A Few Of My Books…
For more information about any of my books, please get in touch with me. I haven’t included all of them on this page as some are ghost-written with, of course, that meaning the subject doesn’t want my involvement in his/her book made public.
Norwich City Miscellany (2010) Pitch Publishing
Facts, figures and general trivia about Norwich City Football Club. The sort of book you can dip into at random whenever you have a few minutes to spare. Easy to read but a real challenge to write as any mistake, however small or seemingly insignificant will soon be picked up by the reader who will soon let you and their fellow fans know all about it. When I first met Delia Smith, perhaps Norwich’s most famous fan, she took great enjoyment in telling me it was a book that she regularly bought for her friends. Commercially it has sold very well and continues to do so even though eight years have now elapsed since it was first published.
Greatest Games-Norwich City (2012) Pitch Publishing
Pitch swiftly followed up on the success of the Norwich City Miscellany by asking me to write this celebration of fifty of the most memorable games played that involved the Canaries, covering a period that stretched from 1915 to 2012. Hugely enjoyable to write even if it was, as far as the research required was needed, as demanding as any book I have written but, given the excellent reviews and feedback I continue to get from readers, hard work that was more than worth the effort.
Fantasy Football (2012) Legends Publishing
The 1992/93 season was the first for English football’s Premier League, one that saw, against all the odds, Norwich City finish it in third place having threatened, at one point, to win it. I wanted the story to be told by the people involved with the club at that time so it features several interviews with ex-players as well as journalists, administrators and fans. Amongst those I interviewed for the book were former players Bryan Gunn, Darren Eadie and Jeremy Goss, journalist and broadcaster Mick Dennis, football commentator John Motson and Norwich fan Ed Balls, then the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer who I spent a hugely enjoyable afternoon with in his offices at Portcullis House in Westminster.
Norwich City The Seventies (2013) Amberley Publishing
The continuing success of my books about Norwich City meant that I was now developing a reputation as an author who not only knew his subject very well but could be guaranteed to deliver a manuscript on time. Nostalgia for the games past is an enormous industry within football so this book, which looks back at the ‘life and times’ if the club from 1970 to 1979 and featuring matches, players and incidents from that decade was always going to be popular with both readers and critics alike as it celebrated what is now perceived as a golden age for both the club and game as a whole.
Gossy The Autobiography (2014) Amberley Publishing
I worked with former Norwich City player Jeremy Goss for well over a year on this, his authorised biography. Jeremy’s fame reached its peak with his two goals against Bayern Munich in Norwich’s 1993/94 UEFA Cup campaign but the story is about so much more than that. Jeremy tells it with an honesty and sincerity that belies the reputation of the modern day footballer. My first book written as a ghostwriter and one which immediately made me want to work on more of this type.
“A top quality book, I’ve enjoyed every chapter. So interesting to see how it used to be for players trying to make it into the game. It’s a book that Norwich fans will love but a great read for any football fan”.
It’s Always The Children (with Gillian Large) (2015) LEB Books
Having worked with Jeremy Goss on his book and deciding, throughout that process, that I wanted to work as a ‘ghost’ on more biographies, I was delighted to have the opportunity to work with Gillian Large on her life story. It’s a harrowing tale of growing up in the tangle of her Mother’s numerous relationships and having, from a very early age, to have to take responsibility for the ever increasing number of children that her Mother was having. Despite numerous difficulties and living in appalling conditions, Gillian describes growing up in the 50’s and 60’s with a warm touch and with no little humour, despite some very dark moments.
“This book shows that even in extreme adversity the human spirit can triumph. Quite a harrowing read at times but written with humour and humanity”.
Mapping The Pitch (2015) Meyer and Meyer Sports
Meyer and Meyer are a large and hugely respected publishing group based in Germany who approached me about writing a book about the history of football tactics, an invitation that I was delighted to accept as it meant I would be writing about the game on a worldwide scale rather than just Norwich City. The book takes an informal yet, I hope, very informative look at some of the most influential football coaches and teams in the games history as well as exploring some of the origins of the games more well known formations and the players who were an integral part of them.
“This book is very entertaining and avoids being dry as are many of the soccer tactics books I’ve read. Could striker-less teams be the answer along with the return of the sweeper? Read the book and decide for yourself. Who knew that Holland’s “total football” may have been planted by an Englishman at the turn of the century afterwards being adopted by the Hungarian’s “Socialist Football” before Johan Cruyff ever kicked a soccer ball! Want to know why Brazil got trounced by Germany in the 2014 WC, could it have something to do with Brazil’s 1950s soccer DNA? Highly recommended”. (Official Review)
Never Mind The Canaries (2015) The History Press
A Norwich City quiz book that was great fun to write and which has, as I am repeatedly being told, has been a constant companion for fans of the club undertaking long trips to and from away matches
Norwich City The Eighties (2015) Amberley Publishing
It seemed natural to both myself and Amberley to follow up the success of the previous volume with one about the decade that followed. Would it be one that saw the Canaries briefly brighten the nations footballing skies for all to see, before falling back into obscurity? Or would the club grow and prosper with the game, despite the glamour and celebrity beginning to favour the big clubs and the big matches which came at the expense of everything else? First and foremost a football book of course but one that was also able to offer a social comment about how the game of football was beginning to change-and not always for the better.
