Belfast Telegraph

Armagh dad scores with twin-spiring new book about footie

By Gillian Halliday

A football fanatic and father-of-tw0 is hoping to score with World Cup fans after publishing an illustrated book that pays homage to the game's most famous moments.

World At Your Feet by Rob Parker, who lives in Kilmore, Co Armagh, was inspired by his two-year-old identical twins Carmen and Iris.

The 32-year-old, who is originally from Stoke-on-Trent but has been living in Northern Ireland since 2010, chose 16 of football's most celebrated goals as the subject matter of his debut publication.

And each of them is accompanied by a rhyming verse and colourful artwork produced by renowned Spanish illustrator Jorge Lawerta, who is well-known for his stylised images of the beautiful game.

Mr Parker, who runs a copywriting agency in Belfast, hit upon the idea after watching Euro 2016 matches while caring for the newborns with Co Down-born wife Kelly (31).

"I would watch the matches and I would have them sitting with me and they enjoy watching football when it's on the TV," he said.

"Time will tell how long that remains the case."

Legendary strikes by Argentina's Diego Maradona, England's Michael Owen and Holland's Dennis Bergkamp are included in the colorful book.

He said choosing each goal was a relatively easy process.

"Some of the 16 goals are what pretty much every football fan would choose," he explained.

"Then it was just the case of selecting the best goals that lend themselves to rhyme.

"The Dennis Bergkamp goal in the France World Cup 1998 Netherlands quarter-final match against Argentina is my personal favourite.

"I was 12 years old at the time. It was a brilliant moment of skill."

Although the book is primarily aimed at children, Mr Parker stressed that fans of all ages are enjoying it.

"From all of the messages I've received about the book on social media, it seems to have found itself two audiences, really: children and their parents," he said.

As for the World Cup in Russia which is currently exciting fans of the beautiful game, not surprisingly the author is cheering on the Three Lions, the nation of his birth.

"I am rooting for England," he said.

With Gareth Southgate's men safely through to the knock-out stages, he, like a lot of fans, has a back-up team to cheer on.

It's one that coincidently wears green and white - the same colours as the Northern Ireland team, which sadly crashed out of the play-off stages last year.

"It's Nigeria. I just love their kit. It's so distinctive," he said.

The picture book can be purchased from www.worldatyourfeet.co or via Amazon.

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