Know The Score books calls in administrator

By Anton Rippon
Know The Score Books, the Warwickshire-based independent sports publisher that was founded in 2005, has gone into administration, leaving journalists unpaid for work done on books that may not now ever see the light of day.

Know The Score’s authors have included high-profile sports writers such as Harry Harris, Ivan Ponting, former Telegraph staffer Christopher Davies and radio broadcaster John Anderson, and their list includes the acclaimed ghosted biography of football manager Dave Jones and one title published in co-operation with the Football Writers’ Association.

But the company went into administration on April 19 with several titles due to be published imminently.

Despite the company’s difficulties, Know The Score’s website was still soliciting submissions from authors in the sport, travel and humour genres today. The site made no mention that the company had gone into administration.

It is the the second sports publisher to have gone into administration in the past six months.

Since Know The Score generally did not pay authors any advances on future royalties, its seems that some journalists will have done considerable work for no pay, and their books will not be published unless another publisher steps in.

Freelance Neil Clack should have seen his Animals! Argentina versus England in the bookshops on April 2. He told “This is my first book and it’s obviously frustrating as it was aimed at coming out before the World Cup.

“The administrator tells me that there’s still hope if he can find someone to take over the company, or, failing that, he’ll see if any other company is interested in publishing any of the new titles separately. It’s a race against time, though.”

Sports writer David Tossell, the head of European Public Affairs for the NFL and whose KTS-published Grovel! The Story and Legacy of the Summer of 1976 was runner-up in the Best Cricket Book category in the 2007 British Sports Book Awards, expected to see his Following On: A Year with English Cricket’s Golden Boys, published by Know The Score on May 5. Now he too is looking for another publisher.

Another casualty is Rainbows for Goalposts: Searching for the Heart of South African Football by Richard Stone, brother-in-law of an ANC politician who is sports minister for the Western Cape. Stone’s book was due to be published by Know The Score on April 7.

Simon Lowe, Know The Score’s managing director, told that he was unable comment at present but then blamed some of the company’s troubles on sports journalists themselves: “We have three outstanding legal cases against authors ” two sports journos and one former player and manager ” who owed us money but refused to pay. I do not know the status of these right now and what I can say about how they contributed to our grave problems.”

Last year, Know The Score won a verdict from the Press Complaints Commission when it claimed that an article in Scotland on Sunday, based on Wark On, the autobiography of former Ipswich and Scotland player John Wark, had presented the information contained within the book in an inaccurate and misleading manner. The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published a correction.

Know The Score follows the Derby-based Breedon Books, which called in the administrator in November, although there most authors apparently did not lose out. A new company, Derby Books Publishing, with the same directors and trading from the same address, was set up and bought the assets of the old company, although it took on hardly any of its debts. Breedon-contracted authors who agreed to move over had their royalties guaranteed.

Both Know The Score and Breedon seem to have suffered from the general decline in their industry while at the same time trying to punch above their weight. Debts eventually caught up with them and their plights give further weight to the carefully managed self-publishing approach of authors like SJA member Norman Giller. Small, it seems, really is becoming beautiful.

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