The latest book reviews in one place

The Boy on the Shed Reviews

The Boy on the Shed by Paul Ferris

The Boy on the Shed

Paul Ferris

4.93 out of 5

4 reviews

Imprint: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Publication date: 22 Feb 2018
ISBN: 9781473666702

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.

1 Prize for The Boy on the Shed

William Hill Sports Book of the Year
2018 Shortlist

Graham Sharpe, Chairman of Judges and co-founder of the Award, said:

“This has proved to be one of the most competitive renewals in the lengthy history of the Award, with 17 worthy titles vying for a place on the shortlist. We believe the resulting magnificent seven set an extraordinarily high standard, bringing a depth of insight and fresh perspective to areas of sport and sporting history so often misunderstood, misinterpreted, underestimated or overlooked in the headline-led, here today, gone tomorrow media culture.  We believe readers will not only enjoy but also learn from these game-changing books as we have. 

“At 30 years old, we’re in the unique position to look back over three decades of publishing and to see how some things have changed dramatically, and others have not - the notably small number of female authors being published in this field, for instance, across a range of sports. Whilst the breadth and scope of sports writing has undoubtedly improved, and its reception and recognition by the literary world is much changed, there are still some areas where there is significant work to be done.”

Reviews

  • The TimesBook of the Year
5 stars out of 5
Robert Crampton
1 Dec 2018

" Ferris’s memoir will endure beyond a convenient Christmas stocking filler"

In literary terms, Ferris’s 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 Fever Pitch, Ferris’s memoir 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 Sunday TimesBooks of the Year
5 stars out of 5
25 Nov 2018

"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"

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. A Catholic brought up on a Protestant council estate in Northern Ireland, he had his outlook shaped by four cornerstones: his mother’s heart disease; the Troubles; the Catholic Church; and football, his means of escape.

5 stars out of 5
Brian Viner
1 Mar 2018

"He brilliantly evokes the daily fears and degradations caused by rabid sectarianism"

Rich, pampered and thick. That’s the popular view of professional footballers — a slur that quite a few of them do little to counter... Paul Ferris’s compelling memoir is different. For starters, he wrote it all himself, beautifully. Also, it extends well beyond football.. During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Ferris grew up in a devoutly Catholic family in an overwhelmingly Protestant town — Lisburn, just outside Belfast. He brilliantly evokes the daily fears and degradations caused by rabid sectarianism.

4 stars out of 5
24 Feb 2018

"...his football career as almost-star-turned-in-house-staff man is grippingly delivered"

In a way, there are two books contained within here. Ferris’s life as a Troubles-era youngster is adroitly told and heartfelt but not that unusual. However his football career as almost-star-turned-in-house-staff man is grippingly delivered... Ferris, through his early bad luck, could have become one of the victims of the game but was smart enough to navigate his own path to become, as Shearer notes in his foreword “a fighter and – as you will see – a writer.