Hornsea writer Marvin Close has been the toast of London, thanks to his latest book. ‘Hope’ is the life story of women’s football supremo Hope Powell, who for 15 years was manager of the England team, and has been an inspirational role model ever since.
Marvin’s book, released by Harry Potter publishers Bloomsbury Press, has just had its official launch at Foyle’s Book Shop in London at a party and question and answer session. The invited audience of over 100 included press and media plus current England women internationals Fara Williams and Casey Stoney. Fara and Casey both played in the England team that came third in the Women’s World Cup in the USA in 2015.
“It was a glorious night,” says Marvin, “and the culmination of two years of hard work of writing, interviewing Hope and legions of people who’ve worked with her and been an important part of her life.
Before that, it took me a year to convince Hope that we should work on this book together. For someone who’s achieved so much for women’s sport in this country and been instrumental in forcing through so many positive changes, Hope is incredibly modest about her achievements. She turned me down a couple of times about working on the book with her, but in the end I ground her down!”
Hope’s story is an amazing tale of never giving in. Raised on a tough East London council estate in a house full of violence and domestic abuse, she became the youngest footballer ever to play for England, aged just sixteen. She won 66 caps and though a midfielder, scored over 40 goals in an England shirt. Aged 31, she became the manager of the England women’s football team and also became the first woman in the world to gain the UEFA coaching Pro Licence – the very highest coaching qualification it’s possible to attain.
These days, she travels the world working for FIFA and UEFA as a coach and ambassador for football. Recently, she has become the first woman ever to be appointed by the Professional Footballers Association in this country, to coach young male players at a number of the nation’s top club academies.
“This is an amazing story about how sport can change lives and transform expectations no matter what background you come from, and particularly for girls and women.” says Marvin. “Getting to know Hope was a sheer joy. She’s a leader, an inspiration and an incredibly honest individual. I’d like to think that this comes out in the book. After first turning me down over my book idea, Hope and I have increasingly become great friends to the extent that we’re now currently working together on FIFA’s Women’s Football book which will be published in 2017.”
Though Marvin, who lives in Cliff Road, Hornsea, has been best known for writing for TV shows like Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Tracey Beaker, he has plenty more football related writing to do in the coming year. At the moment he is working as Script Producer on a new British/Chinese joint funded drama movie about a Chinese footballer who comes to play in the Premier League. Although in it is early stages, it should be out on screen worldwide in 2017.
Martin explains his feelings. “In the end, it’s all about telling stories and it doesn’t matter what medium I do that in. I love that I can write in so many different forms, but it’s always about trying to excavate and create great stories.”
And Marvin’s biggest inspiration? His teacher wife Sheily. They have been together for nearly 30 years and Marvin assures us that no-one understands him better than she does. Sheily is his toughest and therefore best critic.