Top ref joins Leeds United fan in the hot seat as Humber Mouth puts sport in the literary spotlight

Humber Mouth
Humber Mouth

A football referee and the author of a book about Leeds United are set to form a provocative partnership when the Humber Mouth Literature Festival looks at the world of sports books.

Keith Hackett, author of the You Are The Ref books and an ambassador for Premier League match officials, is expecting some tough questions from Hull City fans when he joins the panel at Never Mind The Tigers – The Ultimate Hull City Sports Quiz.

Dave Simpson, a journalist for The Guardian newspaper, is preparing for some Yorkshire football banter when he discusses his new book The Last Champions, about the Leeds team that won the Football League title in 1992.

Other sports writers are expected to be added to the event, which is billed as Humber Mouth Extra and will take place in the new North Stand function suite at Hull Kingston Rovers at 8pm on Wednesday November 20. Admission is free of charge but advance booking is essential.

Organisers Phil Ascough and Dave Windass admit that Steve Bruce is unlikely to make an appearance, with Hull City indicating that their manager is likely to be away as the event falls during the next international break.

Instead, actors from the Middle Child Theatre Company will be present to deliver passionate readings from some classic pieces of sports fiction and from Striker, a novel written by Steve Bruce in 1999.

Phil Ascough said: “It’s a shame Steve Bruce can’t make it because Striker is a compelling read and would generate some real talking points, but we’ll dust worselves down and concentrate on the actual line-up, which is very impressive.”

The title of the evening is drawn from Phil’s latest book, Never Mind The Tigers – The Ultimate Hull City Quiz Book. A quiz will form part of the entertainment and will feature content from that book, from Phil’s other titles Kissing The Badge and The Armchair Olympian, and from general Hull sporting trivia.

Phil added: “We’ll be in the very plush home of one of our great rugby league clubs so we won’t just be talking about football. The subject matter should be of interest to any sports fans although the delivery may be a bit more Ronnie Barker than Sue Barker.

“Keith Hackett became a Football League linesman in 1972, went on to referee at the highest level and remains one of the most highly-respected officials in the game. His You Are The Ref columns make very entertaining reading and have even been developed into a board game, which we’ll be giving away on the night.

“Dave Simpson is a Leeds fan but it’s unlikely he’ll be the only one in the room on the night and, in a way, he’s already indicated he’s looking forward to visiting a Premier League city.”

Dave Windass added: “The actors from Middle Child will bring a different dimension to the proceedings with their take on such works as The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Football Factory and Kestrel For A Knave as well as Steve Bruce’s first foray into sporting fiction.

“It’s Humber Mouth but not as we know it. Think Never Mind The Buzzcocks meets A Question of Sport and remember everyone is in with a chance whether your life revolved around the Barmby Army or your sporting knowledge is a load of Bullards”.

Humber Mouth Extra will take place in the new North Stand function suite at Hull Kingston Rovers at 8pm on Wednesday November 20. Admission is free of charge but advance booking is essential at,uk