Departing in 2011 the daily demands of working around two of the world’s most talked about and respected football clubs – Everton and Tottenham Hotspur – journalist Paul Dargan embarked on his career as an author.
His inspiration? The lifestyles and habits of those very footballers he interviewed and profiled during a 13-year reporting career that also included service at Sky Sports and Liverpool’s Radio City station.
The result is NO DOUBTING THOMAS, a fictional, spicy and intense thriller that, from over a decade at the forefront of the game, sees the author reflect on the incredible riches and harsh realities of the modern game.
This incredible debut, available on Kindle, is written in a flashback/juxtaposed style deals with depression, homophobia and the murky world of bribes and gangland-style ‘hits’. It follows Thomas Clark, a youngster so similar to the sometimes respected, sometimes reviled breed of real-life ‘too much too young’ footballers who, seemingly, have the world at their feet. The reality, through a procession of events so common in the modern game, leaves the star toiling with the very fabric of what made him want to play football in the first place.
Dargan’s incredible and privileged access to the very mechanics of modern football project a startling reality onto what is a stunning debut… one that will be talked about in years to come. The book is a barometer for the modern game and a reminder that all that glitters is not gold, even in the modern Premier League era.
Book extracts: “Looks are one thing that I don’t possess in great abundance and, luckily, I have a talent for something where they are not important. I’ll never be the one who gets the underwear or expensive couture contracts – not that I am bothered. I just buy it myself.”
“Why was I thinking like this? I was told that I would be able to make a full recovery. What was making me feel this way? I never knew it at the time, but depression was starting to set in. I thought depression was something that only older people got; something that someone with a lot of money would never worry about.”
Dargan said: “I wanted to depict the true reality of the Premier League – away from the cameras, away from the glamour. I wanted to show the wealth and the opulence, yes, but I’ve had incredible behind-the-scenes access and seen things you wouldn’t believe possible in 2013. Although a fictional account of one player’s attempt to make it to the top (and stay there), this debut novel is every bit the frightening reality of modern football.”
Paul Dargan is a writer, freelance journalist and broadcaster, who has worked for Everton Football Club, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, Sky Sports, National Geographic, BBC Radio Merseyside and Radio City 96.7.