An autobiography dealing with the thrills and spills of Hertfordshire-born Mark Halsey's career was runner-up at the British Sports Book Awards.

Halsey's book Added Time was ghosted by St.Albans author Ian Ridley and has a foreword by Jose Mourinho.

He was the longest serving full-time professional referee in the English game until his retirement a year ago - including 14 years in the Premier League.

The book charts the story of his life growing up in Hertfordshire, including a spell as goalkeeper for St Albans City, rising through the refereeing ranks as he blows the whistle on some of the biggest figures in football, from altercations from Alex Ferguson to earfuls from Wayne Rooney.

He lost out to American tennis legend Jimmy Connors at the glitzy ceremony at Lord's Cricket Ground. Connor's book The Outsider was Autobiography of the Year.

But judges praised Halsey's work for it's "searing honesty" and said "anyone who goes to football should read this book."

Added Time also documents his battle with throat cancer and how he returned to referee at the top level against the odds after gruelling treatment, only to then face another struggle - this time with Premier League chiefs to get his book published.

He did see off competition from the likes of Olympic rowing champion Katherine Grainger, former Arsenal star Dennis Bergkamp, former England cricketer Andrew Strauss and snooker ace Ronnie O'Sullivan. Other guests at the bash included Andy Murray's mum Judy and cricket legend Geoffrey Boycott.

Mark says: "When I arrived at Lords I was actually nervous and in awe of some of the people there! We may not have won but to finish runner-up to someone like Jimmy Connors is no mean feat. 

"It was also lovely to hear the judges' praise for it and get recognition for the struggle we faced, not only writing the book but getting it published." 
Mark and Ridley will be talking about Added Time on the eve of the World Cup at Flamstead Book Festival on Saturday, June 7. Details: