Early Doors

Pepe Mel’s ‘passionate’ published mystery novel

Former Real Betis coach Pepe Mel has just been named West Bromwich Albion's new boss but what you might not know about him is that he likes to write mystery novels in his spare time.

Mel has an unusual way of relaxing when he is not occupied with coaching, and that is writing. But not just for his own enjoyment - his work has been published.

The 48-year-old's first book was entitled 'The Liar' - a story which recounts the adventures of a millionaire antiques collector who clashes with the Vatican while hunting for stolen manuscripts.

"What I most love about writing is the process of preparing for it," Mel has said of his work when it was released.

"The novel's plot reflects my passions, the everyday things I like.

"It helps me to relax and between pages I might think of a way to stop (Real forward) Cristiano Ronaldo."

Mel said the novel had taken him four or five years to complete and he was now working on a book about 17th-century Spanish painter Velazquez.

"I never thought I could write a book," he said. "It's something I do in the free time football allows me.

"The only thing I ask is that people have as much fun (reading it) as I had writing it."

Mel is not the only Premier League boss who has a passion for writing and published work to his name.

Bruce has not only talked about his love of writing, but also for his deep embarrassment over his past work.

The phase came in Bruce's life when he was captaining Manchester United, and he rattled out three novels in the space of four months - something which few people know about.

"It was a long time ago, and I'm not sure I want to be reminded of how bad they were," Bruce said.

"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."

All three of Bruce's novels were based on the fictional adventures of football boss Steve Barnes, with rare copies still around on websites priced between £40 and £90.

The books were entitled 'Striker', 'Sweeper' and 'Defender' and appeared on a few bookshelves from 1999.

Indeed, the book 'Striker' has a review on Amazon which described the offering as "one of the most poorly written books I have ever read, yet hugely satisfying."

The synopsis which most grabbed ED was for the 'Defender' title, which involved 'a defender who goes missing before a big game', although one reviewer did not believe it was nearly up the level of 'Sweeper'.