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Match Fixer sells out 7,000 copies in two week

All 7,000 copies of the book were sold out within two weeks of the launch. -myp

Fri, Feb 12, 2010
my paper

BY CHIA HAN KEONG

A FICTIONAL tale about football gambling and match-fixing seems to have struck a chord with Singaporeans.

Match Fixer by Neil Humphreys, who has written several bestsellers, such as Notes From An Even Smaller Island, has been doing brisk business since it was launched here on Jan 9.

All 7,000 copies of the book were sold out within two weeks of the launch, according to Mr Chris Newson, general manager of the book's publisher, Marshall Cavendish.

He said: "We reprinted another 5,000 copies for Asia and 3,000 for Britain. We have just started getting copies for the Malaysian and Thai markets, and we'll have a May launch in Australia."

The book is also making waves in football-mad Britain.

After its British launch on Jan 30, it has attracted the interest of the BBC, who interviewed the London-born author, who spent 10 years in Singapore and worked as a sports journalist here, making it the first time a work of fiction set in Singapore has made it to the network's programmes.

"Their interviewers have been far too complimentary. It's most humbling," Humphreys said.

"They all want to know one thing: Do I know which games are fixed" If I knew that, I'd be a rich man or in prison. They are surprised at how many games have been fixed in Asia in recent years."

Humphreys had a memorable London book launch at a bookstore just around the corner from Upton Park, the home ground of his boyhood football club, West Ham United.

"I'm gobsmacked, really," he said. "The readers seem to be enjoying that controversial side of the book."

"Everyone knows illegal football gambling and match-fixing is a real issue. Let's chat about it openly and tackle it. I've put my neck on the block. If I keep going around the world talking about illegal gambling operations, my next book will be called Notes From An Even Smaller Hospital Bed."

hankeong@sph.com.sg


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