Today was his first climb to the top. He knew if he was there, watching, then she would never leave him. Her name was Bernadette, and he climbed the shed every day.
This is a not a football book, as such. Rather, it is a memoir by someone who happened to have superior ability at the sport during his formative years, which led him on a remarkable journey. Paul Ferris became a professional footballer and at the age of 16 was the youngest ever to play in Newcastle United's first team.
Coming from Northern Ireland and being a skilful winger with dancing feet, he was inevitably hailed as 'the new George Best'. But the story of his time in the game, particularly as a young player, is one of insecurity, injuries, uncertainty, fear and, ultimately, a failure to fulfil his hopes and dreams.
The book opens in Lisburn, near Belfast. The Ferris family are Catholics in a predominantly Protestant town at the height of The Troubles. Ferris relives his childhood and teens with brutal candour laced with black humour. The Boy on the Shed is a beautifully written account of a life, but it also lifts the lid on big personalities at Newcastle United.
I’ve read numerous books on or related to football - none come close to this - an inspiration
So much more than a book about football. Whilst the information about his career as a player and physio in football was fascinating this book also eloquently describes Paul's life journey through troubled times in Ireland and how he overcame set backs to achieve his goals.
As a mad Newcastle fan born and raised in Ireland this book had an obvious appeal to me. However, describing it as just a football book is a serious injustice. This is simply the best book I have ever read. Packed with emotion and tales of a young boy growing up hoping to be a footballer faced with daunting challenges. Paul’s awesome ability to bring the pages to life means this book with stay with you long after you have finished it.
Superb book. This is the reason I like biographies. True stories from someone who has a story to tell. Well done Paul
If you could sum up The Boy on the Shed in three words, what would they be?
Wonderful, emotional and well-written
What did you like best about this story?
It was written from the heart
Any additional comments?
I expected this to be a sports book - but it wasn’t. It was a very emotional journey, including a touch of football at NUFC and life in the North East of England.
What an Interesting and honest account from the author.Highly recommend anyone to read or listen.
Poignant, moving but uplifting, a really brilliant book. One of the best audiobooks books I’ve listened to for a good while.
A heartful true story with a life of ups and downs. A must for football people, especially Toon fans.