Monday, 31 August 2009


I am off to lots of schools and festivals this autumn. Have a look at the website in a week or so and you'll see where and when.

But I start with two treats.

First, a trip to Alexandria in Egypt. I am going to meet the students at the Schutz American School there. I am really looking forward to it. They sound great. And I have always wanted to visit Egypt. I have four days in Alexandria, then two in Cairo, to visit the pyramids with my wife's uncle, Steve. One of my life's dreams coming true.

Second, two afternoons talking to children in my daughter's school. A bit closer to home. And a lovely school.

Off Side

I've finshed the third Football Detective book (the one based in Ghana) and sent it off to my editor. It's taken six months to write, mainly because I did a lot of reading up about African footballers coming to Europe - and about chocolate. Then the trip to Ghana.

It feels good. We've had a few days off since. Camping in the rain. Then a day at the seaside yesterday - in the rain.

But now - I am excited to say - Puffin want two more Football Detective books. And I've started thinking about the plot for the next one. It means there will be at least five books in the series.

Dead Ball has been out a month. I've met lots of readers at events up and down the country. That has been the best bit. It's great to meet people who have read the books and hear what they think of them. So thanks.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Edinburgh Book Festival

Yesterday was one of the best days of my writing career: I did an event at Edinburgh Book Festival!

It was great to walk into the festival and see my books all over the place. Quite an ego boost. The event was great too. Lots of Hearts, Hibs and Dunfermline fans vying for a large trophy.

The festival people were really helpful and kind. I used to run Bradford and Ilkley book festivals, so I should know what needs doing. And Edinburgh did it 100%. If you ever get a chance to go, do. It was brilliant. I also went to a mermaid event earlier in the day. Very good.

The best bit about the weekend was that the festival let me bring my wife and daughter (hence the mermaid event). We had great train rides up the north east coast and into Scotland. We stayed in a nice hotel. And Edinburgh is the best looking city in the UK, a far as I can see.

So, thanks Edinburgh.

If you want to see me a a festival in the autumn, by the way, I'm at Wigtown, Warwick, Cheltenham, Ilkley, Manchester, Morley and Lancashire's Shout About Books. I'll put the dates on my website soon.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

New Season

This afternoon Leeds kick off the new season at home to Exeter. I have high hopes. Sort of.

I took my daughter to the friendly against Blackburn and Leeds were good: or were Blackburn bad?

We played well. But since then we've lost Fab Delph to Villa and there are woryying rumours Beckford may be going to follow him to Birmingham, at West Brom.

But we won at Burnley on Saturday without both of them.

Time will tell....

The good thing is that football is back. So good luck to your team today, if they're playing, (unless it's Exeter).

Outcasts United

I have just finshed reading an amazing book. Outcasts United by Warren St John. One of the best football books I have read. Awesome.

It is about a town in the US where many refugees are resttled, having escaped war zones around the world. A Jordanian woman brings some of the sons of the families together to play football - and for after school classes.

Children who have lost their fathers and siblings in attrocities in Africa and Europe, as well as facing huge challenges in their new country, are given a chance to play football and forget about it - and a chance to rebuild their lives.

It is moving and funny. About football and about how refugees struggle - and succeed - to settle into a strange country.

Ten out of ten.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Article on football and reading

I've just had an article published on the Cilip website about football and reading:

if it's of any interest.

I'm at Man U's Carrington academy this morning, about to support Right to Dream in the Nike world championship for academies...

Monday, 3 August 2009

Manchester United Premier Cup

There's a massive youth tournament on in Manchester this weekend. The Manchester United Premier Cup brings together youth teams from all over the world. Look at:

for more info.

I'll be supporting Ghana's Right to Dream academy, who I met a couple of weeks ago. They're very good. I am hoping to watch them play, then hopefully the final on Saturday, before racing back to Elland Road to see Leeds v Exeter.

Dubble Agents

I did a diary for while I was in Ghana. They've made it look really good with images, etc. If you want to know a bit more about football in Ghana, fairtrade choc and my forthcoming novel, have a look at: