Champagne Football was the biggest-selling Irish-published book in 2020

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Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan’s book sold over 49,300 copies.

CHAMPAGNE FOOTBALL, A book about John Delaney and the FAI, was the biggest-selling Irish-published book in Ireland in 2020.

The book followed on from authors Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan’s prolific reporting on the activities of John Delaney and the FAI in the Sunday Times.  

In an interview with The42.ie when the book was published, Rowan said:

“I think [Delaney] was somebody who was desperate to be loved by everybody, in some ways. He wanted to be loved and admired by the grassroots and he wanted the same from the fans. Then he seemed to try to become a bit of a national celebrity. So he seemed to have a great desire to be loved by everybody.”

Nielsen ICM data published today for the final week of 2020 showed that Champagne Football by Tighe and Rowan (Sandycove) was Ireland’s best-selling Irish-published book last year with 49,307 copies sold.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy (Ebury Press) was Ireland’s overall best-selling book last year with a total of 67,926 copies.

Coming up behind the combined total sales of the two editions of Mackesy’s book was Delia Owens’ Where The Crawdads Sing, (Corsair) which was published in 2019.

Old Ireland In Colour by John Breslin and Sarah-Anne Buckley (Merrion Press) – which won the TheJournal.ie Best Irish Published Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards – and Home Stretch by Graham Norton (Coronet Books) were also in the top five bestsellers.

Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People (Faber & Faber) was given a boost by the TV series of the same name – directed by Lenny Abrahamson – and was just outside the top five. Its predecessor, Conversations With Friends, was in the 20th bestseller spot. 

Other bestsellers in the top 20 included Mary McAleese’s memoir Here’s The Story (Sandycove), Jeanine Cummins’ novel American Dirt (Tinder Press), Marian Keyes’ novel Grown Ups (Michael Joseph), Barack Obama’s memoir A Promised Land (Viking), Alex Michaelides’ Silent Patient (Orion), the Daly Dish cookbook by Gina and Karol Daly (Gill), Prof Luke O’Neills science book Never Mind the B#ll*cks, Here’s The Science (Gill), the Guinness World Records 2021 (Guinness World Records), Richard Osman’s debut novel Thursday Murder Club (Viking), Marie Cassidy’s memoir Beyond The Tape (Hachette Books Ireland), and David Walliams’ children’s book Code Name Bananas (HarperCollins). 

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Mark Tighe said he and Rowan “have been absolutely blown away by the reaction” to their book. “This has been a unique opportunity to weave all of our journalism into one story, and it would not have been possible without the backing of so many readers at home.”

“I hope it has informed, entertained and distracted in what has been a tumultuous year for so many,” added Rowan.  

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Christmas number one read was Old Ireland In Colour, which just pipped Champagne Football to the post that week. Coming up behind it were Graham Norton’s Home Stretch, Marie Cassidy’s Beyond The Tape, Luke O’Neill’s Never Mind the B#ll*cks, Here’s the Science, and Barack Obama’s A Promised Land. 

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