FABRICE Muamba’s “huge smile” and his laugh are the lasting memories the “ghostwriter” of his autobiography will remember.
Chris Brereton completed the book — ‘I’m Still Standing’ —which has had rave reviews, in just 38 days. It was the first book the 30-year-old sports journalist has ever written and he was challenged to deliver it in under six weeks.
Mr Brereton said there was “no bigger sports story” and being involved was “unbeatable”.
Fabrice hit worldwide headlines in March last year when he collapsed and “died” on the pitch for 78 minutes while playing for Bolton Wanderers against Tottenham Hotspur.
The quick action of doctors saved his life, and Fabrice made an amazing recovery.
Mr Brereton, who was working for the Bangkok Post, in Thailand, when Fabrice collapsed, said being given a book with a story the size of Fabrice’s was a “surprise”.
Mr Brereton met Fabrice at Mottram Hall hotel, in Wilmslow, and they spent three hours each day talking about his life.
The rest of the day was spent writing up notes and putting the book together. Mr Brereton, who is based at Trinity Mirror Sport Media, in Liverpool, said: “Dealing with Fabrice was great. He is a really nice bloke, very intelligent, articulate, funny and he knows his mind and is self-confident.
“It is not hard to see how he managed to go from being an 11-year-old refugee from the Congo to England, to a Premier League footballer just a few years later.
“He is so focused and talented. He is one of the most dedicated sportsmen I have ever interviewed.”
Mr Brereton said the strength of Fabrice’s faith stood out, which he described as “rock solid”, his “mental strength and determination”, and his love for his wife Shauna and their young son Joshua.
He said the pair had kept in touch and he had congratulated him on the news of Shauna’s second pregnancy.
Mr Brereton added: “Inspirational is the word that has been used the most about him. He has got the world’s biggest grin and he would be telling me stories about when he was at school and would burst into laughter with a big grin. That’s the thing I will remember the most about him. ”
I’m Still Standing is published by Sport Media at £12.99.