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BOOK: The Rainbow Player breaks new ground

New book shines spotlight on sexuality issues within football

17 September 2018

One player’s highly successful career as a Premiership footballer could come crashing down if his secret is revealed, in this timely first novel.

'There is no Gay. There is no Straight. There is only Love’ 

Sammy Hatchington’s life is the envy of many. Having escaped a deprived estate and an abusive father, he’s now one of England’s leading footballers. Underneath, though, Sammy is still the book-loving teenager, happiest with his head in a novel or spending time with the friends who saved him from what he could have become.

But the dream that became a reality may soon be over, as Sammy must make a decision that could destroy everything he has fought for, creating a furious media frenzy in the process.

The Rainbow Player is a witty and engaging novel about a footballer who, after several girlfriends, falls in love with a man and subsequently has to hide his new-found sexuality from the fans and the media.

Author, David Kerby-Kendall, delivers a pertinent, pithy and vivid narrative in which his affable protagonist reflects on his teenage years and rise to sporting fame. Sammy charts his successes, his abject failures and the burgeoning sexuality within him, always with his signature smiling optimism. 

The Rainbow Player is a coming-of-age novel dealing with all aspects of Sammy’s life (and has, in initial reviews, received high praise from sports and non-sports fans alike). However, it also shines a spotlight on the issues surrounding homosexuality in football.

With no openly gay professional footballers in the UK (and only two in the world), Kerby-Kendall hopes to encourage dialogue, bravery and tolerance amongst the fans and general public. As David said in an interview for BBC Radio’s Sportshour, “It’s always the 5% at either end of the extremes of society who shout the loudest. If the fair-minded 90% of us in the middle spoke up for once, we’d have a far more tolerant world”.

The Rainbow Player is a funny, moving story about the human being behind the icon and it challenges deep-rooted preconceptions about professional footballers and sexuality in sport. 

About the author: David is a writer and an actor. He began writing in 2007 and has had fourteen plays produced, including adaptations of four David Walliams novels (Mr Stink, Ratburger, Billionaire Boy and The Midnight Gang).

His adaptations of The Midnight Gang and Pride And Prejudice are currently on national tours, and his new independent play, 20:40 (dealing with depression and male suicide), in which he will also be acting, is in pre-production prior to an Off West End run.

The Rainbow Player is his first novel. It is published by Whiteley Publishing and is available on Amazon and in bookshops. For more information, please visit or email David at For a review copy, please contact Whiteley Publishing at

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