Jon Sammels: remember him? ‘I am Sam’ Book Review

As requested by TotalArsenal, I reviewed the new novel ‘I am Sam’ by James Durose-Rayner.


My first action was to Google ‘I am Sam’ to seek more information. I was a little surprised to see there was a movie called ‘I am Sam’ starring Sean Penn.

I was a regular at Highbury during the late sixties.  I remember Jon Sammels as an intelligent player with an explosive shot.  Two memories stick in my mind. The famous 35 yard shot against United, where I was more or less behind him: what a goal!  Despite an official capacity of around 63000, I think there were nearer 70000 in the stadium: it was absolutely heaving.

The other occasion was when I took a friend of mine for his Highbury debut.  Standing just to the right of the goal at the North Bank, the players were practising shots on goal prior to the game.   Sammels unleashed a powerful shot which skimmed the outside of the post.  Everyone in a 10 yard radius took cover, except my mate who was marvelling at the architecture of the West Stand.   It was a great unintended header which knocked him senseless.  The St Johns ambulance guys were great and I kept hold of the mud off his forehead for weeks…. until it disintegrated.

That said, we are talking in excess of 45 years ago.   Sammels was undoubtedly very talented, but he was also a subject of the boo boys, similar to Denilson, Ramsey etc.  I certainly liked him very much.

I am Sam – The book

I must admit I expected the book to be about Jon Sammels.  Let’s be clear from the start… It isn’t.

The book is about a David Beckham look alike ‘Mr Arsenal’ who works in media.  He and his colleagues are charged with producing made-for-TV videos about England’s failure in the 1970 World Cup, and secondly, Jon Sammels.  The book focuses on this character: his champagne lifestyle, a Maserati, two girlfriends, his ex wife, two children and a large number of family and friends including two ferrets called ‘Arteta’ and ‘Giroud’.  Undoubtedly an Arsenal supporter, throughout the story of his tangled love life, he often refers to Ársenal teams and players, both past and present, giving his forthright opinion.   I agreed with many of his comments and wildly disagreed with others (For example, Peter Marinello was a better player than Geordie Armstrong…. Please!).

For the first 60 or so pages I found the book quite annoying.   Most of the text was about this guy and his Maserati and entourage of women.   Anyone expecting to read about Jon Sammels, will be disappointed.   I actually stopped reading at this point to check I had the right book.

However, as the story progressed I actually started to warm to the main character.   By the time I was halfway through I was really enjoying this novel. The colourful character Mr Arsenal and his complicated love life interspersed with his view of players, managers, tactic etc, made it a very enjoyable read.   I read it in just 24 hours, which says to me it is a pretty good read.   I can see it appealing to both male and female readers and in particular older sports fans that will be familiar with some of the football legends who are commented on, albeit not always favourably.

By Retsub.

About the author:

Dividing his time between the UK and Cyprus, James Durose-Rayner has over twenty years experience in journalism; a member of the Writer’s Guild, he is the editor of NATM, the UK’s leading specialist civil engineering journal. His writing has been featured in over 200 magazines and his debut indie-novel, S63: Made in Thurnscoe, published in 2001, received positive reviews. The first in a trilogy, I Am Sam by James Durose-Rayner (published February 10th by Clink Street Publishing RRP $18.00 paperback RRP $11.60 ebook) is available to purchase from online from retailers including and to be ordered from all good bookstores. For more information, please visit and follow him on Twitter at @natm_mag

James Durose-Rayner

38 thoughts on “Jon Sammels: remember him? ‘I am Sam’ Book Review

  • Thanks Retsub for reviewing the book and linking it back to the mighty red and white. 🙂

    I love your personal memories of a player I have never seen play live. What sort of player was he; who can he be compared with?

  • My uncle was at a game against Burnley in the winter of 1969.He saw Armstrong deliver acorner
    and Sammels volleyed it in.He had a ferocious shot and a near peer of Peter Lorimer of Leeds UTd,according to my uncle.The latter ‘s kick was even more powerful and goalies dread it
    when he was taking the penalty.Leeds were a power house in those days. How the mighty have fallen.

