I last updated my website one week before the release of the Jimmy Murphy biography. So much has happened since that I’ve barely had time to take stock and post an update. Well, I do have some news and I’m so excited to share it.
A couple of weeks ago I went to see Nick Murphy, son of Jimmy, to return some family pictures which were used for the biography.
Obviously, with Jimmy’s story being so important and his family being so sensitive about it, I have been conscious about their thoughts about the final product. The initial feedback about the book has been amazingly and overwhelmingly positive and I went to see Nick fresh with having just been informed that the book had already had to go to second edition and it had barely been three weeks since the release!
We sat and talked and had great conversation and as we said goodbye, Nick told me I’d done a brilliant job and thanked me. The proudest reflection of my career is the little section of my bookshelf with autobiographies I have worked as ghost writer on, each of them signed by the person I worked with. Obviously with Jimmy’s book that was impossible but to have that seal of approval meant a lot to me.
It’s been a strange few days as the feedback about the book continues to pour in. There’s a certain amount of vindication as there is with any book I’ve worked on; that it was a good idea, that it worth writing and worth reading. That vindication comes with the good fortune to be published in the first place, which is something I never take for granted, but when it comes to Manchester United literature, there is a certain element of pressure. Pressure to write something that is worthy of contributing to the excellent work already out there.
In some respects it makes dealing with feedback a different experience to, say, writing a fiction book. I have some faith in the value of my conviction; if I think something would make an interesting story, I’m therefore somewhat certain that people will be interested in it in the same way. The grey area is whether or not I can translate and articulate the subject matter interestingly enough to be engaging.
So, you’re probably wondering what the news is (beyond the very exciting news about the book already having been given a reprint?). Well hold your horses first!
I’ve had a couple of further media appearances since my last post. I was on MUTV talking about Jimmy on the Paddy Crerand show. I made a short appearance on the Keys and Gray show on beINsports on the 16th February – you can watch from about 53 minutes on this link.
I was also on the Beyond The Pitch podcast speaking with Phil Brown. Phil did a wonderful job and it was a pleasure speaking to him, he was so passionate about Jimmy’s story and I could have talked to him for hours. You can listen to the show here if you are so inclined. And last week I was also honoured to be a guest on Tyler Dunne’s podcast that goes out in North America. You can listen to that here – again, it was a privilege to talk about Jimmy although our conversation moved quickly into talking about United’s great youth system. Finally on podcasts, I spoke to Mike Pieri who does a wonderful job at Shoot The Defence for a feature podcast a few weeks ago. Mike is a really knowledgable guy so it was great to talk about the book with him – you can listen to that here.
The reprint of the book was the first hint I had of how well it was doing. My wife and I went into Waterstone’s in the Arndale in Manchester and there were no copies of the book – my wife asked the staff if they had any copies but they were sold out. They had just had a delivery that morning and had sold out already!
The following week we went in to the Waterstone’s on Deansgate and in the Trafford Centre and I was absolutely stunned to see the book had its own table. Seriously!
But the best was yet to come. I was tweeted by the folk who run the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Twitter account, who said (out of the blue) that they were hopeful of reading the book for consideration for the award. That was exciting enough, and when I talked about it with my publishers at Trinity Mirror, they seemed to be one step ahead of me — they said that the book will be submitted for consideration for the 2018 award!
The award is one of the most prestigious; to have even had the book mentioned as a possible candidate was a privilege, but to have a) the body themselves request it and b) the publisher already having the confidence in it to say they were submitting it anyway, is such a vote of confidence that made me feel ecstatic.
And then, just this week I was told that we have received a request for the book to be translated for an overseas edition. It will be my first translated book and I’m looking forward to having a copy of that sit alongside the first and second editions (I still can’t get my head around that) on my personal bookshelf.
As far as I’m concerned I feel the publishers deserve wonderful credit too. They did a great job with the editing and some amendments; there are a couple of people who have really been championing the book at Trinity Mirror, they hopefully know who they are, I’m so appreciative of everything they have done.
That’s it for now, I just wanted to share this news with you. I continue to be busy — I’m working on a couple of books and I’m also planning to do a special podcast with the esteemed sports writer Patrick Barclay on his Matt Busby biography.
There’s also a ton of information due to drop about Peach at any time, now that a home has been found for it.
Thanks to everyone for your continued support.