The debut book by the deputy sports editor at The Herald – and the first to be published by a new company set up by three former Scots journalists – has been shortlisted for a major prize.
'In Search of Alan Gilzean', by James Morgan, has been shortlisted in the Best Football Book category at the ninth British Sports Book Awards being run by the National Sporting Club.
The success of the book – which is about the legendary, enigmatic former Dundee and Spurs footballer, Alan Gilzean – has been such it is now being printed for a third time since is its launch in Autumn.
Northern Ireland-born Morgan – who began his career on the Irish News in Belfast – joined The Herald seven years ago from the Daily Mirror, in London.
The book's publishers, BackPage Press, is run by former Herald sportswriter, Martin Greig, along with Neil White, formerly a sportswriter at the Sunday Times Scotland, and James Porteous, Morgan's predecessor at The Herald.
Greig volunteered for redundancy at The Herald two years ago and Porteous also left The Herald, this time late last year, to take up a sports production role at the South China Morning post in Hong Kong. White was one of around 20 staff members made redundant when The Sunday Times Scotland shed all but three of its Scottish staff last year.
In Search of Alan Gilzean is the first book published by BackPage Press. Since the book's launch in September, is has not been out of the Amazon Books bestsellers list for British football books.
In the awards, it is up against six rivals, including a biography of the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, by Scots journalist, Patrick Barclay. The winner will be announced on the ninth of next month.
Morgan told allmediascotland.com: “I would like to thank BackPage Press for the opportunity to write the book and am delighted for them that it has been shortlisted. I am glad the gamble they took with me has been rewarded. I have an idea for a second book, though it's really no more than a kernel of an idea at the moment.”
Greig also told allmediascotland: “The book has really captured the imagination and deservedly so. It is a very different type of football biography and its uniqueness – including a strong element of suspense, it is almost a detective story – has intrigued critics and readers alike. It establishes Alan Gilzean's legacy as one of the greats of British football and also heralds Morgan as a major new sportswriting talent.”
The shortlist reads:
Anatomy of England in 10 Matches, by Jonathan Wilson
In Search of Alan Gilzean, by James Morgan
Bill Nicholson Football's Perfectionist, Brian Scovell
Family, Life, Death and Football, by Mike Calvin
Trautmann's Journey, by Catrine Clay
Promised Land and the Re-Invention of Leeds Utd, by A Clavane
Football Bloody Hell, Biog of Alex Ferguson by Patrick Barclay
The full list of categories being competed for at the awards can be found here.