Paul Ferris became a professional footballer and at the age of 16 was the youngest ever to play in Newcastle United's first team. Coming from Northern Ireland and being a skilful winger with dancing feet, he was inevitably hailed as 'the new George Best', but the story of his time in the game, particularly as a young player, is one of insecurity, injuries, uncertainty, fear and, ultimately, a failure to fulfil his hopes and dreams.
The book begins in Lisburn, near Belfast. The Ferris family are Catholics in a predominantly Protestant town at the height of the 'Troubles'. Neighbours are burnt out of their homes and the kids he is playing football with in the street become violent enemies as soon as the game is over. He re-lives his childhood and teens with brutal candour laced with black humour. Interwoven with the story of Northern Ireland is the love story of Paul and his future wife Geraldine.
One day he was the Next Big Thing, the next he was on the scrapheap. But Paul goes on to discover potential that few, including himself, realised he had. The former shy, bed-wetting teenager goes on to earn a degree, and then a Masters in the 'History of Ideas', before studying Law and becoming a barrister. In most stories that would be the happy-ever-after denouement, but for Paul this is just the beginning of his journey. His burning desire to prove himself in football keeps drawing him back, and twice he returns to Newcastle.
Featuring some of the biggest names in Newcastle football, including Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and Bobby Robson, Ruud Gullit and Graeme Souness, Paul paints a vivid portrait of Newcastle as 'a club turned sour' as he seeks the resolution he has been looking for.
The Boy on the Shed is a moving, well-written account of a life, as well as lifting the lid on some of the biggest names in football.
Paul Ferris was the youngest ever player for Newcastle, making his debut at 16. However, things soon turned sour and his football career ended as quickly as it had begun.
Pauls re-trained as a barrister, and was meant to be part of Alan Shearer's management team at Southampton. But when this fell through he re-trained again as a physiotherapist, and returned to Newcastle twice in this guise.
Paul now runs a successful health and fitness business.