You could say the story of Your Show started life when I was a shy sixteen-year-old refereeing a Sunday League adults game of football on the famous Hackney Marshes. There was so much to remember, so many players to control, so many positions to take up. I hated every second. As I blew that final whistle, I thought if I’m struggling in front of an old man and his dog in this Division 4 game, God knows how Black man Uriah ‘Uri’ Rennie does it in front of thousands every Saturday in the Premier League.

In writing Your Show, I have combined writing about my own experiences as a football referee with years of reading and research to offer a fictionalised portrait of Uriah Rennie’s pioneering efforts to make it to the top of his career, and stay there, amid the intense scrutiny of the British public and media as the first Black referee to reach the top league. It charts Uri’s journey from rural Jamaica where he was born in the 1950s, through his migration to an impoverished part of Sheffield in the early 1970s, to his rise through the ranks as a football referee while burdened by the responsibility, racial abuse and professional politics that comes with being a Black man growing up in Britain at that time.

In many ways, Your Show is not your average novel. It’s pacey, poetic and propulsive like a Premier League match, written almost entirely using the second person. Even though, at its core, it’s a novel about the life of a now retired football referee, I hope the story of an underdog who overcame immense prejudice to try and be the best in his field will appeal to a wide readership, whether fans of the beautiful game or not.

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