Tuesday, 23 February 2010


I am in Tamworth. In a hotel. Just starting to research my Barrington Stoke novel about rugby. Whilst listening to Radio Five, tracking Leeds v Oldham. Such a big game... if you're a Leeds fan... or an Oldham fan.

I can't imagine how bad I'll feel if we fail to win this one too. I'll tell you in two hours. But hopefully not.

Shola Ameobi recommends...

A couple of weeks I saw a picture on a Newcastle United newsletter of Shola Ameobi reading my book Reading the Game.

Anne Archer of Newcastle Libraries was very kind and got me a copy of it, along with the great man's permission, to put the picture on my blog.

I love Newcastle Libraries. That's libraries, not United. They are one of the best.

It is kind of a shame the club got relegated last season. Not because I care at all about the team, but it meant the libraries could not do the Premier League Reading Stars scheme. They always did it very well. So I find myself hoping Newcastle get promoted, which is a bit odd for a Leeds fan.

Thanks Anne. Thanks Shola.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Elland Road

I was at a meeting at Leeds United today. We were talking to the community department.

In the post this morning I got a cover of the new Foul Play book, Off Side. It's about a boy from Ghana who is brought over to the UK by a dodgy football agent.

Jim Sells of the National Literacy Trust was kind enough to take a picture of me and the book at the stadium.

It was my second visit in three days. On Saturday I watched Leeds 1 Brighton 1.

Not a good result: but always a good day out.

Premier Leaue Reading Stars

The new Premier League Reading Stars book list is available at PLRS. A great list of books recommended by footballers. As I've mentioned, I am on the list. But there's some other great stuff there.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


Now I remember what being a Leeds fan is all about. How stupid of me to forget.

Six weeks ago we were ten points clear that the top of league one and had just won at Old Trafford. Now we have just lost to Walsall at home and are in danger of dropping out of the automatic promotion spots.

A third year of playoff fun beckons.

But who cares? It doesn't matter if your team is in league one or if it just won in the San Siro, does it? It's about supporting your team. Not like the grown man I met today in Grimsby who said he didn't support his home town team anymore 'because they are rubbish'.

I'm Leeds and I'm proud.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Tod Library

I took my daughter to Tod library this afternoon. We looked at some books and picked up three Famous Five books she'd ordered. Also a DVD.

I also got a couple of books about rugby - as I am about to start my rugby novel for Barrington Stoke. I need to know more about the technical stuff in rugby union. I've not watched it live, like I have rugby league. I start that in a week or so when I've finished Killer Pass.

When we were in the cafe opposite - The Bear - my wife phoned to say Leeds were losing 1-0. Not what I wanted to hear. Fortunately we equalised in the 95th minute. A own goal. What a fine wife I have!

Ran 10K in 51:42 today. A 25 second improvement. The Wigan race is in two weeks. I am desperate to break 50:00, but time is running out. I have four more 10K training runs left to cut the time. Will I do it?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

The Bandaged Man

I had a great day today planning a novel with the football writers of Basildon, a group I work with at Ghyllgrove Junior here. We went out into town and looked for setitngs for murders and people we could characterize as criminals and heroes. Then we worked out a plot that includes my own murder...

Then they gave me some feedback on Killer Pass, the book I am just finishing. It has been so useful to have them read the first draft. They convinced me to drop the ending I'd put together, in favour of something else. There was a character in it called the bandaged man. But not any more.

I love days like this. Working in a school that is as welcoming and interested as Ghyllgrove Junior makes it all worth it. So thank you to them!

Sunday, 7 February 2010


I went back to Bradford today. I used to live and work there - for a decade.

Today it was to take Iris ice skating, though I stayed off the ice. I'm weak-kneed.

We went to the Wool Exchange Waterstone's and saw the empty shop sites an abandoned building sites all around it. It's a depressing city at the moment, I am sorry to say. But - on the bright side - the book shop and Media Museum and Ice Rink are good.

Did my first proper 10K training run for the Wigan race in 3 weeks. Did 52:04. Not bad. For me. I hope to break 50:00 on the race day, but it's probably too late now. We'll see.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Yossi Benayoun

Here's Yossi holding a copy of Dead Ball, his favourite children's book. It is the story of a ruthless Russian billionnaire football club owner who likes to kill footballers.

I'm thrilled Yossi decided to stay at Liverpool and not move to Spartak Moscow.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Jed Mercurio rules

I am reading my third Jed Mercurio novel in two months. Ascent was amazing. Bodies, awesome. Now American Adulterer is stunning. Each novel is brilliant, but each is utterly different. This is one hell of a writer.


Back in Wales. I did lots of writing on the train as it skimmed the English-Welsh border through Shropshire and Herefordshire.

Football Detective 4 is nearly done. Danny just has to rescue Charlotte and avoid a baseball bat that is coming his way. Oh... and the bandaged man who is on his tail.

Also read the final proofs of The Secret Football Club, due May. I am really happy with it.

When I got to the hotel I wanted to carry on writing and it was too early to eat a meal, so I asked for a cream tea. I got two giant scones, half a pound of jam, half a pint of whipped cream, four slices of malty something cake and four Welsh cakes.

That should do me for the week.