A former Sunderland AFC favourite has scored a winner, reckons the publisher of his new autobiography.
Former centre-back and striker Lee Howey has joined Westminster-based Biteback Publishing, who made headlines in 2015 with the controversial David Cameron biography Call Me Dave.
The firm has described his as-yet-untitled book as “a blinder.”
Biteback’s author list includes various household names including politicians Nigel Farage, Nigel Lawson, Charles Clarke and John Bercow; journalists Peter Sissons, Alastair Campbell and Nick Ross, plus entertainers Maureen Lipman, Jessye Norman, Barry Cryer and many others.
Lee’s story hits the shops in February, although its title remains a secret. Biteback are delighted and describe it as: “Hilarious, moving, beautifully written and certainly a cut above the usual football memoir.”
Lee, a Sunderland born-and-bred former St Aidan’s pupil, represented ‘the club he would have died for’ between 1993 and 1997. He played an important role in the club’s first promotion to the Premier League under Peter Reid in 1996.
I wasn’t the biggest name of the 1990s; or one of the greatest players but great players don’t necessarily write the best books.Lee Howey
At the time, his brother Steve was a mainstay of the Newcastle United team under Kevin Keegan.
Lee said: “I toyed with the idea of writing a book for years. It was my wife Maz who finally persuaded me. It’s wonderful that a publisher like Biteback has taken it up.
“I wasn’t the biggest name of the 1990s; or one of the greatest players.
“But great players don’t necessarily write the best books.”
It is a remarkable tale. As an apprentice at Ipswich, Lee was told by a knee specialist that he was finished as a professional footballer, but rebuilt his career in Belgium.
He was playing for Plains Farm Club in the ‘feisty’ Sunderland Sunday League when he was offered a chance by the Black Cats’ then-manager Terry Butcher.
The arrival of Peter Reid saw him really begin to establish himself as a first-team regular as the team won its first promotion to the Premier League.
He left the club after relegation at the end of the subsequent season and went on to join former Roker team-mate Chris Waddle at Burnley before playing for Northampton Town.
The book describes Lee’s rise and fall as a player, triumphs and disasters – as well as more than a few “differences of opinion.”