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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 April, 2005, 00:51 GMT 01:51 UK
Football stars to promote reading
John Terry, Chelsea captain
"Gianfranco Zola was always reading," said John Terry
English Premiership footballers have named their favourite books in a drive to encourage families to read together.

Stars such as John Terry, Ryan Giggs and David James have teamed up with the National Literacy Trust in a scheme involving all 20 top flight clubs.

Each club is adopting at least one library and will offer incentives to encourage people to take part, such as match tickets and ground tours.

Among the favourite books named were The Hobbit, 1984 and The Da Vinci Code.

Under the scheme, called Premier League Reading Stars, some players will visit libraries to read stories.

Children taking part will receive free books.

Manchester United's Ryan Giggs chose Nelson Mandela's life story, A Long Walk To Freedom, while Chelsea captain John Terry chose the children's book Cool!, by Michael Morpurgo, the author who has worked his own love for Chelsea into the storylines of a number of his novels.

David James

Terry said: "Premier League Reading Stars is a really good idea because all footballers read, whether it is match day programmes, magazines or books.

"It's important to act as a positive role model and I'm really pleased that people want to know about my favourite books."

He said he thought Gianfranco Zola, who used to play with him at Chelsea, was the coolest footballer in the world, and he was always reading .

"He was an inspiration to me and a model professional. Franco always had a good book to read whether he was travelling to a game, waiting at an airport terminal, or relaxing in a hotel," he said.

The players could choose a book for adults or children. Some, such as Stephen Clemence, picked a title they had loved as a child.

The Birmingham City player chose the Roald Dahl story The Twits.

"Having just become a dad for the first time one of the things I am looking forward to is reading with him and I used to love The Twits when I was a kid and I am sure he will too," said Clemence.

"I used to laugh out loud at the description of the cornflakes in Mr Twit's beard."

I used to laugh out loud at the description of the cornflakes in Mr Twit's beard
Stephen Clemence
Birmingham City

Professor John Beer, of Cambridge University, said the list appeared to be an interesting and good one.

"The good thing about the list is its diversity and the fact that there's no immediate or obvious agenda: on it the books that I know all have a straightforward attractiveness that's likely to keep the pages being turned while engaging the mind in some way, which must be one of the prime aims," he said.

"It will be fascinating to see the results."

Trevor Millum, director of the National Association of English Teachers said the project was a great way of encouraging reading.

"It is especially good because it might encourage more dads to read with their children," he said.

Premiership players' favourite books
Club Player Book Author
Arsenal Freddie Ljungberg Cars, Trucks and Things that Go Richard Scarry
Aston Villa Mark Delaney The Iron Man Ted Hughes
Birmingham City Stephen Clemence The Twits Roald Dahl
Blackburn Rovers Craig Short Birdsong Sebastian Faulks
Bolton Wanderers Kevin Nolan It Stephen King
Charlton Athletic Dean Kiely It's Not About the Bike Lance Armstrong
Chelsea John Terry Cool! Michael Morpurgo
Crystal Palace Tommy Black Postmortem Patricia Cornwell
Everton Lee Carsley The Alchemist Paulo Coelho
Fulham Moritz Volz The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Liverpool Chris Kirkland There's a Viking in My Bed Jeremy Strong
Manchester City David James The Hobbit JRR Tolkien
Manchester United Ryan Giggs A Long Walk to Freedom Nelson Mandela
Middlesbrough Colin Cooper 1984 George Orwell
Newcastle United Steven Taylor Keeper Mal Peet
Norwich City Paul McVeigh The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown
Portsmouth Lomana LuaLua Tintin and the Lake of Sharks Herge
Southampton David Prutton The Folk of the Faraway Tree Enid Blyton
Tottenham Hotspur Erik Edman Ramses Christian Jacq
West Bromwich Albion Riccardo Scimeca Keane: The Autobiography Roy Keane, Eamon Dunphy
Source: Premier League Reading Stars

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