We picked ten-year-old Toppsta reviewer Micah to interview Alex Bellos (AB) & Ben Lyttleton (BL), authors of the brilliant Football School series. Here’s what they had to say:
What football team do you support?
BL: I support Spurs, as all my family supported them and I grew up near the stadium. For me, supporting a team is like being part of a huge community, like having an extra family. That’s why I went to Madrid to watch Spurs in the Champions League final last season; to support them, but also to thank them for giving me so many exciting memories over the years!
AB: I grew up in Edinburgh where my local team was Hearts.
Who is your favourite football player of all time?
BL: This is such a hard question. I think I will let Alex answer this one!
AB: Thanks Ben! Not sure, but our top 50 are included in our book Star Players!
Did you play football as a child, on a team or for fun?
BL: Good question! I started playing when I was about 6, always for fun. Even when I was on a school team, it was still for fun: I was with friends, being active, and having a great time. That’s why I still play now, though normally it’s now with my daughters and their friends. They are better than I used to be!
AB: Of course! Always for fun.
At the back of Star Players, there is the quiz. Did you come up with the questions yourself?
BL: Yes, we worked out the questions ourselves!
Have you taken the quiz? If so, what was your score?
BL: I did pretty well because I wrote most of the questions. That made it a bit easier!
Have you met any famous footballers?
BL: I’ve met lots of footballers in my career as a football writer: these include David Beckham, Ronaldo (the Brazilian and Portuguese one) and Gareth Bale. But none were probably as good as Alex’s friend Pele…
AB: Yes, I got to meet Pelé because I helped him write his autobiography. That was fun!
Out of the books I have read from the Football School series, Star Players is my favourite. Which book is your personal favourite from the series?
BL: That’s like asking me who is my favourite child! I love all the books but in slightly different ways.
How long did it take you to complete writing the book?
BL: The first book took us almost 18 months to write from start to finish, because we had never written for children before and wanted to make sure we got things just right – including our terrible jokes! Now we can write a book in almost six months, which is still a long time – but much quicker than it used to be.
Do you have a favourite football memory?
BL: Yes, I once scored a penalty in front of 25,000 football fans at a stadium in Ireland, against a former Irish international goalkeeper. It was an amazing moment but didn’t last too long, as two minutes later I took another penalty and missed it. The experience inspired me to write a book about penalty-kicks, called Twelve Yards, which took me two years to write. So it was quite an important moment for me!
AB: I was in Brazil when Brazil won the 2002 World Cup. The final was in Japan in the evening, which meant that it was early morning in Brazil. I watched the game with thousands of others on the Copacabana beach, and the celebrations were amazing!
What one word would you use to describe football?