Lisburn man Andy Murdock takes inspiration from the children he coaches to create a new book

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Lisburn man Andy Murdock has used his experience of coaching football to create a children’s book, The Safari Cup, which teaches young readers the importance of friendship and teamwork.

As a pupil at St Aloysius Primary and Friends’ School, Andy always had a passion for sport and knew that he wanted to make a career out of his love of football.

After leaving school he did indeed make a career out of his passion. “I always knew I was going to get into sport and I’ve made the most of it travelling to Ghana, USA, Mexico, Russia and China to coach football,” explained Andy.

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"I’m currently working as a Let Them Play Officer for the Irish FA where I go to Primary Schools and take their PE sessions. I’m also Youth Development Officer at Warrenpoint Town FC where I oversee everything from U15s and younger.”

Lisburn man Andy Murdock has penned a new children's bookLisburn man Andy Murdock has penned a new children's book
Lisburn man Andy Murdock has penned a new children's book

Andy also had a love of books growing up and when he had some spare time he decided to take inspiration from the young people he was coaching and wrote his first book.

"I have always loved to read, especially when I was young,” Andy continued. “First and foremost, I am a football coach and my passion is providing children with an environment in which they can learn, and more importantly, have fun!

"Growing up I was a massive fan of Roald Dahl and the Harry Potter books. But my main inspiration comes from the kids that I coach. Children are so creative and when given the correct environment, they can come up with so many good games. I do a lot of animal themed games for fundamental movements, and the kids love acting like an animal, so they’re going to love reading about them.

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"I was coaching in Moscow and I had a lot of spare time so I said to myself, “Why not write a book?” So that’s how it started with my first novel What Happened To The Game I Loved.

The Safari Cup by Lisburn man Andy MurdockThe Safari Cup by Lisburn man Andy Murdock
The Safari Cup by Lisburn man Andy Murdock

“My first book was aimed at kids, parents and coaches to increase awareness in some of the issues in the game at grassroots level. It is about a young boy growing up to play football in a dystopian society.”

Now Andy has penned his second children’s book, The Safari Cup, which follows a team called the Cheeky Monkeys through a football tournament, just like the World Cup.

"The three overall messages are how to deal with disappointment, friendship, and the importance of working together as a team,” explained Andy, whose book is aimed at children aged 6-10.

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Lisburn man Andy Murdock has penned a new children's bookLisburn man Andy Murdock has penned a new children's book
Lisburn man Andy Murdock has penned a new children's book

"These are all life lessons that every parent should want their kid to experience, which is why I love being a football coach as football can be used as a tool to promote so many life skills. If I can do that through books as well, then all the better.

"It’s really important that we take inspiration from children. Let them play, let them have fun, let them be creative, let them fall, let them rise. Don’t stifle our kids imagination with phones, find activities that will allow them to blossom.”

The Safari Cup is released on December 16 and is available to buy online at www.amazon.co.uk.