Frank Malley could tell you he has kicked with Jonny Wilkinson, played tennis with Greg Rusedski, sailed with Ben Ainslie and played in a cup final at Wembley.
All of which are true, but in reality he is a writer who spent a lifetime watching, reporting and marvelling at the feats of men and women with talents he could only ever dream about. It has taken him around the world to places as diverse as Tirana and Tokyo.
As a columnist and deputy sports editor with the Daily Express for 15 years and as chief writer with Press Association Sport he covered Olympic Games, World Cups in football and rugby and top events in golf, tennis and motor racing.
He was also shortlisted for Columnist of the Year in the Sports Journalists’ Association awards.
Born in Wigan, he is the author of three books. The first, ‘Champions’, which tells the story of Manchester United’s first Premier League title win, rose to number four in the UK best sellers’ charts and was endorsed and promoted by George Best.
‘Living on the Deadline’ is a 2014 memoir, described by the Library Journal of America as ‘Fun and exciting to read’ and ‘A warm and witty reflection of a career well spent’. All royalties from this book go directly to a Multiple Sclerosis charity.
‘Simply the Best – The inside story of how Wigan became rugby’s greatest cup team’, pays homage to his home town of ‘pie eaters’ and arguably one of the most successful sports teams of all time. Royalties from this book also help support the Joining Jack charity, which was set up to aid Jack Johnson, the son of former Wigan player Andy Johnson, when he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The charity, backed by England rugby union captain Owen Farrell and many other sports stars, has grown into a multi-million-pound initiative which helps thousands of children suffering from the disease.
It has always been Frank’s ambition to write a novel and ‘When the Mist Clears’, coming soon, was inspired by his part-time voluntary work for charity, transporting cancer patients in an ambulance car to radiotherapy treatment. The book is a tribute to some of the inspiring characters who, despite their fears, invariably make the car journeys funny, clever, irreverent and life affirming.
Frank enjoys cycling, learning to play piano and is a keen pub quizzer and box-set watcher. He lives with his wife, Carole, in a small, picturesque village in deepest Bedfordshire.