A FOOTBALL-MAD father has teamed up with the illustrator of one of Britain’s best loved children’s stories to publish his first book.

Mark Williams, of Bishop Middleham, near Sedgefield in County Durham, hopes The Little Football Fan will help young boys discover the joy of reading, while strengthening the bond between father and son.

The 49-year-old has employed the services of illustrator and publisher Stuart Trotter for the book, which has already captured the imagination or readers and sports stars across the world.

Born and raised in Ferryhill, Mr Trotter, of Rockpool Children’s Books, has been illustrating the Rupert Bear annuals since 2008 and instantly saw potential for The Little Football Fan.

He said: “I thought the story was charming and I really admired Mark’s desire to get young boys reading.”

Mr Williams first dreamt up his idea for a children’s book 20 years ago, while reading bedtime stories to his young son.

“I found the majority of books were aimed at girls so I ended up telling my son about all the different footballers of the day,” he said. “It was a topic we both loved and it was a real bonding experience.”

The idea was given further credence through his work with young offenders, many of whom were illiterate.

Mr Williams believes The Little Football Fan will encourage young boys to read and, following the success of The Little Welsh Rugby Fan, he hopes to join forces with sports teams across the world to produce club-specific titles.

The Little Football Fan is available on e-Book via Amazon and iBooks priced £3.99.

To find out more search for The Little Football Fan on Facebook or follow @LittleFanBooks on Twitter.