I noticed this morning that my notes for the Frank Soo biography are about to exceed 50,000 words, so I don”t think I’m going to have much trouble writing enough for the final publication.
There isn’t really much news at the moment as I’m ploughing on with the research, which currently means that I’m trying to translate various book extracts and newspaper articles from Swedish, Norwegian, Italian and Finnish. I’m not a linguist, so it’s hard and I’m grateful to Frank that he didn’t take that job as Israeli national coach in the end!
I recently wrote a letter that was published in the local Stoke-on-Trent newspaper, the Sentinel, and it has had excellent results. I’ve been contacted by a former neighbour who has some lovely memories of FS and his wife. I’ve also been in touch with people who have some memorabilia, which I hope will come to something but I’ll have to wait and see.
Up next is a trip to Chelmsford library and record office. I still hope to get to Liverpool soon too, but Stockholm and Padova are sadly not in my current plans.
The Crowdfunder pledges have now been received and, after deductions, the final total was GBP 1,072.78 – for which thank you all so much indeed.
The donation button remains for anyone wishing to help in the future and the London Chinese Community Centre has very generously offered to raise money for the Frank Soo project. The Chinese Community Challenge Cup 華人挑戰杯 2016 is on 16 July 2016.
The aim is to publish the biography in the autumn. I hope there will be a small number of hardcover copies, plus a few hundred paperbacks and it will also be available in several electronic formats. The most expensive aspect of this will be the printing and distribution costs, so the number of copies will depend on funds.
I am setting up a small company called Electric Blue Publishing in order to facilitate this. There has been interest from some publishers but I think Frank Soo deserves the best, so I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a better way of doing it.
I hope (depending on funds) to commission a professional to do the book layout and then use a large company, probably Ingram, to print and distribute the books.
If sales go well, I will then try to commission a Chinese translation. I will take advice on which language is best. I understand that the Gwongdung Wah language, also known as Standard Cantonese, may be best. It would be appropriate as Frank’s father, Quan, came from Guangzhou (English name, Canton). I am more than happy to take advice on this – an apologies for any errors I may make.
In the meantime, I’m continuing writing the book and researching the 32 years that FS spent in Sweden, working as a coach. I’ve found a lot of material about him in old Scandinavian newspapers. Thank goodness for Google Translate!
Susan 5 May 2016
The Crowdfunder project has finished. Final total raised was GBP 1,240, for which thank you everyone. After deductions, the project will receive about GBP 1,109 on around 1st May 2016. I will post details of all the transactions involved on this page in the future, so that everyone can see exactly how the money is used.
I know others are planning to raise more funds and we now have a donation button for anyone who would like to help out.
The next few months will be spent finishing the book, and working out how many copies will be published. Future plans still include a translation into Chinese – even if it’s only published in an electronic format – and some kind of memorial to Frank Soo in the form of a plaque or statue, as well as starting a campaign for the proper recognition of his England caps.
Obviously much of this still depends on raising funds, so if you can help in any way, please do.
Best wishes and thanks,
To all those wonderful people who have contributed to the Crowdfunder project, many thanks. We’ve reached £910 and, although a long way off the target, I hope that will be enough to at least have the book published and distributed around the world.
What has been even more valuable has been the support of many members of the Soo family – rightly proud of Frank – and the help and information they have given, from photographs and letters to small pieces of information that have helped to piece together this massive, and rather sprawling, jigsaw. So thank you to Jacqui, Christian and others.
I can now add two more football clubs to the many that FS coached over the years, I have found the house where he was living in North Staffordshire in 1952 (quite obscure, that one!) and I have found out much more about the six Soo brothers and one sister, all of whom are interesting in their own right. All six brothers served in the RAF during the Second World War and at least three of them were on the books of professional football clubs, as well as being talented at cricket and other sports. So it is a wonderful story – and even better than I first thought it would be.
The project has also had some interest from people in China and has raised the possibility of there eventually being a Chinese translation, at least in an electronic format.
There’s a little way to go. I’ve probably got enough material for a fairly good biography, but I’m determined to try to find as many of those awkwardly-shaped jigsaw pieces that are still missing as I can.
Only nine days left, so please help if you can:
Frank Soo Project
The project is only a few days old and there has been a huge response, both in terms of pledges and interest. I think that I can safely say the Frank Soo biography is going to be published.
Yesterday, this article about him was published on the Football Pink website provoked a great deal of interest. It also provoked me to make another attempt to change the incorrect name on his Wikipedia Page. Although it always seems to accept the correction, it keeps reverting back. Watch this space. I’m determined to make them get it right.
You can help the Frank Soo Project at crowdfunder.co.uk/frank-soo-footballs-forgotten-genius
Today at 5pm, I’ll be launching a Crowdfunder project to help fund the research and publication of a biography of the great, but little-known, footballer, Frank Soo.
Frank was unlucky, despite being the first player of Chinese origin to play for England, and being recognised by his contemporaries as one of the best footballers of his time, his playing career was curtailed at its height in 1939, when he was 25 years old. He spent most of the Second World War playing for the RAF, and as a guest player for teams like Everton, Chelsea and Newcastle United (among others). By the time the war was over, he was coming towards the end of his playing career.
He began coaching at Calcio Padova, and – perhaps because of personal tragedy – he spent much of the rest of his life abroad, including 25 years as a coach in Sweden. When he retired and returned to England, he appears to have led a lonely existence, dying of Alzheimer’s disease in 1991.
One of the initial reasons I decided to write about Frank was because I found that so much of the information about him that is readily accessible – in books and on the internet – is factually incorrect. Having contacted his closest living relatives, I found that I was right and even his name is incorrect in most cases. However, when I started reading about him, I quickly learned that his was a much more interesting story. It is difficult to understand how a player who many people described as the best they’d ever seen has all-but-vanished from the public memory. I would like to change that.
Frank was a pioneer in that he was the first Chinese (or indeed Asian) player to become an England international. Unfortunately, because his caps were all earned during wartime or immediately afterwards, they have never been recognised as “official” by the FA. Part of my motivation for writing this book is an attempt to change this and to, hopefully, find other ways of promoting the long-overdue recognition that this brilliant footballer deserves.
Crowdfunder page: Frank Soo Project
It seems very presumptuous, but having just sent the manuscript of my third book to my publisher, I feel that I need something to bring all my writing – past, present and future – together.
The aim is to enable me to publicise my work in a way that doesn’t impinge on any other social networking that I may do, and vice versa. I have lots of ideas and I’ve been making a lot of plans so I hope that I can use this website to help develop them.
In the meantime, there are plenty of links to my published work, in print and online.
Susan 5 February 2016