The Glorious Homecoming of Jammy McGann….

I started writing a new book the other day, whilst sat at Gatwick Airport. I won’t bore you with what it’s about, but the prologue is below. It’s a first stab, obviously, but take a look if you’re interested…..cheers.

There’s a roar as the crowd surges over the barriers, scattering the players to the four corners of the pitch and the safety of the dressing rooms.

“Right, that’s it. We’re off lads.”

We groan quietly, know better than to argue with the big man. He’s not our dad, but he rules us anyway. For this week at least.

We scamper down the aisle behind him, and feed into the well at the bottom of the stand. The exit is thirty paces ahead.

There’s another roar and I presume they’ve reached the away fans, goading them onto the pitch to dance. But the roar is so loud that I turn to look and see them being driven back towards us by police on horses. They are close, too close.

Hooves and feet churn up the pitch, and the big man tells us to get a wriggle on.

He doesn’t look back as he says it, his eyes on the terraced streets beyond the ground.

My feet forget to move. I’m entranced by the noise, anger and chaos of the wave surging at me.

It doesn’t hurt when it swallows me up, but I’m scared all the same, as instead of carrying me with them, they force me ground-wards, towards work-boots and scuffed adidas trainers. They make contact with my body. Now it hurts.

The away fans are following the police. I know this because I hear the missiles cut through the air, feel the shards of glass shower me like deadly confetti.

I shout for the big man but he doesn’t hear me. It wouldn’t make any difference if he did. His local is by the stadium and he won’t break stride when he’s so close. I feel boots on top of me now, have no option but to curl up on the floor and hope the tide passes quickly.

They don’t know what they’re walking on, or I hope they don’t. Some of them must have kids too, at home watching the final scores roll in. I can’t help but wish I was there too.

I’m giving up as they drive me further into the tarmac. I’ve no air left in my lungs, no room to scrabble to safety.

As my eyes close I hear a different noise. A single voice straining against them, moving them aside. The voice is struggling to be heard, but it’s getting louder, more determined. Its language is coarse, threatening, and somehow it’s working.

It’s been dark on the floor, but I glimpse a shaft of light, two arms reaching down and sweeping me skywards.

At first I think it’s game over, that I’m in the arms of an angel, but then the angel swears and swings his free arm, parting the crowd as we stumble to it’s edges.

The relief is huge, too big, and I black out, opening my eyes only when the crowd has thinned and the stadium a mile behind us.

I wrap my arms around the angel and begin to cry. He tells me to stop it, that everything’s fine. That’ll he buy me a choc-ice if I give over. I stifle the tears and he strokes my back as our road veers into view.

My name is Sonny McGann. I’m nine years old on this day. Old enough to stop crying, but young enough to put my head on my brothers shoulder and let him carry me home.


  1. Annie Everall

    Hi Phil – how cruel to tease us with this taster :-) I’m hooked already and can’t wait for the whole book. Good luck with it. If anyone out there hasn’t yet read ‘Being Billy’ all I can say is ‘READ IT, READ IT, READ IT and once you start it you won’t be able to put it down until you’ve finished it.

  2. phil Earle (Author)

    thank-you Annie, that’s really kind. Looking forward to the Matlock event….

  3. Hanna

    Hi Phil
    i LOVE your book- its the most amazing one I’ve ever read. I had to keep reading it over and over again. Im so glad you’re writing another one! :)
    – Hanna

  4. phil Earle (Author)

    Hello Hanna, cheers for your message. I’m really chuffed you enjoyed ‘Billy’.
    There’s a second book in January, about Billy’s mate Daisy (it’s called ‘Saving Daisy’)….

  5. Emma

    Hi Phil,

    Wow Phil, Ive just finished reading ‘Being Billy’ I loved it. Thank you for coming to my school, i want to be a writer too and hearing you talk about writing really inspired me. I hope one day i’m as good a writer as you :)

  6. Jess

    hey Phil,
    Thanks for coming to my school today, (I stayed at lunch with my friends to see you again)((I was the short one who likes writing short stories))you have encouraged me to keep on writing!
    :) Jess

  7. phil (Author)

    Hi Jess, thanks so much for your message. I really enjoyed my day at Little Heath, was great fun…and keep writing, don’t stop! Sounds like your stories are going really well….all best, Phil

  8. Olivia Townley

    Hello Phil!
    I really loved yesterday – it was great spending time with you yesterday. I was the one who you had lunch with [in the blue coat and brown hair and fairly tall.] it was really good to speak to a real author. I started reading your book “Being Billy.” Its great – no wonder Jacqueline Wilson enjoyed it. You’re story has inspired me to write my own story about life in Foster Homes.

    Thank you again for your support and guidance. I wish you the best in your future! Thank you so much you are a very talented man!

    Olivia x

  9. Jess D

    Hi Phil,
    Thanks for coming into school yesterday. Unfortunately I couldn’t listen to your talk but I had lunch with you which was really cool! Speaking to yuo has made me want to write a story becasue

  10. Jess D

    Hi Phil,
    Thanks for coming into school yesterday. Unfortunately I couldn’t listen to your talk but I had lunch with you which was really cool! Speaking to you has made me want to write a story because I have always wanted to but never actually written one. Thanks Jess

  11. Jess

    Hey its Jess here again,
    (the short one who likes writing stories)
    Thanks for replying and my friends olivia and jesse were so jealous that you wrote to me that they wrote messages too!

  12. Jess

    Hi Phil, thanks for comming to school and talking to us whilst we were having lunch with you. I had a good time and can’t wait to read your saving daisy book it sounds really good.

  13. phil Earle (Author)

    Hello Jess and Jess D and Olivia. Lovely to get all your messages today, and I’m really chuffed you enjoyed yesterday. Hope you all keep reading…and writing, of course!

    take it easy, and let me know what you think of the books…

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