I am delighted to announce my first children’s book – “Football’s Champions of Change”

This has been a labour of love and serious hard work but I am delighted to announce that my first children’s book “Football’s Champions of Change” will be published on September 14th. Thank you to the publishers Welbeck/Hachette for their expert advice and staunch support. I will be out and about promoting the book during the summer.

This is the synopsis on Amazon.

“This inspirational book charts the history of the anti-racism movement in English football and beyond, shining a light on both the divisive and unifying power of the beautiful game. Discover the star footballers, including the likes of Arthur Wharton and Walter Tull from the early days, as well as modern greats Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka who have faced and fought racial bigotry on the pitch and helped advance the cause. There are also commentaries and insights from coaches, referees as well as grassroots activists who are prominent voices. It also features inspiring vox pops from young, modern-day aspiring players and fans from different ethnic backgrounds, explaining their experiences and their own battle (and triumphs) to be treated equally on the pitch and in society.”

Instagram @hachettechidrens

Twitter @HachetteKids @welbeckpublish

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Braving the cold on Transfer Deadline Day at Everton’s Goodison Park

England midfielder Dele Alli arrived on a free transfer from Tottenham hoping to revive a career that has stalled badly in recent years.

He was joined by Donny van de Beek on loan from Manchester United. Once one of the most highly rated youngsters in Europe during his time at Ajax, van de Beek is looking for regular football after largely being frozen out at Manchester United.

Welcoming a new manager

The unpopular choice of former Liverpool boss, Rafael Benitez, by Everton in the summer was doomed to failure when poor results came along. With Rafa departed, former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is the new man at the helm.

Exciting times could lie ahead for disgruntled Everton supporters, although you would hardly know it from the brooding skies over Goodison Park in the photo above – courtesy of my cameraman colleague Ben Gordon.

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Embarking on a thirtieth season covering Premier League Football

At Everton’s Goodison Park

The first week of the new campaign found me reporting from Goodison Park on Everton’s surprise decision to appoint the former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez as their manager. It’s fair to say it has not been a universally popular appointment among die-hard Evertonians. Victory in their first match at home to Southampton may have helped win some over.

Damian at Goodison Park

Ready to go live into the Premier League’s “Headline Makers” show at Leeds United

I was deep in thought at Elland Road just recently (top photo), trying to make sense of Leeds United’s 5-1 humiliation at the hands of their deadly rivals Manchester United on the opening day.

The new season is underway and full of promise. There are sure to be plenty of thrills and spills over the next ten months and I’m delighted still to be a small part of it.

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Tom Ince finally emerging from dad Paul’s giant shadow

“I feel that this team and the way they play and the way the manager wants his four front players to play suits me.” He told me.

“Previously, I had stints at two other clubs and it didn’t really suit the way I wanted to play. I didn’t really get the opportunity to play. I never got a consistent run of games. So I was always stop starting and never felt my PL career had been given an opportunity to take flight.”

Huddersfield have surprised many at how they have adapted to the Premier League after being out of the top flight for over forty years. Ince has been a key figure and has not given up hope of following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a regular England international.

“Yes, 100 per cent. I think I look at the young players coming through the England system now and the way Gareth Southgate does it. He watches a lot of games, gives players a lot of opportunities. Now it’s down to me as a player. I have been given the opportunity to play for Huddersfield and showcase what I can do. England runs deep in my family with my dad playing at the World Cup and all the rest of it and captaining the country. So it’s always been a dream and an ambition and one I am working for.”

Tom's Dad Paul InceDad Paul Ince played for West Ham, Manchester United and Liverpool

So, is dad still on his case when it comes to guiding his football career. Tom insists not.

“I just put the phone down on him when he starts talking about that. Of course, he always looks out for my games. He’s always watching them and he will always be there even when I am 32 and 33 and on my last legs he will be there so it’s great to have. He knows I am man enough to know when I have performed well. He’s always on my shoulder. But he feels it is my career now and it’s about building and being the best I can be.”

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So long, Claudio

In the cut throat world of Premier League football, nobody should be surprised that Claudio Ranieri was sacked by Leicester City. He had overseen a dramatic slump in the fortunes of a team that just nine months earlier had won the title in the most heartwarming football story ever told. Yes, he had helped pen the remarkable tale but he was unable to control the narrative when a new season came around. It’s a results business and with the Foxes dangerously close to the drop zone, the club’s owners made their move.

I personally will miss him. Ranieri had a rare charisma. His avuncular style and highly quotable news conferences won him many friends in the media and beyond. The Italian had charm in spades and talent too. Nobody could have achieved what he has in the game without ability and a steely determination. Look at the stature of the clubs he has managed.

I hope he comes back but I suspect we have seen the last of him – his ambition satisfied by that most unlikely Premier League triumph at Leicester City. A statue at the King Power surely beckons.

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