A day with a footballer

I fondly remember getting this book from Brighton’s Children’s Library on Church Street in the mid-1980s:

A day with a footballer - Peter O'Sullivan

It was an incredible find! A real children’s book with our own local footballer, Peter O’Sullivan, as its subject!

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Needless to say, I was fascinated at the time to find out all about the lifestyles of professional footballers. Little did I know that pros gave each other piggy backs to stay fit:

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…had to put on ties for when seeing the club physio:

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…and had All-Bran for breakfast as part of their carefully chosen diet:

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After a visit to St Peter’s School in Cowfold, our hero was interviewed by Radio Brighton. Then, the climax of the book centred around the Brighton v Leicester City match in February 1979, a match which Albion won 3-1. Now, records show that Sully didn’t score that day. However, artistic licence from the authors Allan and Christine Haddrell ensured that Peter is credited for getting the clinching goal directly from a free-kick.

sullytoday

In November last year, I had the pleasure of interviewing Peter O’Sullivan for Viva Brighton magazine (p.57). Towards the end, as well as giving him a spare copy, we got at the truth behind this beautiful book. He said: “Leave me alone! The book’s pretty frightening. I’ve tried to delete it from my memory. If you see here, I never did any warming up and stretching. The authors set me up with that one!

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“And look at that – I didn’t score!”

Well, frankly, it doesn’t even look like Sully’s taking a free-kick, does it?.

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At the end of the book, the players went on a plane to Jersey for a short holiday, which is well-documented in the Peter Ward biography as a disaster with Graham Moseley putting his hand through a glass window and the Albion players getting royally drunk. Good timing that this children’s book ended as the players got onto the British Caledonian plane!

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Peter comments: “That was the worst weekend in history,” before correcting himself: “It was a good week. Sunday lunch – we had ten bottles of red wine, and they were gone in no time at all!”

But how the blazes did he get involved in a children’s book in the first place? Peter reveals all: “The chairman Mike Bamber asked me to do it. He said some guy is doing a children’s book. Will you do it? I said, all right. I don’t mind. He introduces me to this guy. Over a month or two we meet him once a week, sometimes at the ground and he’d take some photos. The players gave me some right stick: ‘Here’s that geezer again!’ It was a tough one! I thought I’d deleted all traces of the book from history, but many people have still got it. Classic! All I can say is the person behind it was a very good story teller, especially as I am still waiting for my money for that book! They truly stitched me up.”

If you wish to read the book in its entirety, you can see it from a desktop computer (with Adobe Flash installed) here, preserved online forever. Sorry, Peter!

Other books in the series include ‘A day with a stable girl’ 😛

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4 thoughts on “A day with a footballer

  1. Steve Cowdry says:

    Absolutely brilliant! Please reconsider your decision to bring this blog to an end later in the year – where else could Albion fans of a certain age get such brilliant memories?

    • Thank you, Steve! Your kind words are much appreciated. I do think I’ve almost covered all major talking points about the Albion in that 1970 to 1997 period, although I have thought that before, and new opinions and articles surface, which is very enjoyable in itself. Are there any aspects of Albion history that you’d like to see covered in this blog? I know I haven’t featured much of Hans Kraay, Harry Wilson, Alan Duffy, Paul Moulden, Steve Cotterill, Gerry Fell, Michael Ring, Fred Binney or Tony Vessey much, so some of these might be profiled a bit more in the next few months.

  2. Steve Cowdry says:

    Any/all of the above – you are able to uncover such wonderful hidden gems/nuggets of information…..

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