Tender Joy (with Joyce Spencer) (2016) Tidbury Publishing
Another opportunity to work with someone on their life story and what an absolute pleasure this one was from beginning to end. Joyce was born in 1925, a bright and ambitious girl who didn’t want to leave her Hampshire school, having been identified as having a promising future by her Headmaster. Yet those hopes were not to be fulfilled as, at just fourteen, she was forced to leave school and enter the world of work, eventually becoming a Nurse who ended up driving an ambulance in World War Two as Portsmouth was being blitzed by the Luftwaffe. It is an intensely personal journey, one that is full of honesty, compassion and humour; a life well lived and told with the energy that characterised how she lived it.
Norwich City The Nineties (2017) Amberley Publishing
The third volume in what was now becoming an unauthorised and comprehensive history of the football club. I had always expected that the volume that dealt with the 1970’s would be a one off but, such has been the popularity of these books, the interest and demand for them has grown and to such an extent that Norwich City The Noughties is due to bring the series up to date at some point in 2019. For this particular edition, I decided to include some stories and recollections from some of the clubs supporters, new content that has gives the book a very personal and intimate feel throughout.
A149 Landmarks (2017) Amberley Publishing
I’d long wanted to write a book about the A149, the famous coast road that winds its sinuous path along the Norfolk coast from Kings Lynn through to Great Yarmouth. It’s a road trip with a difference, less than 90 miles in length but a journey that takes the reader through historical and social events that have helped shape a county and have made a significant impact locally, nationally and, in some instances, internationally. The book explores some of the towns, villages and landmarks that feature on this picturesque and iconic highway inviting, in the process, the reader to seek them out and find out a little more about the part they played in Norfolk’s rich history.
Our Joyful Life (with Vera Thornhill and Gary Hatt) (2017) Tidbury Publishing
A deeply personal and intimate biography that tells the story of a Mother and son. Vera, a proud ‘South London girl’ and Gary, her son, born blind and having to grow up with all the difficulties and discrimination that anyone born with a disability has to learn to live with and learn to overcome, something which he has done with courage and no little humour. Their respective lives have not, for myriad reasons, been easy. Yet neither of them have ever seen difficulties and prejudice as an excuse to give up or to just hide and mope. They take whatever comes up on the chin, resolve to overcome it and, in the spirit of the old wartime poster, they really do ‘keep calm and carry on’. A heart warming story which I am convinced would make a fine Sunday evening TV programme on BBC1.
Run Silent, Run Deep (with Tony Beasley) (2018) Tidbury Publishing
Tony Beasley really did run away from home to go to sea. This book recalls some of the adventures that Tony, now 85 and as feisty and spirited a man now as he would have been when he was 18, had during his time in the Royal Navy. It is a genuinely remarkable story that includes a vivid recalling of the part he played in a mission that took place during the Cold War, a mission that took place on a vessel he had vowed never to serve on yet one that he faced up to and dealt with in such a way that he emerged from it being regarded as a hero. These are memories of a life spent at sea told with a refreshing mix of dark humour and brutal honesty. Tony doesn’t hold back, he tells things here as he saw it and doesn’t care if that telling might give someone a bloody nose in the process.
Ruins And Follies Of East Anglia (2018) Amberley Publishing
A book that takes a look at some of East Anglia’s ruined buildings and follies and the rich history and stories that accompany them. The intention is for the book to accompany the reader on their visits to the places listed and to encourage them to indulge in the imagination at each one. Our imaginations are an underused and unvalued resource, the joys of which are all too easily lost as we grow up. To you and me a cardboard box is a cardboard box, a receptacle for carrying things in, something functional and lifeless. Yet, to a child, it can be a ship, a tank or a spacecraft, there are no limits to the places that a simple box can take them to. This book invites you to indulge in the same riot of imagination when exploring the ruins of an old church or a building that was designed and built in the manner it was simply because someone wanted form and function to be replaced by flair and fantasy. When you open the door of a folly, you also, just as its architect did, open one to the imagination which is what, above all, this book is a tribute to.
Keep Out! Britain’s Forbidden Places (2021, Amberley Publishing)
How many times have you been tempted to see for yourself if the paint in question really is wet?
We’ve all done it. As soon as our brain registers the hastily scribbled note that reads ‘Wet Paint’ we can’t help but put an enquiring finger to the surface in question. It’s one of those impulsive acts that is buried deep within our DNA, the same one that once made us run away if a sabre toothed tiger appeared on the horizon. It’s a response to external stimuli that you don’t question or logic out but instinctively respond to.
