Jilly Cooper reveals Sir Alex Ferguson inspired her new book

‘Queen of bonkbusters’ Jilly Cooper reveals details of her new book ‘Tackle’ – and how a long lunch with Sir Alex Ferguson was the unlikely inspiration

  • Esteemed romance novelist Jilly Cooper has launched a football-focused novel 
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Jilly Cooper has revealed the unlikely inspiration behind her latest novel Tackle – football legend Sir Alex Ferguson.

Following the release of her latest novel, ITV ‘s This Morning hosts Rochelle Humes and Craig Doyle, invited the esteemed British non-fiction author, 86, onto the show today.

Jilly, also known as the ‘queen of bonkbusters’, given her success as a raunchy romance novelist, has sold 11 million copies of her steamy books in the UK alone, and even has the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, hooked as a fan.

But in her latest release, Jilly stepped out of her comfort zone and entered the world of football.

And it was a long lunch with Sir Alex Ferguson that inspired the move, with Jilly describing the legendary Manchester United boss as ‘divine’.

British author Jilly Cooper (pictured) revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson inspired her latest novel, Tackle 

Tackle follows a handsome Rupert Campbell-Black, an ultra-wealthy racehorse owner and trainer whose wife has just been diagnosed with cancer.

His daughter, longing to come home to be by her mother’s side, asks her father to purchase a football club in the local area so her footballer boyfriend can move home with her.

Following orders, Rupert becomes the new Chairman of a fictional football club and attempts to bring about the club’s success while dealing with the glamorous WAGS that come with the job.

Jilly, who had worked at a local newspaper as a youngster, would visit Brentford football stadium and report on football games each Saturday.

But except for that experience, the 86-year-old had little passion for the game – until she had lunch with football icon Sir Alex Ferguson.

Wearing a football jersey in the colours of the fictional team in Tackle, Jilly said: ‘I went out to lunch, and I sat next to Sir Alex Ferguson, and he’s divine. I mean he’s so lovely.

After a few alcoholic beverages, conversation flowerd and she added: ‘It was a long lunch. We chatted and chatted and chatted and it was so funny, we had such giggles.

‘I told him a naughty joke, and he got out his diary and wrote it down because he wanted to use it later. Afterwards, I decided to write a novel about football.’

According to Jilly, she enjoyed a long lunch with Sir Alex Ferguson (pictured), and he allegedly noted down one of her jokes so he could reuse it 

Tackle (pictured) follows a handsome man taking on the world of football as the chairman of a club 

While the Sunday Times bestseller has taken on the realm of ‘flirtatious footballers’, she warned fans not to expect too many steamy scenes.

She said: ‘I write about what’s going on in my life; I’m 86 now you see, and obviously I don’t do that kind of steamy stuff, so it’s more difficult to write about.

‘So, I think there’s less sex in Tackle.’

Nonetheless, presenter Craig who had a glimpse at the new novel joked: ‘I read a few chapters; your memory is good Jilly.’

It comes after Rishi Sunak confirmed he is a big fan of Jilly Cooper’s steamy novels of upper-class sex and debauchery – saying they help him chill out.

Rishi Sunak confirmed he is a big fan of Jilly Cooper’s steamy ‘bonkbuster’ novels of upper-class sex and debauchery – saying they help him chill out

The Prime Minister cited her classic stories including Riders, Polo and The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous as among his favourites during a This Morning interview earlier this year, saying he was a ‘genuine fan’.

Riders is set in the Cotswolds and billed as offering ‘an intoxicating blend of skullduggery, swooning romance, sexual adventure and hilarious high jinks’.

Put on the spot over whether he is a fan by presenter Alison Hammond, he said: ‘Yes that is true. I’m unclear how that has emerged.

‘Riders, Rivals, Polo, The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous… I’m a genuine fan.

‘She has done lots of different books. That is the set of books I like, those ones.’

He added: ‘They are good – you need to have escapism in your life and that is a good thing. You need to be able to get away from the day to day… whether it is books or TV, that’s a good thing.’

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