  • I was a great fan of Jon Sammels, watching him play was one of the reasons I first started supporting Arsenal. I remember him scoring a great goal against Leicester on a snowy field at filbert street when they used to use orange balls and Arsenal wore red shorts.

  • Great stuff Retsub. You really do have a knack of engaging readers, even when you yourself are talking about not being totally engaged with the subject. But, we the readers, follow your example and stick with it through to the end, and are far better rewarded for having done so.

    The reason I am praising the writing, is, as most of you know, I am not a lifelong Gunner.
    However, I do remember Marinello far better than Armstrong. That should read as a more ‘positive’ memory, as they were a bit chalk and cheese, and I can imagine a divided opinion on them such as we have with the players today?
    Alas, my memory of other club’s players is not good enough to speak of any particular instance. Indeed I have difficulty remembering Coventry’s players names when recalling some outstanding piece of skill or otherwise ….. Don’t worry, it will happen to you all one day. The beauty of blogs like this is it does keep the names fresh for younger ones to remember.

    Take this example, from my fairly distant past, back when I was a taxi driver in Coventry, Saturday night was the key to a good week or not. But it was always chaotic. Pull up at a red traffic signal and drunks would pile in regardless if you had another booked fare to go to. In a Private Hire car it was also illegal then, but the police were as keen as any to clear the streets quickly.
    Anyway, the two drunks that piled into my car, one was a 6ft 3” ugly mother, the other a mouthy cockney midget. The first I recognised as a recent signing, a central defender with an unpronounceable name, and a strong ‘geordie’ accent. The other was none other than Dennis Wise. Now if John Terry signed for Arsenal, then many of you would share the view I had of Coventry signing Wise. A more pointless niggly, no unnecessarily niggly bastard that ever set foot on a football pitch, but at times could do great things. You just had top wonder why God had to put them in the same package?
    So I thought I was in for a ‘fun’ drive. Needless to say, the BFG of the night was an absolute gent. apologising for his ‘friend’, who was abusive the entire journey, how all taxi drivers were thieving scumbags, swearing blind I was taking him the long way round, etc, etc. He stormed off with no intention of paying. The BFG paid the fare and gave me a tip. I am just sorry I cannot thank him by name for how grateful I was. One was a bastard on and off the pitch, the other wasn’t.
    Postcript. Some years later Wise got done for head butting a taxi driver. That did not surprise me in the least.
    Apologies for the digression.

  • Hi T A that’s a difficult one, as it was about 45 years ago. Also having read the book, a number of people given opinions on Jon Sammels and most if not all describe him as saying he was a legend etc. I will therefore crank up my memory, avoid google and work with the grey cells.

    Samuels arrived at Ársenal and was part of the Bertie Mee team that finally started to win games. Two league cup finals (both lost). The Fairs cup or whatever it was called then (read Europa) and the 1970 double

    Sometime around this period Ársenal Traded centre forwards with Chelsea we got George Graham, they got Tommy Baldwin. graham (stroller). Converted to midfield and that was the beginning of the end for Sammels.

    Difficult to compare with a current player, from memory he wasn’t that quick, but was a great passer of the ball , particularly the long ball. I am not sure he was always on the same wavelength as other players in the side and therefore sometimes he appeared brilliant and other times not in tune. Hence he became a target of the boo boys. Maybe he was a little ahead of his time? So as a comparison a little beckhamesque maybe

    I see the debates on here about Ozil and suspect there are some similarities with Sammels, not in they play, but the way they are perceived. If I am honest I can see where both camps are coming from, Ozil can be a little frustrating at times, but he is also very talented..

    jack Gunner you are right about Lorimer and his shot. That Leeds side were very successful, but we’re a very physical side (Bremner, Charlton, Hunter etc). Not particularly attractive to watch. After Revie was replaced by Brian Clough (44 days as manager?). They were never quite the same team. Put that together with a number of failed managers and financial mismanagement and you have the Leeds of today. Fantastic fan base, but stuck in a hole

  • Thanks Retsub, it sounds like Sammels was the sort of player who needs a strong, believing manager. Having a powerful shot used to be such an important weapon and it is sort of skill that gets you personal fans. The Dutch had Arie Haan, Willie van der Kuilen and Koeman of course. You just don’t forget these players as they materialise your personal football dream of scoring a Long Distance wonder goal.

