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The Boy on the Shed:A remarkable sporting memoir with a foreword by Alan Shearer: Sports Book Awards Autobiography of the Year

Paul Ferris

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Northern Ireland, Autobiography: sport, Memoirs, Prose: non-fiction, Football (Soccer, Association football)

Sports Book Awards Autobiography of the Year
Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award
The Sunday Times Sports Book of the Year
The Times Sports Book of the Year
Telegraph Football Book of the Year

'Ferris's wonderful memoir represents a twin triumph. He has endured every kind of setback in life but has invariably reinvented himself; and his writing is a pure pleasure.' The Sunday Times

'Enough depth and humanity to make your average football autobiography look like a Ladybird book.' Telegraph

'A masterpiece of the genre' Brian McNally

'Football memoirs rarely produce great literature but Ferris's The Boy on the Shed is a glistening exception.' Guardian

'Fascinating and stylishly told.' David Walsh, The Sunday Times

The Boy on the Shed is a story of love and fate. At 16, Paul Ferris becomes Newcastle United's youngest-ever first-teamer. Like many a tricky winger from Northern Ireland, he is hailed as 'the new George Best'.

As a player and later a physio and member of the Magpies' managerial team, Paul's career acquaints him not only with Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and Bobby Robson, Ruud Gullit, Paul Gascoigne and Alan Shearer but also with injury, insecurity and disappointment.

Yet this autobiography is more than a tale of the vagaries of sporting fortune. It begins during 'The Troubles' in a working-class Catholic family in the Protestant town of Lisburn, near Belfast. After a childhood scarred by his mother's illness and sectarian hatred, Paul meets the love of his life, his future wife Geraldine.

Talented and carefree on the pitch, shy and anxious off it, he earns a tilt at stardom. His first spell at Newcastle turns sour, as does his return as a physio, although obtaining a Masters degree shows him what he could achieve away from football.

When Paul qualifies as a barrister, a career in Law beckons. Instead, a craving to prove himself in the game draws him back to St James' Park as part of Shearer's management triumvirate - with unfortunate consequences.

Written with brutal candour, dark humour and consummate style, The Boy on the Shed is a riveting and moving account of a life less ordinary.

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Praise for The Boy on the Shed:A remarkable sporting memoir with a foreword by Alan Shearer: Sports Book Awards Autobiography of the Year

  • 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. - Irish Tatler

  • What a life, what a is excellent. Sports book of the year. - BBC Radio 2 Simon Mayo

  • 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. - Simon Bird, Football Correspondent, Daily Mirror

  • 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. - Irish Times

  • Superb - Oliver Holt

  • An excellent read. - Alan Shearer

  • 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. - Daily Mail

  • This will be one of the most talked about football books of 2018. - Henry Winter

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Paul Ferris

Paul Ferris was a teenage prodigy, becoming Newcastle United's youngest-ever player in 1982, only for injury to ensure his promise went unfulfilled. He later returned to the club as a physiotherapist before earning a Master's degree and beginning a successful quest to qualify as a barrister. But the lure of football was always strong and he went back for a third spell at Newcastle, as Head of the Medical Department, again working closely with a host of big-name players and managers. Paul also became a novelist and now runs a successful health and fitness business.

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