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MY AGONY AT MUM'S DEATH BY EL MACCA; Ex-Kop idol Steve back in town for new book.

Byline: TONY BARRETT

FORMER Kop hero Steve McManaman has been drawing crowds again in Liverpool.

Fans lined up to meet the soccer star while he was at WH Smith's in Church Street to promote his new book.

Now 32 and playing with Manchester City, Steve talks about his time with Liverpool and his move to Real Madrid.

But if that was the easy bit, when it came to putting down on paper his feelings at the time of the premature death of his much loved mum, Irene, Steve admits he was temporarily lost for words.

He said: ``When I decided to write El Macca, it was a big decision for me. I had been asked to write books before and I'd always said no. I didn't want to do some sort of autobiography because I'm too young and there was nothing else that really appealed to me.

``Then I was asked to do something about my time in Spain, but not just about the football. It was also going to be about my life in Madrid with my wife Victoria, the experiences of an Englishman abroad and the whole emotional and cultural aspects of my move from Liverpool to Spain.

``I jumped at the chance but I realised it would mean writing about certain things that are very important to me.

``My mum's death was one of those things. But I couldn't avoid it because my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer around the same time as I was linked with Real.

``That was a really difficult time for the whole family and obviously when she died it was an incredibly upsetting thing for all of us.

``For my dad, he had just lost his wife and then he was about to see one of his sons leave his home town to play football abroad.

``I can remember one of the things that gave me comfort was the fact that mum had seen my last game for Liverpool at Anfield.

``So I suppose I was able to draw a bit of comfort from that when it came to writing about it. ''

Whatever difficulties Steve had in writing El Macca, it was certainly worth the effort as it has just been short listed for the William Hill sports book of the year award.

Steve says he still looks out for the results of Liverpool and boyhood favourites Everton and says both Merseyside clubs will always have a place in his heart.

``I went to Spain to prove something on the pitch and to myself off the pitch and I think I did that. Now I am back in England I am still enjoying my football and I am a lot closer to my family, but I would not have missed the experience of going to Madrid for the world. ''

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STAR SIGNING: Steve McManaman at WH Smith's; Picture: EDDIE BARFORD
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 24, 2004
Words:480
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