Author Bryan Gibson Releases ‘Football’s Tallest Tales’

The Art of Distraction

The author in his study

Photo of the author

The day the author represented England with the mayor.

England v The USSR (Classified)


‘Football’s Tallest Tales really is the perfect Christmas gift or stocking filler or maybe just a lovely present to put a smile on the face of any football fan – young or old.’”

— Barnsley Today



The popular current BBC TV reality show ‘Boot Dreams Now or Never’ seeks to rescue young footballers from rejection. In a new book out mid-October the author recalls what it was like to be asked by his manager ‘What would you do if you weren’t a footballer?’

Bryan Gibson grew up watching football wishing he was on the pitch rather than in the crowd. Given the chance but turned down by several clubs he discovered that there is life after football. He became a lawyer and writer including for the press, TV and The Stage.

Football’s Tallest Tales is inspired by the characters and events he met along the way. The author also acknowledges (among other subliminal influences) the late-Michael Parkinson’s ‘Football Daft’, Ian McMillan’s ‘Yorkshire Fairytales’ and (sadly departed) friend Tony Capstick’s ‘Sheffield Grinder’ hit record.

‘After all we’re all from the same place and there something in the air in the Potted North as I like to call it but you’ll have to read the book to find out why I gave it that name and what it is exactly!’: Bryan Gibson.

Part fact, part fiction and triggered by the author’s calamitous attempts to turn professional, it explores the characters he met along the way, homing in on such farcical real-life muses as the junior school teacher who morphed into his idol the cricket umpire Dickie Bird, Herman the German of Bayern Munich FC, and Sandy Soot, football angel turned chimney sweep who showed the author how to take the perfect penalty kick.

It also features many present-day football clubs, players and humorous events making surreal connections between fact, fiction, time and place.

The author’s mad cap re-invention of the game in the fictional parts of the book features such legends as Stanley Accrington, Betty Skyrocket (and the origins of women’s football) and overzealous football supporter Hyam Keenbritches.

The book advises readers about what to avoid if invited to become a football pundit (inventing the game of Pundit Wars in passing); how to look fierce on the pitch; the art of distraction; why not to believe things footballers say and lists Eleven Golden Rules of Football one of which is not to bank on earning £5 million a year.

‘I knew I might make it because I grew up alongside kids who went on to play for top sides and even England – It’s a while ago but I’m finally aiming to leave my mark on The Beautiful Game after I was shown the door! … The characters are all based on folk I met and the events really happened even if I’ve disguised many of them and maybe overdone things here and there .. and I did play for England myself against the USSR but it remains one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Cold War’: Bryan Gibson.

‘Football’s Tallest Tales really is the perfect Christmas gift or stocking filler or maybe just a lovely present to put a smile on the face of any football fan – young or old’ Barnsley Today.

Illustrated by Manchester-based artist, illustrator and stand-up comedian John Cooper.

Contact Bryan Gibson

(+44) (0)1256 882250

[email protected]
Waterside Press, Sherfield Gables, Sherfield on Loddon, Hooik, UK RG27 0JG
Football’s Tallest Tales ISBN 9781 914603 33 4

Bryan Gibson
Waterside Press
+44 1256 882250
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