Sporting Memories of a Yorkshire Aussie

LifeBook editor Ben Creeth shares his experience of working on one of his favourite projects.

The front cover of Sporting Memories of a Yorkshire Aussie

Geoff Sleight certainly has one of the more memorable titles we have published here at LifeBook. A Yorkshireman by birth, Geoff first moved to Australia for his burgeoning career as a professional footballer. From there, his story takes readers all over the world as he somehow manages to represent the Australian national team! Geoff has kept numerous newspaper clippings from his playing days, and these, packed with intricate details which might easily have been forgotten, have been woven into the text of his book to provide a fascinating extra perspective.

Geoff describes the various phases of his life as ‘reinventions’. After his playing career came to a close, Geoff established himself as a manager of non-league clubs and later as a scout for Leeds United. In this phase of his career, he rubbed shoulders with famous faces such as Alan Ball, Chris Kamara and Francis Lee. His book treats readers to anecdotes galore, and Geoff’s ghostwriter particularly enjoyed writing these stories.

In his later life, Geoff has used his experiences to contribute to various articles and documentaries. He has also maintained contact with some unlikely faces, attending reunions of the Australian national team and being visited by a North Korean team they played in the 1960s! Geoff eventually emigrated to Australia along with his wife, Peggy.

Like many authors, Geoff chose to focus his memoir on one central aspect of his life: in Geoff’s case, his love of sports. Indeed, few sports go unmentioned as he recounts his exploits playing rugby, golf, cricket, tennis and squash. Geoff put his varied talents to good use in a succession of athletic feats for Children in Need. After completing a triathlon at the age of 46, Geoff returned two years later for an even greater challenge: 1,000 press-ups, 1,000 weight exercises and 5,000 sit-ups. In the event, Geoff managed 7,000 sit-ups, raising thousands of pounds for charity.

In his memoir, Geoff provides fascinating insight into the world of professional football, which has changed dramatically over the course of his lifetime. His playing career began when many footballers needed second jobs; by the time he was scouting players, Geoff was travelling the globe and offering contracts worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. To read a first-hand insight into this world has been a real treat, not only for Geoff’s friends and family, but also for the LifeBook team. Geoff’s charm and drive are evident on every page, and we’re very thankful that he chose to tell his story through LifeBook.

Written by Ben Creeth, LifeBook editor

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