If by any chance you like a good book and you are not averse to sport, even football, take this recommendation. It is called The Boy on the Shed and it was written by Paul Ferris. Ferris's story is fascinating and stylishly told.
In a genre too often mired in platitudes, former Newcastle and Northern Ireland winger Ferris's account of growing up Catholic in Protestant Lisburn - and the football career that promised him a way out - stands out for its honesty and humour.
A fascinating life story, bearing much heart and soul as well as being 'warts and all'. It is well worth reading for its honesty and its insights by any reader and will be a particularly absorbing read for anyone with an interest or love for 'the beautiful game' as well as Ulster readers and those who remember the would-be local football star from these shores.
This is a fascinating life story, bearing much heart and soul as well as being warts and all'. It is well worth reading for its honesty and its insights by any reader and will be a particularly absorbing read for anyone with an interest or love for 'the beautiful game'.
A roller coaster read with appeal beyond football fans, this is a tale of struggle and tragedy, of love and hope, and offers humbling reality as an alternative to the traditional "rags to riches" adventure.
In literary terms, his autobiography is far and away the best book here. Not for nothing was it shortlisted for the William Hill sports book of the year award. As with Nick Hornby's peerless classic it will endure beyond a convenient Christmas stocking filler for your dad. That's because it's not about sport, but rather about the far bigger themes of family, pain, identity, masculinity and loss.
The Boy on the Shed has enough depth and humanity to make your average football autobiography look like a Ladybird book.
Ferris's wonderful memoir represents a twin triumph ... and his writing is a pure pleasure.
Ferris's book offers new insights into professional sport - and what happens when the dream curdles.
This will be one of the most talked about football books of 2018.
A remarkable piece of writing...Life, death, love, leaving home, motherly relationships, striving, all weaved into the football journey and every page I found myself relating to his experiences, some very personal...So much more than a sporting memoir. You could take so much from it without an interest in football.
An excellent read.
Paul Ferris has a good story to tell, in fact several, Irish and Geordie, politics and football, and he tells it well, avoiding the obvious pitfalls of trying to be either lyrical or philosophical or too clever.
It is also not a run-of-the-mill book about football, but a well-rounded, exceedingly candid account of his life on and off the pitch and of his family, warts and all.
Unique, interesting, extremely emotive and gives some insight that supporters have never heard before...His story is raw and will keep you engaged without using any exaggerations which try to win over readers...Ferris has pushed himself forward extremely well in his new book, so well that any Newcastle supporter's book collection will be incomplete without The Boy on the Shed in it.
Paul Ferris has written a book that transcends genres...Ferris writes with the sort of fluency that, on the pitch, once impressed peers such as Paul Gascoigne.Ferris has gone beyond standard sports autobiographies. The Boy On The Shed is of a time and place, of Ireland, of Northern Ireland, of growing up a Catholic on a Protestant estate in Lisburn in the 1970s. It is a story of everyday sectarianism and its effects...These books offer a window on another world. Paul Ferris spent much of his childhood in Lisburn looking through one. What he saw, how he understood it and didn't understand it, is gripping.
Once opened, you will be unable to put it down.
What a life, what a book...it is excellent. Sports book of the year.
A stirring testament to the strength of the human condition and the power of ideas.
An early contender for sports book of the year, The Boy On The Shed is not only a great story of a man who came tantalisingly close to making it as a top-flight footballer (and went on to achieve so much else besides), but is simultaneously engaging, well-paced and, like the very best stories, well written.
Paul Ferris's compelling memoir is different. For starters, he wrote it all himself, beautifully. Also, it extends well beyond football...It has been quite a journey from the garden shed he used to climb, back in Lisburn, that gives this engaging book its title - and one which thoroughly confounds the notion of the idiot footballer.
The appeal of his astute story-telling is that this book works on levels that reach far beyond football. The Boy on the Shed reveals an impressive triumph of human resilience over adversity as well as a truly gifted wordsmith.
Quite simply one of the best football memoirs I've ever read and I've worked my way through rather a lot. Paul Ferris writes beautifully and weaves a fascinating tale that lures you into not wanting to put this wonderful book down. A masterpiece of the genre.
Football memoirs rarely produce great literature but Ferris's The Boy on the Shed is a glistening exception, which sets a short career with Newcastle United against the backdrop of a Catholic childhood in a protestant stronghold of Northern Ireland. He's witty, emotional and painfully self-revealing. If, as Alan Shearer intimates in the foreword, a second book is on the way, he may turn out to be the new Frank McCourt.
Ferris writes so well about the sensation of playing that those who have never kicked a ball are given a glimpse of how to be a footballer. This is so much more than a memoir about the game, however. This is rare male honesty about crippling shyness, love and despair and so very moving about the relationship between a mother and her son.