Monday, 26 April 2010


I am at George Best airport waiting for the 1855 flight to Manchester. I have been in Downpatrick today with some brilliant schools. They know a lot about football over here. It's a shame that most of them support Man U!

I have been working on the words for the opera of Off Side. Off Side (Foul Play book 3) is coming out next week. We are launching it at Potter's Field, London, with an opera of part of the story. I have to narrate bits that can't be sung. That's what I'm writing.

If you want to come, here's some info:

It's not easy.

But I'm trying. And doing new things is good.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Another author

I was in Wolverhampton Library today about to do an event and a man came in while I was talking to the librarian. He was introduced to me as another writer. Paul Dowswell.

It was great to meet him. He is the author of one of my favourite books, Auslander, the story of a boy adopted into a Nazi family in 1940s Berlin. I emailed him when the book came out to say how much I loved it.

We had a quick chat and he was kind enough to lead me to WHSmith, where I needed to buy a newspaper for my workshop.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Upper Calderdale

I cycled today. Over the tops above Todmorden. Two hours. I loved it.

I was not into the idea of cycling at all for this charity thing. I was nervous, reluctant, thinking I'll do it for this, then chuck the bike in the canal*. But it was great to be in the middle of nowhere, with just the sound of bleating when I stopped. I'm keeping the bike.

There was more bleating back down in Tod, when I got home. I found out Leeds lost and was gloomy all evening... and still am.

* of course I would never do this

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Mountain Bike

I have finally bought a bike for my sponsored cycle ride to raise money for the Ghana football academy, Right to Dream.

We go in less than three weeks.

I'll be honest, I was not looking forward to cycling. I have not been on a bike for 25 years and would have prefered to walk.

But I took the bike into the hills where I live. The Pennines. And I loved it. All I want to do is get home and hit the hills again.

If you want to sponspor me, I'm at Please and thank you.

Premier League Reading Stars

I am touring the country talking at libraries on behalf of the Premier League.

Premier League Reading Stars is a scheme that uses football to encourage reading. Footballers recommend books they like. Families talk about the books. Check out to find out more.

Today I was in Sunderland, yesterday Portsmouth, the day before Preston. They've all been great. And I am pleased to report that the nations trains - if not planes - are running like clockwork.

Tonight I am in a Newcastle hotel, about to watch the Leaders' Debate. I am hoping it will be good, but fear it will be a disappointment. A bit like watching England.