May 2017 saw Pitch Publishing’s successful London launch of Leroy Rosenior’s autobiography It’s Only Banter at the famous Craven Cottage in Fulham where he made his footballing debut. Shortly after this Leroy and his team headed to Accra, Ghana to kick off his west African book launch tour. A new and exciting prospect!
There was much excitement and anticipation as Leroy Rosenior and his large entourage arrived at Kotoka International Airport on a balmy evening. Several passengers on the flight recognised the popular Londoner and Leroy graciously obliged fans with selfies and autographs.
His team would only be in town for four nights and literally had to hit the ground running. The packed tour included several radio and TV interviews, breakfast meetings, business meetings and VIP receptions including a special FA Cup Final lunch reception hosted by the British High Commissioner Jon Benjamin and his wife at their impressive Accra residence.
Leading Ghanaian business figures including the charismatic “Bill Gates of Ghana” Herman Chinery-Hesse software entrepreneur and founder of SoftTribe the largest software company in Ghana met with Leroy and his team where he wished him luck with the launch and the remainder of the tour.
For Leroy and his team a major highlight was the specially arranged visit to the impressive Right to Dream Football Academy. Leroy was taken on a tour of the training and educational facilities, met the highly-motivated students and delivered an entertaining and inspirational speech. Professional links were cemented with Leroy committing to growing the relationship going forward as a professional mentor.
Another highlight for Leroy and his team was undoubtedly the official book launch event set in the plush grounds of the Accra’s leading Contemporary Art Gallery, the Berj Gallery, courtesy of gallery proprietor Joyce Quarshie. Guests from all corners of the business, culture, sport and media world were treated to an entertaining presentation by Jon Benjamin which focused on the importance of Leroy’s journey and his personal contribution. This was followed by an engaging speech by Leroy that not only referenced his personal story but also the wider context and the need for Africans to be at the forefront of our football industries, particularly in managerial and other leadership roles.
The evening was ably hosted by the gifted and knowledgeable Broadcast Journalist/Writer Rahman Osman of Citi FM and Ghanasoccernet.com alongside the talented Josephine Aryitey, COO of BlaqQode and Managing Partner at BIG Africa. The guests enjoyed a sumptuous French inspired buffet and wine bar whilst being entertained with the lively and at times hilarious auction offering prizes ranging from Champagne, tours of the TV studios to tickets to see premier league games next season from the players’ lounge.
In pictures, Leroy Rosenior, book launch in Accra, Ghana (Photos: Walter Shine Anani)
Book launch Leroy Rosenoir “It’s Only Banter” (Photo: Walter Shine Anani)
About the book
It’s Only Banter is a frank and honest account of what it was really like to be a successful Black professional footballer and manager in the English professional football league. An uncompromising, graphic and often humorous story, Leroy Rosenior provides a rare insider’s view of his remarkable footballing career – both as player and manager in this long-awaited autobiography.Andy Cole the legendary striker formerly of Manchester United and England, pens an insightful forward to Leroy’s story, providing the reader with a unique front row view of the English football league during the 1980s and 1990s. He comments:
There were some great senior pros at Aston Gate and I learnt from each and every one of them: Wayne Allison, Dariusz Dziekanowski, Terry Connor and of course Leroy. Not many young strikers are fortunate enough to have that amount of experience and attacking talent to tap into and I made sure I listened and took things from them all”.
In It’s Only Banter Leroy holds up a revealing and fascinating lens on English football as one of Britain’s first Black professional footballer turned manager. As a young, eager and idealistic player Leroy experienced the heady heights and painful lows whilst playing at some of the country’s leading clubs including Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and West Ham United. It’s Only Banter is long overdue, and documents a fascinating career in one of the toughest sports for a black man to succeed.
“I’ve celebrated scoring a goal at the Kop end at Anfield. I’ve stood in the centre circle at Upton Park while 25,000 West Ham fans have chanted my name. I’ve stood on the African west coast, white sand warming my toes as I looked out on the Atlantic Ocean”. Leroy Rosenior
Born in south London to Sierra Leonean parents, Leroy competed at the very highest level in English Football, playing for England at Under-16s and Under-21s and later selected for the Sierra Leone national team in the African Nations Cup. Leroy also had the honour of managing the Sierra Leone national team in the African Nations Qualifiers.
Leroy is also a leading anti-racism campaigner in British football and travels the country working as an ambassador for the Show Racism the Red Card campaign and is one of the very few black managers who knows first-hand the challenges facing young, black players and coaches in the modern game.
With over 35 years in the game Leroy remains a much loved and respected coach and media pundit with fans and supporters across the UK, Africa and the Caribbean.
Leroy currently works as a media presenter, producer and pundit on the Premier League Show, Eurosport’s coverage of the Africa Cup of Nations and the popular African G-Sports channel. He has also worked on BBC’s Radio 5 Live, the Football League Show, FanZone and the League Cup Show.
Leroy continues to bring his special brand of in-depth knowledge and honest professionalism to an international audience with his latest commentating role in July 2017 at the Confederations Cup 2017, South Africa.
His book launch tour continues – next stop Lagos, Nigeria followed by Freetown, Sierra Leone and Banjul, the Gambia.
It’s Only Banter the Autobiography of Leroy Rosenior with Leo Moynihan is published by Pitch Publishing and is available online.