Ian Ladyman

Daily Mail

Manchester United’s decision not to re-integrate Mason Greenwood back in to their first team squad after charges of attempted rape, assault and coercive behaviour were dropped was one of the sports stories of the year. Here Ian Ladyman delves deep in to Greenwood’s back story, unearthing previously unknown details of just how and why a young footballer’s career nosedived against a background of personal and psychological complexities. Informed by impeccable first-hand sources both inside the football club and close to Greenwood, Ladyman challenges the reader to not only ask whether the player is worthy of a second chance in the professional game but also whether he is emotionally capable of taking one. This is a story of a young man who is revealed to be incapable of handling and processing the level of professional and personal responsibility that comes with life in elite sport.

Ladyman’s ability to unpick the fine details of the football world is also showcased well by his profile of Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy. One of the most powerful figures in the Premier League, Levy hardly ever speaks publicly and carries a reputation for intense privacy and indeed obsessive parsimony when it comes to the running of his football club. In this tightly but fascinatingly written piece, Ladyman presents Levy to the reader as a much more multi-dimensional figure than his public profile suggests. Meanwhile, interviews with world class footballers remain one of the most sought-after properties in the business. Here Ladyman managed to sit down with Manchester City and England winger Jack Grealish as he bore down on a treble success of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League last season. In a wide-ranging and in-depth conversation, Grealish tells Ladyman of the challenges he faces trying to live the clean life of a professional athlete, the self-doubt he suffered when first moving to City from Aston Villa and how he has transitioned from a player who felt compelled to pass the ball to his more famous team-mates to a sportsman now well-known enough to be an ambassador for the Gucci fashion house.