Tales from the rugby pitch written by Burnley man set to score award

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: The book takes a humorous look at the game The book takes a humorous look at the game

A HUMOROUS sports book written by a rugby mad author has been shortlisted for the British Sports Book Awards.

The Mud, the Beer and the Rugby is the first book written by John Collier, 66, who has been a member of Burnley, formerly Calder Vale, rugby club for decades.

Whilst the book is about amateur rugby, it is not intended to be a factual or historical account but an examination of the game's wealth of humorous material from both on and off the pitch.

While raising laughs, John is ambitiously trying to raise £100,000 for the Injured Players Foundation, a charity which looks after players from all levels who suffered serious spinal injuries.

John moved to Reedley in 1951, attending Walter Street Primary School in Brierfield and Nelson Grammar School, followed by Nottingham University. He now lives in Waddington and is semi-retired, working part-time as a solicitor. He is married with two adult children.

The book begins with John’s experience as a young soccer enthusiast when he thought rugby was a crazy game played by crazy people.

Then after a chance incident draws him in, there is no escape from the mud, the beer and the rugby. After receiving news of his nomination for best rugby book, John said: “I'm not expecting to win.

“There are six on the shortlist, including record-breaking Irish international Ronan O’Gara’s autobiography and books by established writers.

“But the awards ceremony at Lords Cricket ground will be an experience. It will certainly be the nearest I’ll get to the Oscars".

Former England and British Lions captain, Bill Beaumont, from Chorley, has contributed a foreword to the book.

As for his charity target, he said: "It's a tall order but if we can sell an average of 20 copies per club affiliated to the Rugby Football Union we will get there.

“I also hope people outside rugby, who just enjoy a good laugh, may also buy a copy.”

The star studded ceremony, hosted by Jonathan Agnew, is at Lords on Wednesday, May 21.

John will be accompanied on the trip to London by former international referee, Peter Hughes from Higham, who has also been a member at Burnley for many years and who has been helping John with the fundraising project.

The book can be bought online at www.themud thebeerandtherugby.com.

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