  • Thanks Retsub, I enjoyed that post. This was the height of my Arsenal “Live” days. The nearest I think you could compare Sammels with the modern day footballer, would be a poor man’s Bergkamp.

    I don’t mean that to be disrespectful, but what player can match Bergkamp.

    Sammels was a kind of play maker with a thunderous shot, and a joy to watch and have in your team. He was one of the crowd’s favourites.

    TA 08:09 @ 1:05………….I was one of those members in the crowd that surged forward when he scored the third goal in the fairs cup final. After that game was the only time I stepped onto the Highbury pitch. What a night of celebrations that was. Great times for me.

  • Thanks guys

    VCC wish I had been at Highbury that night, I was on a school journey in Derbyshire. I think that was the only home game I missed that season.

    Gerry enjoyed your Dennis Wise story. I once attended. A corporate lunch with four New Zealand Rugby players, I know Richie McCaw was one of them and a previous skipper with a Tongan name I think. Have to say they were all brilliant. The host was Will Carling and he was anything but brilliant. Constant foul language and tasteless jokes. Ok we all have a swear now and again but…….

  • More great stuff, retsub (and comment writers)… I really enjoyed the book review and the personal stories. Cheers! Obviously, it’s a little tough for a “modern” Arsenal supporter to understand all the history (and the characters/players/etc.) but every little bit helps. If it goes down easier in the form of a novel/character study, then why not, I say…

    TA, I also enjoyed the previous post, too….

  • Thanks Retsub !
    “Sammels, Sammels, I`d walk a million miles for one of your goals, Jon Sammels !”…………that’s what we used to sing up the North Bank when Sammels scored a goal !.
    Scoring the decider to win us the Fairs Cup made him an instant hero !.
    I remember him being a great long ball passer with a Podesque shot !.
    Funny enough, I spoke to my brother in Thailand by as my first Arsenal hero was Alan Skirton !.
    As for Marinello being better than Geordie Armstrong….it`s like saying David Bentley was better than Bergkamp !.
    I was going to say….imo…….but no!…….George Armstrong along with Peter Simpson were the best two players never to play for England…..full stop !. Armstrong ran like Alexis……….a Mr Perpetual Motion !.

    Another nudge to Wenger……………lots of teams circulating around Akpom !………don’t be silly now !.

    Je Suis Sam !

  • Should be !.

    “Funny enough, I spoke to my brother in Thailand by Skype and he was saying that Jon Sammels was my first Arsenal hero !……I had to disagree as my first Arsenal hero was Alan Skirton !.”

  • And the (award winning ) winner of …The Most Picturesque County in England is……drum roll…….the top ten is……….

    Cornwall 19.7% ( biggest attraction…… ! )

    Yorkshire 18.2%

    Cumbria 11.5%

    Devon 11%

    Kent 4.6%

    Derbyshire 4.5%

    Northumberland 4.1%

    Dorset 3.9%

    Isle of Wight 3.2%

    Gloucestershire 3.1%

  • Thanks Cockie from a Kentish man

    I remember when Ársenal signed Marinello for £100k. He made his debut at Old Trafford and scored a great goal. He was dubbed the new George best. I haven’t checked but I will guess he played no more than sixty games and scored about 8 goals. Wee Geordie on the other hand played around 400. Couldn’t handle the bright lights as they say

    Before I graduated to the North Bank I used to stand down the front on the terracing in front of stand opposite the players tunnel. Because of the shape of the pitch (drainage I assume ) if you stood down the front you couldn’t see the ball when it was on the other wing and only three quarters of wee Geordie.

