Biteback nets Nedum Onuoha's 'deeply personal' autobiography

Biteback nets Nedum Onuoha's 'deeply personal' autobiography

Biteback Publishing has landed former footballer and broadcaster Nedum Onuoha’s autobiography, Kicking Back.

James Stephens, publisher at Biteback, acquired world English-language rights for the autobiography from Melanie Michael-Greer at the Michael Greer agency. Kicking Back, which has been co-written with BBC sports journalist Hugh Ferris, will be published in hardback in May 2022.

Biteback dubbed the book "deeply personal" as it charts Onuoha's time as young player, encompassing his experiences at Manchester City before he played for QPR and England, along with memories of his mother and his assessment of football and society today. 

The synopsis explains: "Nedum Onuoha was not a typical footballer and never wanted to write a typical footballer’s autobiography. While other members of the Manchester City academy were working towards their compulsory qualifications in the canteen at the training ground, Onuoha was in school, studying for his GCSEs and then his A-Levels, a rare player who combined a formal education with his rise to the first team of one of the most famous clubs in world football. He was there for the seismic changes at Manchester City, and when they won their first Premier League title he was there as an opposition player, having left the club just four months previously.

"His views on Stuart Pearce, Sven-Göran Eriksson, Roberto Mancini and Harry Redknapp are characteristically forthright for a man who is now a notable broadcaster for the BBC, ESPN and more. But this is also a book about identity. Onuoha’s has been shaped by his experience of being a Black man of Nigerian descent—initially growing up as an outsider in Manchester, and then living in the US during the Black Lives Matter protests—and also by being a Black footballer who faced horrific racist abuse throughout his career."

In addition to his work as a broadcaster, Onuoha also runs the "Kick Back with Nedum Onuoha" podcast.

Commenting on his autobiography, he said: “I never thought I would write a book, for so many different reasons, but as I look back and share the stories that made me who I am today, I realise that my experiences weren’t what I was told they would be. So, writing this book is my way of showing that perhaps there is a lot more to see when we take in perspectives we never previously considered. Because, after all, we are not all the same—but when you think about it, why should we be?”

Stephens said of the acquisition: “I’m absolutely delighted to be publishing Nedum’s book. He enjoyed a brilliant career as a footballer and is proving to be one of the sport’s most perceptive commentators. But this book is about so much more than just football. In Kicking Back, Nedum explores themes of identity, family, race, society and life itself with thoughtfulness and insight.”