Inspired by the heroes in his favourite bedtime stories, Arsenal striker Theo Walcott, aged 9¾, has written a series of kids' books whose lead character is loosely based on the forward himself.
The most recent, T.J. and the Cup Run, went on sale last Friday to the acclaim of well-read pre-teens up and down the country.
Here's a brief synopsis:
TJ and his friends get a terrible shock when their old teacher, Mr Potter, returns from illness to take over from Mr Wood as PE teacher at Parkview School. Worse still, they are about to play in the semifinal of the Cup, and Mr Potter's really bad tactics nearly lose them the match. With everything they've trained for hanging in the balance, can TJ and his friends turn things around and win?
Amazingly (he is a footballer, remember), Theo's work is gaining rave reviews from parents and kids alike:
"Theo Walcott turns out to be a surprisingly good writer of children's stories. Of course his inside knowledge of football from the earliest levels is immensely helpful and gives a sense of authority to the stories. My son enjoyed both of his new books immensely and we will certainly buy the two new ones which are scheduled for release in August."
"Having read various football fiction books from 2/3 authors my 7 year old son regards Theo Walcott's books as some of the best. He really enjoys reading them!"
"Like their creator, this series could run and run."
Theo's child-friendly side-earner proves it pays not to have a bad-boy image as a footballer — somehow we can't see Waterstones being interested in filling their children's literature aisles with action-adventure titles like Andy Carroll and the Drug-Fueled Orgy.
This post, written by Richard Gilzene, is republished with permission from The Spoiler. Go there often if you like soccer stuff.