Alan Gibbons

Barrington Stoke have scored a winner with this new release. With dramatic storylines both on and off the field, Keeper is Alan Gibbons’ latest fast-paced football novella that shows good friends really are for keeps.

New boy Shane Logan has a temper, but he’s also a talented goalie. When Peter and his friends invite Shane to join their football team, he delivers a star performance in the first match. But Shane’s not the only one who makes an impression.

Hanging over him like a shadow is his dad, Mick, who yells orders and insults from the sidelines. What is Mick’s problem? And why does Shane seem afraid of him?

The more Peter gets to know Shane, the more he worries that something is wrong – and that Shane’s not as tough as he seems.

Grassroots football is a part of so many young lives and the culture of respect that runs through it. Reading between the lines, it’s clear Mick is a very unpleasant individual with violent tendencies. But although his behaviour at the football field makes for uncomfortable reading, there’s not too much detail shared about his abusive nature behind closed doors to make it overwhelming or distressing for young readers.

Worried that Shane is facing a difficult time at home, Peter and Danny go round and call for him. They find one of the windows boarded up after Mick smashed it in a rage.

Mick is long-gone after having been arrested over the incident and Shane’s new-found football family Peter, Danny and coach Gary are all there to look out for him and offer the encouragement and reassurance he needs. It’s a reminder of the positive influence that the beautiful game and sport in general has on so many lives. They boys are a winning team and Shane is their ‘keeper for keeps.’

As well as a carefully crafted plot, cleverly interspersed between the chapters are fascinating facts about famous goalies and the history of goal keeping – perfect for topping up even the most knowledgeable football fan’s trivia. Goal keeping greats Gordon Banks and Peter Schmeichel are introduced to young fans and dramatic footballing moments are recounted.

Keeper is published on the 6th May 2021 by Barrington Stoke.

With thanks to Barrington Stoke for sending me a copy of the book to review.

To read the first chapter of Keeper, click here

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