Author confronted during book signing

THE genteel tranquillity of a book signing in Aldeburgh was shattered when author Brian Scovell came face to face with a livid relative of the Cobbold family he had written about.

THE genteel tranquillity of a book signing in Aldeburgh was shattered when author Brian Scovell came face to face with a livid relative of the Cobbold family he had written about.

David Paul, a nephew of former Blues chairmen John and Patrick Cobbold and a descendent of captain John Murray Cobbold who turned Ipswich Town professional, expressed his anger at Mr Scovell for writing the book.

Mr Paul was angry and upset with how his relatives were portrayed in the book Football Gentry: The Cobbolds - in particular his late brother, Ivan Paul.

The Suffolk farmer was not happy that Mr Scovell had not contacted him for consultation or permission regarding the book.

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After venting his spleen in front of a number of bemused customers, Mr Paul was asked by the owner of the shop John James to go outside with Mr Scovell if he wanted to carry on the discussion.

Mr Paul left and later explained he had only gone to the shop after previous attempts to contact Mr Scovell failed.

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He said: “I tried contacting Brian through the publishers but they would not give me his e-mail address or phone number so the only option I had was to go and see him. When I heard he was at the Aldeburgh bookshop I went and put my view across.

“I feel I did it in a gentlemanly way and the owner was quite amused by it.

“I said my piece and it was a weight off my shoulders because it had been stewing up a bit. There is no way I wanted to offend anyone but I feel I'm entitled to my opinion, especially when it is my family.”

Mr Scovell was surprised to be confronted by Mr Paul at the signing session but played down the incident.

He said: “He was the second person in the queue and introduced himself and said 'you have written about my brother and me unfairly' in front of all the customers.

“I said it was the history of the family and you cannot ignore things that have happened in any family. I said: 'I'm sorry if you are aggrieved about it'.

“I didn't invent all these things. It was only two lines.

“The manager of the bookshop handled it very well and said 'Excuse me, this is private property would you like to go?'

“He then carried on a bit and said it was unfair criticism of his brother and him. Eventually he left.

“In the end it turned out to be a laugh. One of the customers was a lawyer and said he would represent me in the case.”

Mr James, owner of Aldeburgh Bookshop, said: “One of the problems with English law is you cannot libel somebody who is dead and it maybe that he felt that his ancestors were being libelled.

“Therefore he felt strongly about it. He remonstrated with the author; that is what he was entitled to do. They had words of disagreement - that was about it. There was no big fuss and no problems to us.

“They had an exchange of views which is what a bookshop is all about.”

Mr Paul's ire was stoked after reading a serialisation of the book in the EADT.

He said: “Brian should have contacted me. I also have two sisters who were not contacted and they are very upset.

“I'm very angry about it and I told him that.''

In the book it was suggested that Patrick, who died in the bath, was affected by Ivan Paul's plans to remove the board.

David Paul said: “My brother Ivan was very dear to me and to read the insinuation that he may have been responsible for Patrick's death in some way was very upsetting and hurtful.''

Other aspects of the biography that Mr Paul was displeased with was the constant reference to the brothers' penchant for a glass of wine and he feels the family would have preferred to stay discreet about their lives.

He said: “The amount of time alcohol is brought up was a bit much. It was part of their charm but I don't believe people want to read about that all the time.

“Some of the stories about Johnny in particular are very funny but I still feel they would not have wanted them published.

“There are darker sides written about and they have upset me, and my family.

“Patrick and Johnny may have been perceived as these millionaires, which they weren't, who were jovial and enjoyed a drink, but they were also very private people. So I'm 100% sure they would not have wanted a book written about them.

“My grandmother Lady Blanche would certainly not have approved.”

Mr Paul, a season ticket holder at Portman Road, is fiercely protective and proud of the family and its involvement in Town's history.

He added: “I'm very proud of what the Cobbolds did. Without them there would not have been a football club.”

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