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Peter Legend - My Story

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Peter Legend - My Story

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“Are you really trying to tell me you haven’t heard of Peter Legend?” asked Peter Legend, incredulously.

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“Are you really trying to tell me you haven’t heard of Peter Legend?” asked Peter Legend, incredulously.

By Peter Legend with Graham Fowles

"Are you really trying to tell me you haven’t heard of Peter Legend?” asked Peter Legend, incredulously.

I had to admit that I hadn’t. And I like to think I know a bit about cricket.

Three of us had travelled down to Budmouth to take a brief from Peter personally. He wanted to see what a big London agency could do for his chain of estate agents. However, when our art director asked Peter if it was intentional that his company’s logo should look like a set of cricket stumps, he wasn’t amused. He made it clear that his achievements in the game were not insignificant, and that he was about to start work on his autobiography. He also made it clear that we’d blown the meeting.

Nonetheless, the whole episode got me thinking. How had a player I’d never even heard of won a Test cap? So I started doing some research into Peter’s Wessex side of the mid-eighties. Other names sounded more familiar: Herb Brunton, Andy Farrow, the Musgrove brothers. I was intrigued. So, I decided to give him a call.

“Peter,” I said a little nervously, “you don’t need a ghost-writer, do you?”

Author Bio

Graham Fowles had the fortune to meet Peter when working for the advertising agency that pitched unsuccessfully for the Legend Estate Services account. His previously published cricket writing amounts to a pair of contributions to the Guardian’s over-by-over coverage: one offering a theory of the heavy ball, the other in defence of Michael Vaughan’s hair.

Extract

Before I started working on this book, I asked myself who’d want to read about Peter Legend after all these years? But then I thought to myself not everyone has played first-class cricket at the highest level. And not everyone can say that they were Wessex CC player of the season. Twice. And even fewer can say that they made it to the very pinnacle of the sport and represented their country. And nobody else can say that they saved the blushes of a nation at the Carisbrook in 1993. And so I thought to myself, this is a story worth telling.

When my typist first came down from London he brought with him this huge bag of books. He had everything in there from way back like your Brian Close and Dennis Amiss; he’d got the people you’d expect like Botham and Gower; and then he’d got all the recent titles like the ones from Strauss, Vaughan, Trescothick and so on. He hadn’t just stuck to cricket – there was even stuff like the Tony Adams one. There were more books in that bag than I could count – I’d literally never seen so many in the same place at the same time before. And I hadn’t read any of them.

He’d even got the one by Ronnie Irani, which he said was very instructive. I said to him, “Ronnie fucking Irani” (no offence Ronnie mate if you’re reading this), “but I think what this demonstrates is that I’m going to do the talking and you’re going to stick to the typing.”

I’d be surprised, for example, if Kevin Pietersen’s book doesn’t reveal a thoroughly decent, likeable guy behind the public persona. He should be getting better advice if it doesn’t. But once again, I haven’t read it. If I was going to tell my story, I was going to do it my way. So I made a point of never so much as opening the cover of one of those other books. I didn’t want to know how they’d gone about telling their stories, because this book was going to be about me – my story.

I’m going to go right back to the beginning, starting before I’d made a name for myself, when I was growing up as a kid in and around Whetstock. I’m going to tell you about my family and my time at school. I’m going to tell you how I developed my game at Emminster Cricket Club. And from there, how my journey took me to Canberra Park at Budmouth, and then on to the England team. But more than anything this book is going to lift the lid on what the professional game was really like in the eighties and early nineties. I’m going to tell the story warts and all, and I’m not going to be pulling any punches, especially when it comes to the way I was eventually treated by the England set-up.