Spencer is the author of five books including The Server, listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award in 2003.
All are available through a combination of Amazon, good book shops, the publisher or Spencer himself.
The Train Kept A-Rollin’: How The Train Song Changed The Face of Popular Music
(Soundcheck Books, 2016)
For almost 200 years, people have been writing and performing songs – thousands of them – about trains. The Train Kept A-Rollin’ is the story of how many of those songs came to be and what it is, or perhaps was, about the railways that seduced generations of singers, songwriters and musicians from Birmingham, England, to Birmingham, Alabama.
Inspired by a conversation with his daughter, Rhiannon, Spencer interviewed a roll call of musical luminaries (including Ian Anderson, Nick Cave, Ray Davies, Bryan Ferry, Francis Rossi and Peggy Seeger) who shared the secrets of how they came to write and record their train songs. As much a book about love, loss, escape, hope, despair and adventure as anything, but an absolute must for train fans and anyone fascinated by what motivates songwriters to write their songs.
“Marvellous – the book I’ve been waiting 60 years for!” – Chas Hodges, singer, songwriter and one half of Chas & Dave
Lost In France: The Remarkable Life and Death of Leigh Roose, Football’s First Superstar
(Pitch Publishing, 2016)
In 1914, one of Britain’s most famous sportsmen went off to play his part in the First World War. Like millions of others, he would die. Unlike millions of others, nobody knew how or where. Until, that is, Spencer wrote this book.
Lost In France is the true story of Welsh international goalkeeper Leigh Roose; playboy, soldier, scholar, maverick and football’s first genuine superstar, a man so good as his position on the field of play that the game’s lawmakers changed the rules just to keep him in check. It is also the tale of how one man became caught up in a global catastrophe – one that would cost him his life, his identity and his rightful place as one of football’s all-time greats.
Adapted for radio by BBC Radio Wales in 2016 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Leigh’s death, Lost In France – to quote John Humphrys on the Today programme – is “surely a film waiting to happen.” That may be so but, if you’re reading this in Hollywood, the rights are still available.
“You won’t read a better football story this year.” – David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
“A terrific biography that rescues a charismatic figure from undeserved obscurity.” – Andrew Baker, Daily Telegraph
The Wimbledon Miscellany
(The History Press, 2010)
As a lover of tennis since childhood who has covered every Wimbledon since 2003, there are few people better qualified than Spencer to write a book like this. Packed full of stories, gossip, facts and quotes about the world’s greatest tennis tournament.
It’s all here – the Wimbledon finalist who died on Devil’s Island, how Cliff Richard came to be in the Royal Box that fateful day in 1996, the one armed Austrian who made the fourth round of the men’s singles, the long-forgotten Centre Court riot of 1981, Tim Henman’s shameful bit of Wimbledon history from 1995, and much more.
“If you love tennis and you love Wimbledon then this book will be a joy.” – Des Lynam, OBE
A Few Good Men – The Brighton & Hove Albion Dream Team
(Breedon Books, 2007)
In 2007, Spencer – an Albion fan since the age of nine – set out to select his all-time Brighton XI, devoting a chapter to each player selected in this book (all of who willingly gave up their time to be interviewed).
If names such as Peter Ward, Brian Horton, Jimmy Case, Mark Lawrenson, Bobby Zamora, Peter O’Sullivan and Steve Foster float your boat, then A Few Good Men is for you (please note – new copies are now only available to order directly from Spencer).
“This book is truly brilliant. I have laughed and cried while reading it, plus read things I knew nothing about…..and I was there at the time!” – talkSPORT pundit and former Albion player Gary Stevens
“Delightful. I can’t think of anyone better to put together a book like this.” – Roy Chuter writing in Seagull, Albion’s match day magazine
(Pitch Publishing, 2003)
In 2002, Spencer set out in his 1969 Morris Minor (now sadly deceased) on a 365-mile journey through England challenging people as he went to play him at tennis.
Along the way he was assaulted by a Birmingham drunk who took offence to his tennis attire, had a falling out with the All England Club over his attempts to play at Wimbledon, gate-crashed Tim Henman’s back garden and discovered Goran Ivanisevic can out-punch Chris de Burgh in a bar room brawl.
The result was The Server, nominated for the 2003 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award and inspired by the 1971 film The Swimmer, in which Burt Lancaster swims home via a ‘river of pools’ through the back gardens of suburban Connecticut (please note – new copies of The Server are now only available to order directly from Spencer).
“A sideways, exuberant and perceptive journey through the underachieving world that is English tennis.” – John Inverdale, BBC Sport
“Vignes plays everywhere from derelict inner-city courts to the upmarket surroundings of Queen’s Club, and amid the anecdotes makes points that British tennis needs to think hard about.” – Nick Szczepanik, The Times