    Agree with you totally on Peter Simpson a very underrated player

    17 Ht thanks for the compliment. If I get a chance I will add a couple of sentences from the book about the current team

    Sure Steve will be delighted to see his island in your list, but isn’t it part of Hampshire?

  • Hahaha….yes the pitch !……. I thought it was something to do with the curvature of the earth !. 😀

    Not sure about the Isle of White being part of Hampshire !……it`s probably Hampshire`s colony for Lepers !…….too many fingers in the pie that lot !.

  • Oldsters… (I’m old myself, but, like Rosicky, young in footballing years… 😀 …)

    This seems like a good blog-site, by the author of the recent Geordie Armstrong biography, another book probably worthy of a review…

    Snow/rain (snizzle…) here today but nothing to speak of before more clear weather… Meanwhile all the snow goes to New England… F**king Szcznesy!!! 👿

    Have we bought anybody (else)?… F**king Szcznesy!!! 😀 No, no, I know… it’s F**king Wenger!!! (or maybe F**king Ozil, who prevents us from buying another “cook” or–more likely–F**king Arteta, the captain, who AW probably asked…)


  • CoCcuppers Chavs and Pool forced to extra time…Pretty good nil-nil football as these things go, IMO with both teams running hard and playing their best players…Chavs go through with 30 mins more of it, but they’re gonna be tuckered for the “big game” vs City at the weekend…

  • Jon Sammels left Arsenal for Leicester in the summer of 1971 missing out on a League Champions medal by one game after making 13 Lge appearances in the Double season.
    In those days you had to play a minimum of 14 Lge games to qualify…
    He was my favourite player before Chatlie Grorge arrived on the scene…
    If I recall he wasn’t universally liked by Arsenal fans and suffered quite badly at the hands of the ‘boo boys’ of that time…