I feel the same way about signs that read ‘Keep Out’. They may as well say ‘Come On In And Have A Look Around’ as far as I’m concerned. And if the instruction to ‘Keep Out’ isn’t a coded invitation to do exactly the opposite, then what is it?
‘Keep Out’ means there is something, somewhere, behind the gate, door or barrier that it’s attached to, that someone, somewhere, doesn’t want me to see.
Which means, not unnaturally, I most definitely want to see it for myself. Right now if possible.
Fortunately, at least as far as the owners of whatever it is that has to remain hidden from public view at all costs are concerned, there are various options available in addition to a sign that will, more often than not, lessen the temptation to stray into places where we shouldn’t be going.
Like high fences and walls topped with barbed wire. Or heavily armed security personnel together with a clutch of fearsome looking dogs. Plus spotlights, hidden cameras, trip wires and laser activated alarms by the proverbial dozen.
Add any combination of the above and it’s a fairly safe bet that we’re all going to obey that age old maxim of, “Move on, nothing to see here”. Except of course, that there is. And if someone is prepared to surround it with the sort of hardware that wouldn’t look out of place on the Death Star, then they’re as sure as hell hiding something worth looking at.
Which is pretty much what this book is all about.
It’s an excursion around some of the best kept secrets in England. Places where someone, somewhere, would rather the likes of you and me never even knew about, let alone contemplated visiting. Some are more well known than others, some are actually visible to the naked eye whilst others are so secretive that the nature and contents of whatever hides behind the sign can only be speculated at.
Which makes them even more appealing.
Let’s see what’s out there.
138 Game Shot And The Match (2021, Pitch Publishing)
138-Game Shot & The Match explores the world of professional darts in the company of former World Champion and current Sky Sports presenter Keith Deller.
Deller rose from complete obscurity to lift the games ultimate prize at just 23 years of age in 1983 and tells his story in a book that takes the reader on an intimate tour behind the scenes of a game that now has over 50 million active players worldwide.
“A great story of the emergence and life of a sporting legend from humble beginnings with an ambition to make the most of his talent. Keith comes across as an all-round nice guy who helped others along his journey and has become highly regarded by fellow professionals in the game. The book tells of his part in forming the PDC which led the way for the success and profile of darts and players today. The recounting of his World Championship matches leading to the final against Bristow will have you page-turning in anticipation. A good read clearly showing why this honest professional is still popular today on the exhibition circuit and at charity events”. (Official Review)
My Way (2022, Tidbury Media)
Modern life has a tendency to be rather grey at times. Maybe it’s a reflection of our climate which, all too often, is grey in both name and nature, one that is very well summed up by the American author Marilyn French who famously said, ‘Rain is the one thing the British do better than anyone else’.
There’s no answer to that.
Thank goodness then, for the people who have taken it upon themselves to surround their lives with colour and vibrancy. If only their effervescent for life could be as effective as the dread Corona virus that added to life’s greyness throughout the writing of this book. It’s effectiveness was measured by the ‘R’ number, a reference to the average number of secondary infections produced by one single infected person.
Statistical calculations that even the least mathematically inclined among us became all too familiar with from 2020 to 2021.
Imagine life’s happy, positive and forward thinking people carrying their own ‘R’ number with them wherever they went. One that had its effectiveness measured by the number of people who ‘caught’ an element of that aspect of their characters from the carrier of the happy and vibrant ‘R’ carrier.
That would be something well worth catching.
Lord Russell is most definitely a carrier. He is a modern day Bacchus, who was, for those of you not familiar with the name, the ancient Greco-Roman God of wine and festivity-a jolly happy chap in other words. No matter what. Russell, like Bacchus, loves life and he loves people. Genuinely so. But he doesn’t want to keep all of his rampant jollity all to himself. He wants to share it around, something that he has striven to do since his childhood.
A major beneficiary of his largesse has been his adopted home county of Norfolk.
The Lord Baker Community Fund provides ongoing philanthropy within the region through charity event promotions that are linked to the Lord Baker Community Fund which enables grant making and charitable support for Norfolk based communities. Russell’s ethos here is, amongst other things, to promote health and well being, to tackle disadvantages, promote community cohesion and to seek and establish local solutions that meet local needs.
He has, as you will read in this book, lived a very full and colourful life. But he doesn’t see being able to do so as being some sort of exclusive preserve of the privileged. Russell wants us all to have the opportunity to do so and remains steadfast in providing the means and finances for as many people as possible to do just that for themselves.
We’ve attempted to tell the first part of his story here and how he got to become the man he is today. And I mean what I say when I refer to this book as telling the ‘first part’ of Lord Russell’s story. Because he has only just got started, there is, believe me, a lot more to come yet.
But we thought we get the ball rolling here anyway…..
“This guy is amazing and bonkers in equal measure. A really interesting read. Recommended”. (Official Review)