Foul and Fair on tour

Foul and Fair on tour

5 days ago

I’ve never heard of a book tour of football tournaments before, but it seemed like a good idea for Foul and Fair. Back when I managed a grassroots kids’ team, we used to love the summer tournament season. Each team would get several short matches – typically about 10 minutes a game – in a league format, with the most successful teams progressing to a knock-out section. We had some good runs, reaching a few semi-finals and just once going all the way to the final and actually winning a tournament. We then held that title for the following three years, but mainly because that particular tournament didn’t run again in that time. I’m still claiming we held the title for an unbroken run of four seasons though.

A few weeks ago I reached out to the organisers of some local tournaments, most of whom were happy to let me come along and set up a stall. I wasn’t sure what to expect: nobody comes to a kids’ football tournament expecting to buy a book, but at the same time everybody who goes along has some experience of the world in which Foul and Fair takes place. It could be the perfect place to sell lots of copies of the book, or a complete failure in sales terms, or anything inbetween. At least if no one wanted to buy the book, I’d be able to watch some football.

But that didn’t happen. With two tournaments down and two to go, I have had lots of great conversations with people, and over the course of both weekends there was a steady flow of books being bought and taken away. I was delighted to sell 19 books at Highcliffe Hawks' tournament, and even happier last weekend at Grange Athletic when I sold another 27, including all of my remaining copies of Foul and Fair. Several people assured me that they will look out for me at other tournaments once I’ve had the chance to restock.

Generally speaking, people seemed to immediately see the appeal of the book, recognising their own experience in how I described it. All of this has encouraged me that Foul and Fair is finding its readership. If you know anyone involved in children’s football, either as coach or as a parent, please tell them about it – there’s bound to be lots in there that they recognise from their own experiences, and (I hope) they’ll love it. Of course, if you're not a football fan, there's still plenty to enjoy. It's a fast-paced thriller with lots of dirty tricks and dodgy goings-on to keep you guessing right up to the end. Come for the football, stay for the story.

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