Radio interivew was my big chance for fame.. until I realised I was the wrong 'Dave' | Dave Thomas

The first book I ever wrote 20 years ago was, It’s Burnley Not Barcelona. Boy was I proud.
Author Dave Thomas' hopes of being famous have been cruelly dashed by a series of unfortunate eventsAuthor Dave Thomas' hopes of being famous have been cruelly dashed by a series of unfortunate events
Author Dave Thomas' hopes of being famous have been cruelly dashed by a series of unfortunate events

However, it was only a few weeks after publication that I got a phone call from someone in Burnley.

“Dave, I’ve just seen your book in a remainder shop going cheap.”

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I had no idea why it should be in a remainder shop within just a few weeks. My first book, very first ever book, and already in a remainder shop for a couple of quid. I rang the publisher and a slurred, sozzled, weary voice answered.

“Dave, shorry, finished, bankrupt.”

Crestfallen wasn’t the word. My very first book within weeks had put the publisher out of business!

Surely it wasn’t that bad. Anyway, now that I’ve written more books, I always manage to spin this story out at functions to get a few laughs.

Years later, I knew I was destined never to be famous, the day that Talksport rang. There I was at the desk in the office, busy typing away on the next book. It was the one after the Jimmy Adamson book and we had high hopes of the latter being a success.

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He was offered the England manager job and turned it down so that was a big story at the time and his is a name that is well recognised in football. In fact, it did okay and the publisher is still in business.

Tap, tap, tap went the keyboard one morning, and then the phone rang. The Adamson book was in the bookshops, going well on Amazon. And the phone kept ringing.

“Hello Talksport here,” said a voice at the other end. “Is that Dave Thomas?”

My mind went into overdrive. Before he could speak again, I was on the case. Talksport radio. Wow.

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Wonder what they want? And then it clicked. The Adamson book, I thought. They must want to talk about the Adamson book. Talksport. Live radio. I’m being interviewed. Get talking.

What a chance to plug the book. What a chance to give the nation a glowing account. National radio, live, what an opportunity. Don’t waste it.

Without further ado I launched into the big sell. Adamson the player, the coach, the manager; a book involving real detective work, tracking people down, finding his family, digging through newspaper archives, talking to players, those that liked him and those that didn’t. On and on I went. The hard work, all the effort, all the reading, all the research. Now it was in the shops and doing well. Boy, did I spread it on, thick as treacle.

Live radio, wow.

The poor bloke on the other end never got a chance to interrupt, until at last I had to pause and then I waited a moment for him to ask any questions. At last, I’m gonna be famous, I thought. At last.

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There was a short silence at the other end. And then the voice spoke. “Well, all that sounds great. But all I’m ringing for is to ask if you have Dave Burnley’s phone number."

My mouth dropped. Dave Burnley’s phone number? Did I know Dave Burnley’s phone number?

It was in that moment I realised that no, I was never going to be famous.