  • Hello there
    I am the author of I AM SAM, James Durose-Rayner.
    If I am correct in thinking the review was done by Retsub, who I would assume would be between 60-70 years old, and for Mr. Retsub to say he enjoyed it – well I am flattered.
    I am an indie author who loves The Arsenal, but I’m certainly not an author of factual football books or biographies, so I apologise for that!
    As has been stated, I live between the UK and Cyprus and whilst I was away I used to read football biographies. Stan Bowles, Derek Dooley, Peter Swan, Robin Friday, Charlie George, Mal Allison, Neil Warnock, Colin Bell, Stan Anderson etc…
    I had an obligation to write the ‘S5’ novel for someone, which I did the other year whilst in Cyprus over a 12 months period. Now here is the story: At that time my wife ran out of books and picked up my Bob Wilson biography and stared to read it. After reading three pages she slung it. “Sorry James – I’m not that bored,” she said.
    Women generally hate football books!
    That gave me the idea of writing a football book that anyone could enjoy reading. As I am Arsenal through and through I wanted a football player I could place at the heart of the book and that player was Jon Sammels..
    Regardless of what Retsub says about it not being about Jon Sammels, he is quite wrong. But I’ll get to that in a bit.
    My writing is considered dark (S5, S63, Moles) and that is how I set about writing the story, however the research I did – and I did – ask Andy Kelly at the AFC history site! – I just couldn’t go down that route and I scrapped it. Why? Read I AM SAM. The answer is in there somewhere.
    Retsub said: ‘For the first 60 or so pages I found the book quite annoying. Most of the text was about this guy and his Maserati and entourage of women. Anyone expecting to read about Jon Sammels, will be disappointed. I actually stopped reading at this point to check I had the right book.’
    Jon co-wrote a biography with Telegraph journo Richard Oxley when he was 27 years old which tells you he had a brother called Richard, that his father was in the forces, that he and Peter Simpson were signed on together, that he got put in digs with John Barnwell and scored on his debut versus Blackpool and who his best eleven was. If you want to read that kind of stuff, well it has already been written.
    Therefore my intention was to set about writing a story to tell a story – differently.
    My idea was to aim the story at 18-35 age group, and I purposely made up a character initially dubbed as ‘Mr. Arsenal’ look the main man to 99% of males and the utter twat to 99% of females. Flash yeh, champagne lifestyle, nope. Certainly forthright in his opinion with a ‘couldn’t give a shit’ attitude to women – or so the start of the book would have you believe. But here is the thing – never lose sight of the books title I AM SAM.
    In reality Mr. Arsenal lives a sad existence – pretty exciting, but sad all the same, which is turned around through a married girl from Birkenhead and the love he was to have for a football player he stumbled on to whilst doing a documentary for the 1970 World Cup – Jon Sammels. He didn’t become obsessed Jon or ‘Sammy’ as he is known throughout the story – he just wanted to know why he never became the player he should have been, and set about piecing together a documentary of the player – not whilst with Leicester City, but during his Arsenal career. Who wants to know about Leicester?
    I contacted Jon just to let him know what I was doing so as not to be taken by surprise and we spoke at length – eventually, as I was out of the UK for a long period. I gave him an unedited draft of the story and he was touched. “I do have some flaws,” he immediately told me.
    I also found that he was asking me more questions about me than I was asking about him, but he told me things that have never ever been mentioned before, and they are in I AM SAM. The backheeled goal versus Rouen, his 20 yard goal in front of 60,000 versus Feyenoord, the fight he got into with Alan Ball, and what is more important, the probable reason why a section of the fans took a dislike to him.
    In his bio Charlie George described Jon as being a lovely person but the most insular person he had ever known. Confidence or lack of – who knows?
    Mr. Arsenal and the retired journalist he looks up to have several conversations about this. This is the fictional retired journo that Retstub was arguing the toss about re: Marinello versus Armstrong – I love it that he came over so real ! That made me laugh.
    Youtube. Pull up the 30th November, 1970 match – Arsenal versus Liverpool and watch it. Watch it closely and keep your eyes on Jon Sammels – his second game back from a broken ankle. Watch Jon’s body language and him trying to catch his breath.
    Football fans are fickle. They tend to like the blood and thunder of tackles going in and racing around the pitch like a headless chicken – check George Armstrong 1969 League Cup Final as this is a fine example of what fickle fans like.
    The November 30th match was the first time I’d noticed it as prior to that, the film footage was never that good.
    I loathed to keep on going on about the boo-boys in the story – this was out of courtesy to Jon, however this needed putting to bed, so I followed my instinct and did maybe something I shouldn’t have done. Maybe this will bite me in the arse – I don’t know.
    Jon was on the tip of full England honours in 1967 and strongly tipped for the 1970 World cup squad – rumour was that he pissed Ramsey off by not signing for Ipswich Town, but it was more to do with his erratic form and the fact that he was ‘all over the place’ re: contract talks and a high profile transfer request that he had cucked in and that between him and Bertie Mee he was mutually left out of the team on a few occasions. The brightest star at Arsenal appeared to be taking the piss but once his contract was sorted he suddenly became the country’s highest player.
    Fast forward to the Liverpool game November 1970, at him puffing and wheezing.
    He thought he was having a stroke – he was partially blind which was brought on by lack of oxygen or blood to the head but he played on to be Man of the Match. “He’s really in the mood for it today, said Barry Davies on seeing ‘Sammy’ lash a 20 yard drive on the toss just a whisker over the bar.
    Jon always knew there was a ‘health problem’ but he hid it. Whether he did this purposely only he could tell you, but what he knew was a lot different to what the fans could see. They saw a highly paid player huffing and puffing who didn’t seem that interested in their club. They were wrong to assume that as he loved Arsenal. Like me, The Arsenal were his team.
    He was diagnosed with a hole in the heart at 62 years old. That medical problem was big enough to finish his career, but it didn’t, although it helped ruin what could have been a great career.
    This is mentioned in I AM SAM as are a lot of other things that have never been mentioned as they have all tended to be overshadowed by Arsenal’s Double success of 1971.
    The fictitious Mr. Arsenal goes in search of footage of the player and pieces together what looks on the face of it as a potential award winning documentary in between managing to get some order in his life.
    His best mate says at the time that it wasn’t just his girlfriend that was having an impact on turning around his life, but the documentary he was doing on ‘This Sammy’. His girlfriend said exactly the same. The person Jon Sammels is or was, was rubbing off on him and his life was changing for the good.
    I AM SAM?

