that began in the 1990s and culminated in the victorious 2014 World Cup campaign. Rafa Honigstein has nailed this.

Touching Distance is also a lovely read, particularly for those of us drifting inexorably through our late 30s. The only negative aspect of Martin Hardy’s tale of Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United is that it makes you sad that football is no longer as much fun.

Living on the Volcano caused a minor dispute in the office. The editor loved it, the reviewer only liked it. We’re pulling rank on this one.

The Heyday of the Football Annual is one that we haven’t yet reviewed, but we have read it and it’s magnificent. This is the best Dad/Grandad present on the market right now and it will be our Book of the Week in the near future.

The Football Manager Guide to Football Man…(THE BACKERS’ NOTE: We’ve warned you about this before, Iain)


You know our friends at Art of Football? The ones who do the gorgeous t-shirts and prints of iconic moments in the game, including Southend United’s glorious play-off triumph of 2015? Well, if you order from them using the promo code ‘SetPiece’ then you’ll get a 15% discount.



And no, not video games. You all know about FIFA and PES and Football Manager. But what about old fashioned games? Did you know that you can still buy actual Subbuteo? We had a great big tournament in the office earlier this year and we asked whether or not games like these can still be fun. And you know what? It can still be fun. Here’s our markedly less boozy official review.


We weren’t quite as taken with Socceristic, the baffling-looking-but-actually-quite-intuitive football board game, but it still kept us occupied for an evening and it gave Carrie Dunn the chance to resurrect dead footballers, so it certainly has its place.


You’ve probably seen Steve Welsh’s work on Twitter many times without realising it. He tweets as @miniboro_dotcom and he’s produced some lovely stuff. We particularly like his ‘F is for Football‘ collection and, were we to be forced into a decision, we’d probably go with ‘J is for Jinky.’


And if you know Steve, you’ll almost certainly know Dan Leydon. He’s a versatile and talented artist and you can find his magnificent work over here.


There’s a pretty big crossover between football and rampant geekery, none more so than on the site of graphic designer @onasixpence. He’s designed whopping great periodic tables for teams and they are available here.


And we like these classy prints from @rickhinks as well. Great goals and great saves, recreated in minimalist style.


Rob Doyle has digitally painted Steven Gerrard’s moment of triumph at Istanbul and that’s available over here. That said, we’re rather taken with the large portrait of Rik Mayall in Drop Dead Fred.


If you’ve seen anything else football related and you think that people would be interested to know more, tell us about it: [email protected]

EDITOR’S NOTE: No money has changed hands in the planning or production of this page and no-one has bought their way onto our Christmas list. Sending us stuff is lovely, but it provides no guarantee of inclusion now or in the future. If you have a product to sell, don’t be shy. Get in touch on email to the address above. But don’t open with, “We’ll pay you to feature our product,” because we don’t work like that. 

The Set Pieces’ Christmas List
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