The Premier League‘s first black referee is set to be the subject of a new novel, FourFourTwo have confirmed. Uriah Rennie became the first ever black referee in the Premier League in 1997 when he made his top flight debut, and remains to this day the only black referee in the leagues history.
Rennie was revered as a referee, not just as a trailblazer but also with his abilities as a referee. Keith Hackett, head of the Professional Game Match Officials Board has described him as “the fittest referee we have ever seen on the national and world scene”.
The book about his life is being written by Ashley Hickson-Lovence, a former teacher-turned-author who himself trained as a referee and was inspired by Uriah Rennie, due to them both sharing the same skin colour.
“I qualified as a referee when I was 16 – my first game was at Hackney Marshes, and I felt so out of my depth at the start” Hackney-Lovence stated.
“You look for figures of inspiration at the highest level, and the only person who had the same skin colour as me was Uriah Rennie (The Premier League’s first black referee).”
“I saw him on Match of the Day being strong and powerful, commanding respect. I knew then that I wanted to write a book about him”.
The pair met several times in Sheffield, where Rennie now manages leisure centres, and agreed to let Hackney-Lovence write a book about his life.
The novel will feature all aspects of the first black referee in the Premier League’s life, including his first game as a referee being abandoned due to floodlight failure, and TV appearances from his time as a Premier League referee.
The book is set to be published on April 7th 2022, and is expected to be written in the vein of previous footballing novels like The Damned United and Red or Dead, and is expected to be a hit among football fans across England.
The novel will be called Your Show and is the second novel by Ashley Hackney-Lovace.
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