  • James, many thanks for joining the blog and for your superb clarifying comment. 🙂

    I am sure Restub, who is indeed the writer of the review, will comment later on. I reckon he expected a biography type of book, but once he realised it was not, he clearly started to enjoy the book from a different perspective.

    It is clear that Jon Sammels’ life and Arsenal career are a key part in the book and I love the additional insights you give. I am intrigued to know whether he had also a big impact on your, as well as your main character’s, life.

  • Wow southyorkshiregunner, that was a mini post on its own, Rivaling 17Ht’s. Lol. But Like TA I’m glad you stopped by to clarify some of the stuff. Retsub Good job ont he post by the way. I’m not much of a reader of ‘Biographies’. The only one i read so far is the god Bergkamps. I just found out recently the King Henry has one too (Lonely at the top or sumn). I’ll check that one out as soon as possible.
    Have a good day gooners. 😀

  • southyorkshiregunner…………Fantastic insight, cheers.

    After this article it has made me want to buy this book and read it. I’m a saddo 65 year old, that loves any/every thing about The Arsenal.

    Jon Sammels was a part of my youthful watching days. Thank you.

  • Than you very much. I appreciate the comments.
    I started following Arsenal after my uncle ‘John Ellis’ the goalkeeper (mentioned in I am Sam) who was offered a trial at Arsenal but who turned them down – gave me a Panini sticker book of 68/69. Jon Sammels was of course in it – but because I thought Terry Neill looked a bit like my dad – I started following Arsenal. I tried to stop following them in 1975 but I still found myself glued to the vidiprinter on Saturday evenings. Tranmere ’73 was really embarrassing, Ipswich ’78 absolutely heartbreaking. To be an Arsenal supporter eh?

  • Re Allezkev – He did get a championship medal, Kev. He mentioned that. Bertie Mee sorted it.

  • Can I echo that TA – James, that was the ‘untold story’, told in a different way. Loved it.
    Many thanks for the insight.
    I am not sure you will change my view on Dennis Wise though 😀

    Perhaps, sometime down the line you could turn your attention to young Szczesny? I fear recent events have got to him again. The happy, smiley, (over?) confident guy has gone all serious, and he does not play his best when like that. It was the the happy chappy that got the ‘golden glove’.
    Unfortunately, smoking in showers is something that can be forgiven. Telling Arsene he should blame himself for not replacing Vermaelin instead of blaming him, is not wise. If that was the case, or any variation on it, then we only have to think back to RVP? Once he started saying/telling AW who he should buy, the ‘trying to persuade him to stay’ quickly turned to how much he could squeeze out of United. I fear young Szczesny is in for a long period in the shadows now? How he comes out of it will be down to him.
    Interesting character study though?

    JB – I have at no time said that Ospina is the better keeper. I said, for the above reasons, that Ospina in our No 1 for the time being. You also asked me a lot of questions in the previous post, as though I am the font of all knowledge. I am not.
    I even got it wrong about pre-contract agreements. The Akpom links reveal he is only able to talk to clubs overseas at this moment, but will have to wait until May before going any further with Liverpool. Same applies in the other case.
    I would love to know where you got your info on yellow cards running into the post TW changing to 10 before turning red? I have even tried looking at the FA website and can find nothing. Not even anything on the ‘5’ being the limit before ban kicks in. Absolute zero everywhere. Google, wiki, FA, no, the governing body, but that is what I found out, sweet FA!
    Logic tells me that rules come in for a ‘season’ length of time. Artificial interruptions like the transfer window would/should have no bearing on that?
    However it will become clear after this first league program, as if anybody getting booked, like Coquelin on 4, will, or will not, get suspended.

    I cannot remember everything from that post, other than I was in rare agreement with both HH’s post, and the last paragraph of TCM’s.
    How strange is that?

