British Sports Book of the Year 2009 Award Ceremony – News Update

In a glittering awards ceremony held at the swanky Park Lane Hotel, Piccadilly, the great and good of the sports and publishing worlds collided at the annual British Sports Book of the Year (2009) Awards.

Gaby Logan along with a huge variety of sportsmen and sporting men provided additional glamour. These included Bob Willis, Graham Poll, Ed Smith, Frank Maloney, Brough Scott, Mick Fitzgerald, Marcus Trescothick, Michael Owen (rugby player) and Paul Canoville and, from those great supporters and patrons of British Speedway, Sky Sports’ very own Jonathan Sim.

There were six categories announced at the event and, sadly, my nomination with Concrete for Breakfast in the Best Biography section didn’t win through! Though this accolade deservedly went Christopher Hilton’s Regga – his book on Clay Regazzoni.

Many books were praised but there can only ever be a limited number of winners. Some of those spoken about highly deserve a place on any bookshelf and these include:
When Friday Comes/James Montague (Mainstream)
The Accies:Cradle of Scottish Rugby/David Barnes (Birlinn)
Bob Woolmer’s Art & Science of Cricket (New Holland)*
Don’t Mention the Score/Simon Briggs (Quercus)
Black & Blue/Paul Canoville (Headline)

*There’s something in it for everyone since it, apparently, ranges from forward driving technique to sex and the test cricketer

Many of the speeches and comments were often both touching and witty, particularly those by Christopher Hilton and Paul Canoville!

I was delighted to receive my nomination and believe that I was the only self-published author to attend. This is quite something in itself but I was even more honoured to tacitly represent and showcase British Speedway at such a high profile sports occasion. Hopefully, the members of the press in attendance will give speedway more thought and coverage in future!

Everyone puts a brave face on afterwards if they’ve not scooped the top prize. As the author I’m delighted but, as the publisher, I’m gutted! And vice versa.

None of my books would ever have happened without the help, encouragement and support of so many people involved in British Speedway. Thank you!

With sincere apologies to everyone I’ve missed (sorry), I would like to reiterate the acknowledgements section of Concrete for Breakfast:

“I mentioned earlier that I have been overwhelmed with help and kindness. I hesitate to name everyone as, inevitably, I will make a mistake and miss someone I’m extremely grateful to, so, with sincere apologies to those who I do manage to miss out I would like to thank the following people: Peter Adams, Rachael Adams, Graham Arnold, Stephanie Babb, Mike Bacon, Paul Bailey, Graeme Bailey, Andrew Baker, Robert Bamford, Nick, Johnny, Bev, Molly and Colin Barber, George and Linda Barclay, Derek Barclay, Dick Barrie, Phil Bartlett, Norman Beeney, John Berry, Mike Berry, Alun Biggart, Ray and Mark Blackwell, Joyce and Malcolm Blythe, Richard Bott, Bob and Greg Brimson, Jim and Steven Brykajlo, Brian Burford, John Campbell, Alison Chalmers, Karen Chappell, Steve Chilton, Jon Cook, Graham Cooke, Kevin Coombes, Dougie Copland, David Crane, Lucy Cross, Dave Croucher, Jonathan Chapman, Keith and Cheryl Chapman, Martin Dadswell, Andrew Dalby, Paddy Davitt, Gordie Day, Nigel Dean, Anita Dennington, Alan Dick, Chris Durno, Tim Durrans, Graham and Denise Drury, Steve and Debbie Dixon, Neil Dyson, Svend Elkjaer, George and Joan English, Dave Fairbrother, Ben Findon, Richard Frost, Cory Gathercole, Chris Gay, Chris Geer, Trevor Geer, Arnie Gibbons, Bill Gimbeth, Darcia Gingell, Rob Godfrey, Mike and Anita Golding, Mick Gregory, George Grant, Rob Griffin, Andy Griggs, Nobby Hall, Keith Hamblin, Tim Hamblin, Steve Hilliard, Liz Hunt, John Hyam, John, Jordan, Karen, Mark and Judy Hazelden, Jim Henry, Andy Higgs, Mike Hinves, Richard Hollingsworth, Dave Hoggart, Charles Howgego, Paul Hunsdon, Lynn Hunt, Mike Hunter, Tony Jackson, Sue Jackson-Scott, Wendy Jedrzejakski, Adam Jennison, Edward Kennett, Elvin King, Tim Lang, Jo Lawson, Mark Lawton, Sheila Le-Sage, Kevin Ling, Gary Lough, John Louis, Roger Love, Joanna Lunde, Michael Max, Tony and Susie MacDonald, Ella MacDonald, Phil Mackie, Ian and Jean Maclean, Neil Machin, Lee Maclaughlin, Julie Martin, Martin Mauger, Iain McBride, Dennis McCleary, Charles McKay, Allan Melville, Steve and Sarah Miles, Howard Milton, Jayne Moss, Martin Neal, Bill Norris, Peter Oakes, Paul Oughton, Brian Owen, Gordon Pairman, Shane and Anji Parker, Dave Pavitt, Michael Payne, Nigel Pearson, Rob Peasley, Di Phillips, Mark Poulton, Andy and Win Povey, Colin Pratt, Dave Rattenberry, Julie Reading, Dave and Margaret Rice, John Rich, Gareth Rogers, Laurence Rogers, Wayne Russell, Craig Saul, Mark Sawbridge, Sid Shine, Len and Hazel Silver, Andrew Skeels, Derek Smith, Phil Spence, the late Tim Stone, Tony Steele, Trevor Swales, Shaun Tacey, Dave Tattum, Caroline Tattum, Peter Toogood, Stuart Towner, Ian Thomas, Tony (Grandad) Thompson, Stefan Usansky, Dave Valentine, Chris Van Stratton, Peter Waite, Barry Wallace, Nick Ward, Paul Watson, Alf Weedon, The Reverend Michael Whawell, Bryn Williams, Scott Wilson, Cameron Woodward, Ashley and Jane Wooller, Dave Wright and Malcolm Wright.

To pick out anyone in particular would be invidious. However, I owe so many ‘thank you’s’. The book wouldn’t look as lovely as it does without Vicky Holtham’s design and artistic skills, along with her stubborn persistence. There would be many more errors than there are without the diligent proofreading of Caroline Tidmarsh and Vy Shepherd along with speedway fanatic Billy Jenkins who has kindly encouraged and advised in so many thoughtful ways. Graham Russel has shown tremendous pedantry and knowledge to wrangle with my words to convert them into some sort of sense. My true friend Sue Young has encouraged me often in so many things and really saved me when I needed that most – for which she has my eternal gratitude. Of course, without the love and guidance of my parents – Mary and Alan – none of this book or so many other things would have been possible. Finally, you can never have too many teachers and I was lucky enough to have been inspired to write my speedway books by a truly great teacher, poet, musician and wit – Michael Donaghy. He remains greatly missed.”

With additional special thank you’s for Ian McMillan, Richard Whitehead and David Willis.

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