A local football manager is celebrating the publication of his first ever book: Junior Football – it’s not a man’s game.
Steve O’Donoghue, who coaches Hattersley Jets U15s, has published a book about the trials and tribulations during his first season in charge of a junior football team.
Steve decided to write the book after experiencing the ups and downs of junior football.
Speaking to Tameside Radio’s Dave Taylor, Steve said the book has been well received by a wide audience – particularly mums. “I was going to the book shops in Manchester and there were no books about it, as far as I was aware.” Said Steve.
“There are lots of books about the history of local football and lots of books about the bright lights of Premier League football, but there were no real books about junior football and how that works.
“A lot of the best comments I’ve received are from women. A lot of women have said ‘I don’t like football, but my son plays it, and I bought it for my husband, but I read it and loved it’.
“It’s not really about football; the whole book is about a dad that takes over a football team because they need a volunteer manager, and that’s how it started and that’s what it’s all about.
“It’s about that person growing, and it’s about relationships between dads, mums and kids.”
Reading the book, you get a feeling of empathy for the characters as it focuses on the good, bad and ugly of children’s football – particularly the negative effect parents can have on children who, according to Steve, are still young enough to believe in Father Christmas.
With a wealth of experience in the game as a player, parent and now manager, Steve believes Children are subjected to unwarranted criticism from parents on the side-lines. He said: “I think a lot of kids fall out of love with the game before they have the chance to fall in love with the game.
“I was a spectator and parent before I was a manager, and I’ve watched grown men and women shout at kids who still believe in Father Christmas – and I think that’s bizarre.”
Children aren’t the only targets on a Saturday morning.
In fact, a former Hyde United manager was forced to quit after suffering untoward comments from like-minded parents.
Speaking about the formation of his team, Steve said: “Originally we were Hyde United under 11s, but unfortunately the manager left the team because of the pressure some of the parents were putting him under.
“He just had enough and walked away. It’s sad because he was a nice guy and worked hard, but he just had enough and off he went.
“Other players subsequently left and so I was left with about five or six players who wanted to play. I received a phone call from Hattersley and they asked if I’d like to bring the team to them.
“It was a massive gesture and I’ve never forgotten that. They were really good to us. Without them those children could possibly have never played again.
“They took us in and supplied us with balls, training kits and somewhere to play – and they even paid for our league entry – and the book is essentially about the first season with Hattersley and what they did for us.”
Steve believes the book, which took two years to write on a smart phone, will resonate with many parents across the country.
You can purchase his book on the following link: www.stevesbook.co.uk