Harold Wood author, Ian Ayris, becomes Dagenham and Redbridge’s writer in residence

Ian Ayris at a book signing session at Dagenham & Redbridge FC's Victoria Road ground last year.

Ian Ayris at a book signing session at Dagenham & Redbridge FC's Victoria Road ground last year. - Credit: Archant

Dagenham and Redbridge appoint Harold Wood author as writer in residence.

You rarely think about football and literature as being closely linked, but that could all be about to change as part of a pioneering new scheme.

Ian Ayris, from Harold Wood, grew up supporting Dagenham FC and still follows their successor club Dagenham and Redbridge.

Last week the crime novelist was hired by the club to help with its community work as its first ever writer in residence.

Ian’s first novel, Abide With Me, hit the number one spot in Amazon’s sports fiction chart last year.

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The book charts the life of two working-class boys growing up in the East End in the 70s and 80s, and revolves around West Ham’s two FA cup final appearances in 1964 and 1975.

Ian said: “Football clubs have a lot of influence with young people and in the community in general, especially clubs like the Daggers who are still very much a family club with family values. So it’s great to be here at the club I love and be able to work with them giving something back.”

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As well as working in schools, he will be writing a book on the history of the club.

Dagenham and Redbridge managing director Steve Thompson said: “Ian is a great fan of the club and we are happy to be working with him bringing football and increasing literary skills into the community.

“As a club we want to reach kids who have an interest in football at all levels.

“Not all will want to play or have the ability to make it as a professional footballer, but by making the most of their education they can broaden their options.

“Some may want to write about football or just improve their writing skills, and that’s where we as a club working with Ian, can give them inspiration.”

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