Quercus has acquired Forever Young: The Story of Adrian Doherty, Football’s Lost Genius, by Oliver Kay, chief football correspondent of the Times.
Quercus non-fiction publishing director Richard Milner acquired UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights from David Luxton at David Luxton Associates.
Forever Young tells the "untold story" of Manchester United's Northern Irish youth "prodigy" Adrian Doherty.
Doherty joined United as an apprentice in 1989, and made such exceptional progress that Alex Ferguson considered giving him a first-team debut at the age of 16. Just before his 17th birthday, the club offered him an unprecedented five-year professional contract, but Doherty turned it down, preferring a shorter deal. Termed "an eccentric - by football standards", he used to take the bus into Manchester to go busking instead of watching the first team play, wore second-hand clothes, worshipped Bob Dylan, read about theology and existentialism and wrote songs and poems.
However Doherty died the day before his 27th birthday following an accident in Holland. In Forever Young, Kay - writing with the full collaboration of Doherty’s family - tells Doherty's story in full for the first time.
Milner said: “In such a media-saturated sport as football, it is rare to uncover an unknown story associated with one of the biggest clubs in the world. Forever Young is a powerful and poignant account of the best footballer you’ve never heard of.”
Kay said: “The moment I stumbled across the barest facts of Adrian’s story, more than five years ago, I thought: ‘This is it. This is the book I want to write.’ As a football fan and writer, I’ve always been fascinated by the stories of those players who, for one reason or another, don’t realise their potential. With better luck, Adrian could have been a superstar at Manchester United, but it’s far more than just a hard-luck story. It’s a story about an amazing individual and an extraordinary life that was tragically cut short.”
Quercus will publish as a hardback, priced £20, on 19th May 2016.