Steve Bruce wrote a trilogy of “laughing stock” football novels

Crimes against literature, all of them...

Steve Bruce books Striker Sweeper and Defender
Literary great? Steve Bruce's books Striker Sweeper and Defender. Image Picture Paragon Press

The odds on Steve Bruce becoming the next England boss are rapidly tumbling after Hull City confirmed he’d held talks with The FA about the vacant manager’s position.

Paddy Power now lists him as 10/1 behind Jurgen Klinsmann (8/1) and Sam Allardyce (2/7), but should Bruce land the biggest job in English football something from his past may come back to haunt him. Something dark, terrible and best forgotten.

Remarkably, Bruce is a published author, writing a trilogy of novels – Striker, Sweeper and Defender – published between 1999 and 2000.

Released by Paragon Press, the books are now out of print but listings on Amazon are all the evidence needed to prove their existence. Each book revolves around some kind of murder or disappearance, painting Bruce as some kind of Premier League era Agatha Christie.

Brendan Rodgers and Steve Bruce, long before the former became Celtic manager.
Having a laugh Brendan Rodgers and Steve Bruce share a laugh. Image Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Bruce, for what it’s worth, is deeply ashamed of his literary past.

“It was a long time ago, and I’m not sure I want to be reminded of how bad they were,” Bruce has said of his writing work. “Just because I got a GCSE in English, I thought I was going to be the next Dick Francis. It didn’t make any contribution at all to anyone’s income.

“It became a laughing stock, to be honest. I think they’re probably still on the shelves somewhere, and I bet you could probably pick one up for 99p.”

They’re apparently worth a bit more than that; rare copies are apparently were reportedly being traded for between £40 and £90. If you’re want to get an idea of what to expect from Bruce the wordsmith then take a look at our rundown of the books below.


Striker!

Release date: December 1999
Best Amazon review: “This is a vexing book. On the one hand it is one of the most poorly wrtiten books I have ever read, yet it is hugely satisfying.” – K. Woodwards

2

Sweeper!

Release date: February 2000
Official synopsis: Football manager investigates murder of an old club employee, with dangerous results for himself.
Best Amazon review: “A reasonable read, much much better than Gary Pallister’s debut novel “TITUSBRAMBLE”, which was littered with errors and far too bleak to be enjoyable.” – Mr R Welsh

3

Defender!

Release date: March 2000
Official synopsis: A defender goes missing before a crucial game. Is it kidnap or truancy? or could it be murder?
Best Amazon review: “This book was good but not as good as Sweeper. this is because the plot isn’t as well thought out and the characters, i thought, were less beleivable. even so this was still enjoyable to read and i would recommend it.” – A Customer

Previous Post
Next Post

Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn

contribute