pw picCongratulations to Claire Stephenson of Leeds, who correctly answered my teaser question on the Leeds Big Bookend blog to win a copy of my novel Perfect World. We had a number of entries from Leeds and further afield, but there can be only one winner. If you entered and didn’t win, better luck next time!

The teaser question was as follows: Q: Perfect World partly takes place in a multi-user virtual world which is reminiscent of the virtual world, Second Life. In Perfect World the currency is Credits, but what currency is used in Second Life?

The answer is, of course, Linden Dollars.

Well done to the winner and I sincerely hope you enjoy the book!

And remember, Perfect World is available as a paperback and as an ebook, so if you didn’t win, you can still grab a copy before Christmas.


2014: A Year in Writing

Posted: December 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

As 2014 grinds to a halt, I’ve been assessing my year in terms of writing successes and goals. Understandably, given the birth of my son, my house move etc etc I haven’t actually written as much fiction as I’d have liked to. Hell, I’ve barely even read a fiction book (let alone reviewed one, as I used to on a weekly basis). But I have managed to keep my hand in with some sportswriting and a few short stories (you can check out my short story publications here).

I have started – but failed to finish (yet!!!) – about three more novels. One of which is – ironically – named ‘The Land of Half-Finished Things’. So if I have one ambition for 2015, it’s to stop procrastinating. Stop wasting time stopping and starting, and getting seduced by the newest idea… And just FINISH what I’m working on…

In terms of my fiction, I’m most happy with the publications of my novellas Hangingstone, Nu-Gen, and by the short stories ‘Deep Clean‘, ‘What you don’t understand about a PPI Holiday is this...’, and ‘I’d rather twist…‘ (some of which were actually written in 2014!)

My major goals in terms of writing were to continue with my trilogy of Manchester United books – which has now happened, given the recent release of Louis van Gaal: Dutch Courage, and summer’s publication of The Pride of all Europe: Manchester United’s Greatest Seasons in the European Cupand to see two of my classic novels – When Elephants Walk Through the Gorbals, and Perfect World released as paperbacks (they were already out as ebooks). And I’ve managed to put a big tick next to all of that.

But in going through my successes and failures, I’ve also been looking through my sales figures. This year I’ve put quite a lot of work into marketing my books and I’m trying to become Social Media savvy… Some books, I’m afraid, I’ve marketed more than others. And therefore I’m unsurprised at how well they’ve sold (and of course, sports books tend to sell easier, and in higher volume than fiction, I find). But some books – again I’m afraid – entered the world and were immediately left to fend for themselves. As usual, I was racing on with the next bright idea and didn’t have the time to look back on old stuff… So I’d like to give a special mention to my novel When Elephants walk through the Gorbals, which, under the radar, has managed to become almost my best-selling title of the year. The Pride of all Europe just pipped it to the post, but it was a close run thing.

Neither sold as well as Fergie’s Finest, of course. That was my best-selling title of 2013, but serendipity had a lot to do with that – the week I delivered my completed manuscript to the publishers, the great man announced his retirement… Meaning hasty revisions but also a timely release which managed to surf the wave of celebrations/ sadness when Fergie hung up his hairdryer. The long tail of Fergie’s retirement continues to help that book to sell well. And interest in Louis van Gaal, whose United side are now really picking up the pace after 6 wins on the trot, means Louis van Gaal: Dutch Courage is already doing well, but its a little too late for that title to trouble my two overwhelming winners in terms of sales for 2014.

Next year? Watch out for an all-new novel… I definitely have one in me!

Here’s the top sellers chart:



Louis van Gaal: Dutch Courage is cruising up the ebook charts (in much the same way United have cruised up the league table during their current sparkling run). Grab a copy for a bargain price of just 99p from here.

And while you’re at it, The Pride of all Europe is just 99p too.

amazon charts

The ebook version of Louis van Gaal: Dutch Courage is out now, at a special offer purchase price of 99p. Yes, you read that right. 99p. Follow this link to get your hands on a copy.

lvg aMAZON

I’m taking a break from publicising the LVG book today. That’s because behind the door of today’s advent calendar is my guest blog regarding Perfect World, and there’s a competition to win a free copy of the book to boot… Follow this link to enter.

Perfect World comp

Dutch Courage CoverThe paperback version of my new football book, Louis van Gaal: Dutch Courage, is out now! You can purchase it here.

Here’s the details:

Louis van Gaal is a paradox from top to toe.

This is the man who, when unveiled as Bayern Munich manager in 2009, described himself like this: “I am what I am; self-confident, arrogant, dominant, honest, industrious, innovative.”

Former players have described him as “scary”, as a “volcano”. The former Barcelona president described him as “the devil himself”. At Bayern, they said he “vaangalised” their team.

And yet at the same time, he is “warm-blooded”. He openly admits: “I cry almost every day. There’s always something that touches me.” Barcelona’s Xavi says of him: “People see him as arrogant and aloof but he’s really not.”

Dutch Courage is a detailed dissection of the truth behind the myth of Van Gaal, studying his philosophy and his character, as well as some of the excellent football teams he has produced.

This Dutch master has been the head of some of the greatest dynasties in European football – Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United – as well as the boss of the Netherlands national team (twice). Along the way, he has won a combined seven league championships across Europe. He has also been successful in continental competitions, listing the Champions League, the UEFA Cup, and the UEFA Super Cup amongst his honours.

As head coach of the Netherlands in the 2014 World Cup, he led them to within a whisker of the final, beating world champions Spain 5-1 along the way, before his young Dutch charges were finally beaten on penalties by Argentina in the semi-final.

But in 2014 he took on arguably his greatest challenge: restoring Manchester United to their perch after a year in the doldrums. Christian Nerlinger predicts that Van Gaal’s United reign will be anything but predictable: “one thing is for sure: it will not be boring.”

And this book is anything but boring. It is the exciting tale which supporters of Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and the Netherlands national team will want to read.

Andrew J Kirby is a season-ticket holder at Old Trafford, and writes about United for a number of fanzines and blogs. He is the author of Fergie’s Finest: Sir Alex Ferguson’s Greatest Manchester United x11, and The Pride of all Europe: Manchester United’s Greatest Seasons in the European Cup.

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK “From Ajax to Man United, via Bayern Munich, Andrew J Kirby plots the rise of this indomitable, complex figure with verve and great insight. Despite not being a Manchester United fan, Van Gaal’s extreme personality has long intrigued me. Kirby captures it on the page with an uncanny accuracy. This book is exhaustively researched, and offers great psychological insights into the man, as well as the world of football. Most books about football are poor- Kirby’s is an exception, and is written with a ferocious intellect that matches its subject matter. A must-read for fans of United, and those of us interested in this colossus of football.” – Guy Mankowski, author of ‘How I Left the National Grid’

PRAISE FOR ANDREW J KIRBY’S SPORTSWRITING “The author knows his stuff,” Angela Bowman, Manchester United fan “The perfect gift for the red devil in your life!” Sam Sharp, Manchester United fan “A good read for United fans young and old,” AJ Hellina, Amazon reader “A must read for any red,” Scott the Red, Republik of Mancunia on Fergie’s Finest


Here’s a sneak preview of the LVG biography’s cover. Book should be available for purchase by the weekend…

Dutch Courage Cover