A former Gazette reporter and semi-professional footballer has used his experiences to write a hard-hitting novel about a match-fixing player.
Phil Fielding decided to write gritty, violent thriller The Dirty Players as a challenge to himself.
He said: “I love an exciting novel and only set out to see if it was true that everyone has a book in them.
“It’s set in Manchester 1989 when drugs, violence and vice were rife and it’s not for the squeamish.
“I let some mates read it and they said it was a real page-turner, so I’ve decided to stick my neck out and publish it.”
Phil, 40, played for Wren Rovers, Squires Gate, Lytham St Annes FC and BAE Warton in the ’90s.
I love an exciting novel and only set out to see if it was true that everyone has a book in them
He also had successful seasons with YMCA, St Annes Ex Service, Mortgage Shop, Food Giant FC, The Star and FC Viking in the Blackpool and Fylde Sunday Alliance.
His proudest moment was scoring in the 1996 FA Cup for Wrens. He finally hung his boots up this year due to family and work commitments and now lives in London.
He said: “I started playing for Lytham Juniors when I was 11 and I had more clubs than Rory McIlroy after that.
“Every time you stepped on a pitch you felt like you had 10 mates with you.
“I played with loads of characters over the years – some were jokers who played with smiles on their faces, others were ultra-competitive blokes who would stop at nothing to win.
“I’ve obviously used dramatic licence in the book but the laddish behaviour and training ground banter is based on my experiences.
“I’m jealous of kids just starting out in football. The Fylde is a fantastic place to play, there are some lovely pitches around.”
The former Lytham St Annes High student came up with the story for The Dirty Players while living in Manchester and it is set there during the Hacienda nightclub era. It is available on Amazon.
Phil, who now works at The Sun, said: “Me and my mates used to go over to Manchester a lot in the ’90s to buy stuff from Affleck’s Palace and go to gigs at The Academy.
“The Acid House scene was massive and I thought it would be a laugh to revisit that time.
“The Dirty Players is set over Christmas so I thought ‘what better time to release it?’
“People might buy it for someone as a stocking filler or get a Kindle off Santa and want a thriller to read on it.”
The Dirty Players will be available to download free on Amazon from Friday, November 27 until Sunday, November, 29.