Book Signing by Mark Metcalf at Kershaw’s Garden Centre

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Halifax football author and historian Mark Metcalf will be signing copies of ‘FLYING OVER AN OLIVE GROVE’, the remarkable story of Fred Spiksley at Kershaw’s Garden Centre on Sunday 17 December, 11am – 2pm.

Gainsborough lad Spiksley was amongst the first generation of teenagers who, in 1885, could aspire to be a professional footballer and dodge the inevitability of industrial labour.

He became the first player to score 3 against Scotland, a feat that saw him chased along the touchline by the future Queen of England. He scored both of the Sheffield Wednesday goals when they became the first Yorkshire side to win the FA Cup in 1896. He later led Wednesday to League title success in 1903. He scored over 300 career goals and retains the highest goals-to-game ratio of any winger in the history of English football.

When he finished playing football he took to the stage and acted alongside Charlie Chaplin on over 50 occasions. He then became a world famous coach and was the first to coach on three continents. He managed 1FC Nuremburg in 1914 and when WWI started he was, like all British citizens in Germany, imprisoned. He escaped and later returned to the country and won the Germany title with Nuremburg. In 1929, Spiksley helped make the first speaking coaching film for young people.

Spiksley was a womaniser and also lost many jobs because of his addiction to gambling on horses. He was to die aged 78 at Goodwood races on Ladies Day as he ran to collect his winnings on a successful bet on a horse from his hometown.

‘Flying Over an Olive Grove’ brings together Spiksley’s remarkable life and the book also contains a superb collection of images, including the oldest known photographs of action at an FA Cup final plus the earliest known photo of a goal being scored in an international match.

The book costs £19.99 and following a highly successful event recently at Hillsborough anyone who purchases a copy can also take away the Olive Grove Scrapbook, normal cost £10.00. Olive Grove was where Sheffield Wednesday played between 1887 and 1899 and the Scrapbook contains a remarkable collection of photographs, illustrations and newspaper clippings.

People have got to pick this book up. It is a joy to read” Colin Murray – BBC Radio 5Live

Amazing old photographs” Henry Winter – The Times

It is impossible to ignore the name Fred Spiksley” – Chris Waddle