When I started writing this blog, I could never have imagined how much of a reaction it would get. My intention was two-fold; to tell a little bit about the story of REAL football, not the glamorous stuff we see on Match of the Day, backed by millions of pounds and an image that is more sparkling than a WAG’s engagement ring, but the grassroots, coalface of football, where working class values are still part of the game.
I was also intent on cutting through the cliche’d jargon, so prevalent among our columnists and ex players, the “Game of two halves” mentality that continues to perpetuate the image of the ‘not so bright’ footballer. I wanted to give people a look inside the dressing room and inside the game, at how players, coaches and managers react to certain situations and unusual situations that can crop up on a weekly basis, that few fans are aware of. For some reason, my writing seems to have struck a chord with football fans at all levels. I had never written before, in fact, embarrassingly, I had only ever read about 20 books, almost all sporting autobiographies. But for some reason I was able to latch on to what the fans wanted to read.
Surprisingly, I’ve also found many, many players, current and former, who have been able to relate to my musings. I was very fortunate and privileged to be able to call myself a professional footballer. I played on every ground in Scotland, in every division and coached to varying degrees throughout the country, but I’m currently going through a period of great uncertainty in my football life. A life that has seen me go through varying degrees of pain and despair as well as joy and elation. Will I ever work in football again? I don’t know. But the game itself is such a horribly, addictive narcotic. When the phone rings with the offer of a coaching position, it’s almost impossible to say no. There has to be a masochistic streak in me somewhere.
But with uncertainty comes opportunity and, following on from my writing and my opinionated views on Twitter, I have received one or two offers of media work and incredibly, one or two offers from publishers, who seem to see potential in my writing, so much so that they have suggested a book. One such company is Teckle Books, a small, independent Scottish publisher and together, that book, with their support will be written. It won’t be the normal footballer type of autobiography. Conventional books from footballers are ghost written, dictated and then regurgitated to form the basis of the yarn. It will be my story, yes, but not in the normal sense. I will write it, all of it. You won’t read about what I had for breakfast, lunch and dinner but you’ll read about why I have more cortisone in my foot than a man should have in his lifetime. You won’t read about playing at the Nou Camp but you’ll read about making my debut for Stranraer in front of 119 people, a record low even for Stranraer. Nuts and bolts football laced with anecdotes, just like the blog. It won’t always make comfortable reading and some will feel uneasy digesting it, but it’s an important story to tell and hopefully one you’re looking forward to as much as I am.
I will continue doing the blog as I feel it’s still important to comment on many of the issues that are thrown up by the great game we love. Clearly, I will not be able to put one out as frequently, due to the demands of writing in between working full time, but believe me, if I feel there is an important subject that needs tackling, I will continue to give my view and the fans and football fraternity alike, an insight.
Finally it would be remiss of me not to thank the three people who have helped me most to put my blog together. Jim Burke, an old friend and serial blogger who gave me the impetus to start writing and a nudge in the right direction when I do. Paul McGeary, who whilst currently fighting his own personal leukaemia battle, still finds the time to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on my weekly scripture and Sierra Godfrey who has updated my blog page and gave me a professional service at no cost other than goodwill.
Thank you and be sure you are all part of what is turning into a new chapter.
All that needs to be said now is that I hope it turns out to be a good read for football fans and non-football fans alike.
My publishers are insisting I let you all know that ‘Journeyman; Football From The Inside’ can now be pre-ordered from http://www.tecklebooks.co.uk
All pre-orders before the release date in November 2015 will receive a signed copy and free delivery.
A final thank you to anyone who has read my blogs. You have all given me the strength and belief that I can write this book.