Related to: 'Commitment'

Hodder & Stoughton

The Mauler

Alexander Gustafsson
Authors:
Alexander Gustafsson

As told to Leif Eriksson and Martin Svensson.Alexander Gustafsson grew up in Arboga, a small town in Sweden. A country boy, he started boxing when he was 10 - winning the national youth medal at the age of 16. After a handful of run-ins with the law he began practicing mixed martial arts and working his way up the ranks of the UFC. Nicknamed The Mauler by his training partners, due to his power, killer instinct and somewhat recklessness whilst fighting; this is the story of Gustafssons struggle to succeed in one of the world's most challenging sports. Family, friends, and the Christian faith all play decisive rolls. But above all, it's Alexander's unique talent for martial arts which, in just a few short years, sees him become one of the UFC's main poster boys.The Mauler is a frank and at times painful account of a young man rapidly heading off the rails, and of his fight to reach the top of his game in an effort to change his life forever.

Alex Ferguson

Born in Glasgow in 1941, Sir Alex Ferguson was playing football at an international level as a school boy. He began his professional playing career in 1958 with Queen's Park. Four times winner of Manager of the Year, he has been the manager of Manchester United for thirteen years during a time when they have become the most successful and richest club in the world. MANAGING MY LIFE was awarded the British Book Awards' Book of the Year in 1999.Sir Alex Ferguson was born in 1941 in Govan, Scotland. A goal-scoring centre-forward, he was later transferred to Rangers for a Scottish record transfer fee. In 1974, he entered management with East Stirlingshire and St Mirren before joining Aberdeen, where consistent domestic success, followed by victory in the 1983 Cup Winners' Cup over Real Madrid, brought him wider attention.Arriving at Manchester United in 1986, he went on to accumulate 38 trophies, including five FA Cups, 13 Premier Leagues and two Champions Leagues. He was knighted in 1999, following Manchester United's remarkable Treble campaign, and his overall haul of 49 trophies makes him the most successful British manager of all time. Sir Alex announced his retirement in 2013, but he continues to serve United as a director and is a Fellow to the Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School.

Alexander Gustafsson

Alexander Gustafsson was raised in Arboga, a small town in Sweden by his father, a farmer. His troubled and complicated youth led to him often ending up in fights as a teenager and aged 18 he was sentenced to prison for aggravated assault. One year later when he was released he decided to turn his life around; finding mixed martial arts, moving to another city and leaving the trouble behind him. He has widely credited MMA as being the movement that finally changed his life for the better. This is his first book.

Andrew Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff was born in Preston in 1977. An aggressive fast bowler and hard-hitting batsman, he made his County Championship debut for Lancashire in 1995 and won the first of his 79 England Test caps in 1998. As an all-rounder, he played a vital part in England's celebrated Ashes victory in 2005.Widely considered to be the best all-rounder of his generation, Andrew was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2004, and Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World the following year. Also in 2005, he was awarded the title of BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Andrew became captain of the national team in 2006, only to have the captaincy removed after England's disappointing performances in Australia in 2006-07 and in the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean. Having put those setbacks behind him, he overcame a series of injuries to help England, under Andrew Strauss, regain the Ashes in 2009. Shortly afterwards, he called an end to his playing career and embarked on a varied new one in television, as a presenter, documentary-maker and team captain on the BAFTA award-winning A League of Their Own. In 2012, Andrew Flintoff unexpectedly turned to sport again, this time as a boxer, winning his one bout as a professional. In the summer of 2014, after five years out of the game, he made a surprise return to cricket, playing for Lancashire in the NatWest T20 Blast and then for Brisbane Heat in Australia's T20 Big Bash. In 2015, he took part in Australia's version of I'm a Celebrity ... Let Me Out of Here!, and was crowned King of the Jungle.In May 2014 when it was announced that Andrew would play for Lancashire again. Following on from such a successful stint with Lancashire in October 2014 it was announced that Andrew would continue his professional cricket comeback in Brisbane in the Australian T20 Big Bash league. In March 2015 Freddie was crowned the King of the Jungle in the first series of the Australian version of 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here', and was bowled over by the support of the Australian public.After launching his very own podcast with friend and TV producer Clyde Holcroft in 2014, it was announced that Freddie and Clyde will celebrate the ten year anniversary of England's Ashes win with a live tour which will travel the length and breadth of the country including at the Edinburgh Festival.

Clive Woodward

Clive Woodward was born in 1954. He was educated at HMS Conway in Anglesey and Loughborough University. He played rugby for Leicester, England and the Lions, and Manley in Australia. During his impressive business career Clive Woodward successfully coached Henley RFC, London Irish and Bath before being appointed the first National England coach. He memorably led the England rugby team to World Cup victory in 2003. He lives in Berkshire with his wife and three children.

