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SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ARE YOU FAMOUS?
HAVE YOU MET ANYONE FAMOUS?
NO! I don't get recognised in the street or anything. I think the books are more famous than me - I might be in a school and the pupils will say "I've got that book!"
I'm lucky that I've met a few writers at festivals - Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo, Shirley Hughes, Anthony Horowitz, Julia Donaldson...
I have met several footballers through my position at the National Football Museum - several World Cup Winners from 1966, several Everton players...
I've been lucky in that my poetry has taken me all over the world. I've worked in schools and at festivals in Beijing, Malaysia, Argentina, Uganda, Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Singapore, Rotherham...
If somebody had told me all those years ago that poetry would have taken me all over the world or help me meet some of my favourite footballers I wouldn't have believed them but here we are!
SHOW OLD ARE YOU?
I was born in 1961... so do your maths! I'm over 50!
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
I was actually born in Essex - yes, I'm an Essex boy! But - I was adopted at birth and taken up north so that I could speak properly.
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
I grew up in a little place called Longton - just outside Preston. We lived on a chicken farm - with 10,000 chickens - and my dad made part of our garden into a small football pitch.
HAVE YOU ANY BROTHERS AND SISTERS?
I have a brother and two sisters - I'm the oldest.
DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE A POET?
No, I wanted to be a footballer - then a rock star... I'd have loved to be in a band and played guitar and sung but I couldn't sing - or play guitar... so I started writing poetry
Slade, Be Bop Deluxe, U2, Billy Bragg, Ian McNabb, Wonderstuff, Chuck Prophet - loads. I love the pop music of the early 70's - real fun stuff like Mud, Sweet, Rubettes, Suzi Quatro...
Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper, Mike Harding, Dad's Army, Two Ronnies, Les Dawson... some of the stand ups like John Bishop, Tim Vine, Lee Mack, Milton Jones, Sarah Millican...
Alan Ball - of current Everton players - Marouanne Fellaini (I should write a poem about his hair!)
Q. What animal goes "OOOH!"
A. A cow with no lips
Go on try it out loud...