  • SYG, yeah, I wasn’t 100% about the medal thing, but I’m sure I did read something along those lines about his championship medal…
    Glad you cleared that up…

    I did read somewhere that in the summer of 1971, as he was about to move on, that he was pretty devestated to have missed out on the greatest period in the club’s history, whilst everybody was celebrating…
    As you wrote, he was an Arsenal Man, come up through the youth system, come up with the two Peters and Raddo, so he’d gone through the turmoil of 68 and 69.
    And was no doubt gutted to be the one that missed out at the climax of 71…
    But as has been said earlier on here, the background you’ve given, certainly makes me want to get the book now…
    Good work mate…

  • Top lad Kev. Nice to hear from you again.
    The AFC supporters club are trying to sort out a launch for the book at Avenell Road. They are hoping that Jon Sammels will come down – He knows about it but I think confidence is a big thing. Frank McLintock said he will have a word with him this week – and all though it is a long way from 1st March 2015, it is assumed that Jon along with Big Frank, George Graham and possibly Terry Neill will be there. I will clarify this when I hear more.

  • Once again thanks for joining us on the blog, SYG/James and I hope I am Sam will be a big success. Hope to see you more on Bergkampesque….. maybe your next book should be inspired by his genius and quest for beauty! 😉

  • James many thanks for your feedback. Let me respond, by saying that I am no book critic, I am simply commenting on what I read. You are pretty close on the age guess but I am a tad younger (just a little bit) than your guess.

    As I stated once I got into the book I really enjoyed it, despite your characters chequered past, the book does have a feel good element to it. The reason I struggled initially was I couldn’t work out where the book was going in terms of Jon Sammels.

    You mention that your target audience is 18 to 35. The reason I was drawn to it was Jon Sammels. No doubt you understand your target market 100 times better than I do, but I wonder how you will attract younger readers with a story about a footballer they will be unfamiliar with.

    Throughout your book you make comments about footballing greats via your characters. I really enjoyed that, although I suspect you will get feedback from unhappy fans about critiscim of their heroes. In that context you said you laughed at the Armstrong/ Marinello comment. I don’t quite understand your comment there. Surely if you sell your book to Arsenal supporters you would expect feedback to your opinions. Everything is open to debate in football and no doubt some people will think that Marinello was the better player. I just don’t see it frankly.

    I will repeat again I really enjoyed the book, once I got into it, but I have to be honest and say on first read I didn’t really get into the I am Sam bit.

    Hope you don’t mind me being honest, if anyone asked me, I would thoroughly recommend reading the book. I just see it a little different.

    Looking forward to seeing other reviews and wish you the very best of luck with the book

  • Thanks for that Retsub.
    No – I think its wonderful that someone who lived through what was possibly the greatest era ever (football, music, style) is so in tune with modern day life 40-odd tears on. Maybe my father in law ought to take a leaf out of your book !
    I really mean that.
    My idea was to get younger ‘readers’ interested in the ‘Sammy’ character, and the only way I felt I could do that was by telling a story to tell the story.
    Then there was the fact I needed it to appeal to the females as well as males. It is awkward trying to be ‘middle of the road’ as you tend to lose the edge! Imagine how rubbish Luis Suarez would be if he had to get on with everyone”.
    And you are very right – it is different.

    My favourite bit
    You mentioned criticism of their heroes? This bit is definitely my favourite bit. The fictitious characters in the book are making the criticisms, not the author. I’m just relaying it over.
    “Yeh but its you who’s writing it,” one could say.
    Too true, but I’m also writing the content of everyone else in the story including the women, children, in-laws. a sex pest accountant who looks like Bob Wilson and Gordon Banks’ rolled into one and a black decorator who looks like Adebayor. And I’m definitely none of them.
    Again, many thanks. J

  • James. Not sure you will see this, but in case you do. I was watching the Fever Pitch film (great film) . Interesting conversations at the beginning of the film about Jon Sammels. Thought it might be of interest to you

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