David Tossell

David Tossell is the author of fourteen previous sports books, five of which have been short-listed in the British Sports Book Awards and two for the MCC/Cricket Society Book of the Year. Formerly executive sports editor of the Today newspaper, he has been head of public relations in Europe for the National Football League (NFL) for the past two decades. As a boy, he played for school football and rugby teams wearing Alan Ball-endorsed white boots.

Derek Pringle

Derek Pringle was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, where he first learnt to play cricket on matting pitches. He attended St Mary's School, Nairobi, then Felsted School in Essex, before reading Geography and Land Economy at Cambridge, where he captained the university at cricket and won three blues. While still an undergraduate he was selected to play Test cricket for England in 1982, a feat achieved previously by Ted Dexter, 24 years earlier. He also appeared, briefly, in the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire, as Cambridge's vice-captain of athletics.He played 30 Tests and 44 one-day internationals for England, appearing in two World Cups, one as a losing finalist in 1992. His cricket career at Essex, which spanned 15 years, included five County Championship titles, three John Player League titles, a NatWest Trophy and countless friendships. He retired from the game in 1993.A second career, as a journalist, saw him appointed cricket correspondent for the Independent, then the Daily Telegraph, a role he fulfilled until 2014. He now works as a freelance writer. His hobbies include photography and collecting vinyl records, of which he has several thousand - the latter perhaps explaining why he has never married. He has a son whose musical tastes he is trying to shape. He lives in Cambridge.

Dickie Bird

Born in 1933, the son of a miner, Dickie Bird has spent a life 'married to cricket'. He was signed up to play for Yorkshire age 19, and played on the county circuit for the next 13 years. In 1979 he became a Test match umpire. The announcement that he would umpire his final Test at Lord's in June 1996 signalled the end of an international career which has won him worldwide affection as the finest umpire in cricket history.

Didier Drogba

Didier Drogba played for English club Chelsea as a striker, and is the all-time top scorer and former captain of the Ivory Coast national team. He is best known for his career at Chelsea, for whom he has scored more goals than any other foreign player and is currently the club's fourth highest goal scorer of all time. In October 2012, he was voted by Chelsea supporters as the club's greatest ever player. He has also been named African Footballer of the Year twice, winning the accolade in 2006 and 2009.After playing in youth teams, Drogba made his professional debut aged 18 for Ligue 2 club Le Mans, and signed his first professional contract aged 21.In the summer of 2004, Drogba moved to Chelsea for a club record £24 million fee, making him the most expensive Ivorian player in history. In his debut season he helped the club win their first league title in 50 years, and a year later he won another Premier League title. With a career record of scoring 10 goals in 10 finals winning 10 trophies at club level, Drogba has been referred to as the 'ultimate big game player'.An Ivory Coast international between 2002 and 2014, Drogba captained the national team from 2006 until his retirement and is the nation's all-time top goalscorer with 65 goals from 104 appearances. On 8 August 2014, he announced his retirement from international football.

Duncan Hamilton

Duncan Hamilton is a journalist who has won two William Hill Sports Book of the Year Prizes. He has been nominated on a further four occasions. He has also claimed two British Sports Book Awards and is the only writer to have won the Wisden Cricket Book of the Year on three occasions. His biography of the Chariots of Fire runner Eric Liddell, For the Glory, was a New York Times bestseller. He most recently collaborated with Jonny Bairstow on the cricketer's autobiography, A Clear Blue Sky. He lives at the foot of the Yorkshire Dales.

Henry Blofeld

Henry began writing about cricket, for The Times, in May 1962 and in 1972 he started his long career as a commentator with the BBC's Test Match Special. During his career he has written for numerous papers and broadcast for both radio and television for many networks around the world especially in Australia and New Zealand. Between 1991 and 1993 he joined Sky Television before returning to Test Match Special after the death of Brian Johnston early in 1994. Since 2002 Henry Blofeld has performed in his humorous one-man show in theatres all round the country, and later he teamed up with his former TMS producer, Peter Baxter, for more than 250 two-man shows. He also had a successful partnership with England Spin Bowler, Graeme Swann. Henry now tours the country with his one man show.

Ian Robertson

Ian Robertson is a Scottish broadcaster, writer and former international rugby player. He is best known as a rugby union commentator for BBC Radio.Robertson played rugby union for Cambridge University, Watsonians, London Scottish, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (1968-70) and the Barbarians. The most memorable moment of his playing career was Scotland's 1970 Calcutta Cup victory over England. At 25 he suffered a serious knee injury that ended his sporting career.Robertson joined the BBC in 1972 and since April 1983 he has been the Corporation's official rugby union correspondent, covering the sport not only on radio but also on television. Robertson has written over thirty books and a number of biographies, including those of Bill Beaumont, Andy Irvine, and actor Richard Burton.

Jessica Ennis

Jessica Ennis was born in Sheffield in 1986. Jessica attended King Ecgbert Secondary School where she first met her fiancé Andy Hill. In the school holidays Jessica attended local athletics camps, and at the age of thirteen Jessica had her first coaching session with Toni Minichiello. After graduating with a degree in Psychology from the University of Sheffield, Jessica became a professional athlete; her greatest achievement to date has been winning heptathlon gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Jessica was appointed MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2011 and lives in Sheffield with Andy and their chocolate labrador, Myla.

