Fred Trueman The Authorised Biography
'Fred Trueman was the first superstar of the game. He was a flamboyant, larger-than-life character' Ian Botham. Fred Trueman was so much more than a cricketing legend. 'The greatest living Yorkshireman' according to Prime Minister Harold Wilson, he couldn't help excelling at everything he did, whether it was as a hostile fast bowler for Yorkshire and England, and the first man to take 300 Test wickets in a career, or as a fearlessly outspoken radio summariser for Test Match Special. He was famous for regularly spluttering that 'I don't know what's going off out there', as well as for the level of swearing he managed to incorporate into everyday speech. Beloved of cricket crowds who filled grounds to witness his belligerent way of playing the game, and nothing but trouble to the cricket authorities, 'Fiery Fred' was the epitome of a full-blooded Englishman. But as Chris Waters reveals in this first full biography, behind the charismatic, exuberant mask lay a far less...
something of a family trait. Although the Truemans faced significant hardship beside Maltby pit, they were not as poor as some British families. Unemployment was rife in the 1930s, with street corners littered with jobless men. When Fred Trueman was two, unemployment soared to 2.5 million – some twenty-five per cent of the workforce – and queuing at soup kitchens was a way of life. Northern England bore the brunt of the depression, with coal, steel and shipbuilding heavily hit. The Truemans
and fellow cricket writers Brian Halford, Paul Edwards and Bruce Talbot, who cast perspicacious eyes over the manuscript, as well as the assistance of another friend, Peter Wynne-Thomas, the venerable Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club librarian. A constant source of support during my previous life as Nottingham Evening Post cricket correspondent, Peter diligently checked for factual errors. Stephen Chalke was also a perceptive sounding board in the project’s early stages. I have made much use
much indeed. But, er, I remember an incident where Tom Graveney caught a ball at slip, the last ball before lunch, at Trinidad, in the Test match. And the umpire, Ellis Achong, said ‘not out’ off Denis Compton, who was bowling his chinamen and googlies. And with that, Tom Graveney picked the ball up and slammed the ball into the floor and walked off. And only three nights later, at a cocktail party, an official one we had to go to as MCC players, somebody said, at that party, that they thought it
luckiest man in the whole of Yorkshire that day because Arthur is a hard man and very strong from working in the pit and proud of his younger brother, and it would not have surprised me if he had struck him there and then. I managed to smooth things over. If he had said that a few years before I would probably have thumped him myself, but by then I was the senior professional and had to try to set an example.’ However, Richard Hutton says Trueman was scared stiff of Sellers. ‘In spite of all his
didn’t have any more trouble from those Germans.’ Trueman’s cricketing career did not end there. He played several games for MCC against public schools – occasions that brought out the best in him as he sought to show the ‘f***ing jazz hats’ a thing or two. He represented Saints Cricket Club (founded by ex-Army officer and Yorkshire committee member Desmond Bailey), which featured ex-professionals who played against schools in northern England. In late 1980, Trueman even set up his own team –