Joe Root

Joe Root is a product of Sheffield Collegiate, the same nursery that produced Michael Vaughan, while his patience and stubbornness at the crease had Geoffrey Boycott gushing that he reminded him of himself.The 2011 season proved to be a breakthrough season for Root as he made 1,013 runs at 36.17. His form earned him a call up to the England senior squad for their tour of India. He did not disappoint, marking his Test debut in Nagpur with 73 runs from 229 balls.Joe has become an increasingly prominent member of the England squad in all three formats of the game and in 2013 he continued his rapid international progress with a superb 71 as England defeated New Zealand by 140 runs in the first Test at Lord's. In the second Test, Joe hit a marvellous 104 to become the first Yorkshireman to score his maiden Test century at Headingley. He was subsequently named as player of the series as the home side clinched a 246-run second Test victory to win the series 2-0.Joe was promoted to opening batsman and played a prominent role as England secured their third successive Ashes victory in 2013. The highlight of his series came in the second Test, when he was named man of the match after scoring a sensational 180 at Lord's, becoming the youngest ever Englishman to do so at the home of cricket.After returning from injury he quickly scored two more Test centuries, one at Lord's against Sri Lanka where he finished with a career-best 200*.Joe scored an unbeaten 154 against India at Trent Bridge that helped England recover from 298-9 to post 496 as he and James Anderson shared a world record 10th wicket stand of 198 before scoring 149 not out in the fifth Test as his team secured a 3-1 series victory.There was yet another ton in the second Test against West Indies in April 2015, with an unbeaten 182 from 229 balls as England secured a nine-wicket win.The following month, Joe was named England Men's Player of the Year and celebrated with scores of 98 and 84 in England's first Test victory over New Zealand.Joe's performances in The 2015 Ashes Series led to him reaching the top of the ICC World batting rankings.

Michael Parkinson

Born in Yorkshire, Michael Parkinson left school at sixteen with the ambition to play cricket for Yorkshire and England and to write about cricket for the Manchester Guardian. Although, he didn't manage to fulfil the first half of his ambition, he has since become one of the most successful journalists of his generation. He wrote a sports column for The Sunday Times for fifteen years and has also written for the Telegraph. He is also a legendary TV and radio presenter - his long-running chat show Parkinson was hugely popular for many years.

Phil Taylor

Phil Taylor is widely regarded as the best darts player of all time, having won more than 200 professional tournaments, including 81 major titles and a record 16 World Championships. No darts player has a winning record in matches against him.He has won the PDC Player of the Year award six times (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012) and has twice been nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, in 2006 and 2010, finishing as runner-up in the latter. He was the first, and to date, the only person to hit two nine dart finishes in one match, in the 2010 Premier League Darts final against James Wade. He has hit a record ten televised nine-dart finishes and is ranked world number two in the PDC Order of Merit.

Rob Andrew

Born in 1963, Rob Andrew was educated at Barnard Castle School, County Durham, where he was a contemporary of Rory Underwood. He then went on to Cambridge University where he became a double blue, not only playing rugby for the university but captaining the cricket side. Rob was a star player for Wasps, Newcastle, England, and the British & Irish Lions. After retiring from playing he went on to be Director of Rugby for Newcastle and then Director of Elite Rugby at the RFU. He is currently the CEO of Sussex County Cricket Club.

Sarah Outen

Sarah Outen is a British adventurer, motivational speaker and author. In November 2015 Sarah completed her London2London: Via the World expedition, which saw her attempt to kayak, cycle and row 25,000 miles around the Northern Hemisphere. The journey took 4.5 years and was all the richer for not turning out exactly as had been planned.www.sarahouten.com@SarahOuten

Scyld Berry

Scyld Berry has reported on more England Test matches than any cricket writer, over 400 of them, including 20 Ashes series. He was born and grew up within a mile of Bramall Lane in Sheffield. He started as a cricket journalist in 1976, and has successively been the cricket correspondent of the Observer, the Sunday Correspondent, theIndependent on Sunday, the Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Telegraph. For four years he was the editor ofWisden Cricketers' Almanack. On the field, he has taken five wickets in an innings in county cricket - for Gloucestershire Over-60s.Cricket: The Game of Life is Scyld's seventh book - six of which are about cricket. He has three children, two cats and a wife.

Seb Coe

Sebastian Coe was born in London in 1956 and grew up in Sheffield. As a world record-breaking middle-distance runner, Seb won four Olympic medals, including the 1500 metres gold medal at the Olympic Games in Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles in 1984. He was a Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party from 1992-97 and later, Chief of Staff to William Hague. He was created a life peer in 2000 and was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to sport in 2006. Seb has recently led the winning Bid and Organising Committee for the London 2012 Games.