5 ways football could be made even better.

green street, top dog, football, ebooks, flares, pyro, soccer, NFL, EPL, screenwriting, authorIn a matter of days, English football will wake from it’s enforced slumber and return to it’s rightful position of being the most important topic of conversation in the land. Forget royal babies, Big Brother, the Tour De France, the economy, Syria or any of the numerous trivialities we’ve been forced to think about over the last few months, the worlds greatest game is what it’s really all about.

Now as I do each and every year, I have avoided the constant stream of bullshit which has surrounded the close-season transfer market so that when I walk into Vicarage Road next saturday to watch the first home pre-season friendly -traditionally the start of my season- it will be as if it’s all fresh and new. Although given everything that’s been going on at Watford lately, in this instance it actually will be!

However, I have kept my beady eyes on everything else and not for the first time, have noticed that there has been little news of any change which might impact on the role of possibly the games greatest asset, the fans.

This is far from a shock of course because I’ve been around long enough to know that whilst the game is totally reliant on us for pretty much everything and TV is busy selling the game on the back of the atmosphere that we create, the reality is that it doesn’t really give a shit about us.

But then again it doesn’t have to because we’re obsessed. The game knows full well that we’ll turn up week in, week out and pour money into the tills no matter how good or bad the product. Just as importantly, even when things go horribly wrong we have to put up with them because we are totally impotent in terms of either power or influence. We have no legitimate voice, football doesn’t want us to have a voice! Perish the thought that the game which is wholly reliant on us would actually listen to us let alone care about what we think! Football is after all, the only industry not driven by its consumers.

If it wasn’t, do you think for one second games that would be moved around on the whim of a copper or a TV scheduler with no thought for how fans are going to get home? And that’s just the start.

The list of things we can legally do inside grounds grows ever shorter whilst the restrictions placed upon us in and around grounds get more draconian by the season. As a consequence the passion, humour and even the shear excitement of being at football is diminishing year on year yet no one with the power to change things seems to care because no one with the power to change things has to care.

Can you honestly say that going to watch English football these days is the occasion it once was? Do you not look at fans in Italy, Spain, Russia, Germany, Turkey even countries like Greece and wish that our stadia were like that on match days? I bloody do. Every single week.

The irony is that it wouldn’t take much to get our game up to a par, if not beyond what we see in the rest of Europe. After all, there is nothing like an English football ground when it’s fired up. The question is, how?

Well how about this for starters:

  1. Start treating fans like adults instead of sheep. We don’t want much from football, but we do want to be treated with respect. Hooliganism inside grounds is a thing of the past and much of that is down to the actual fans themselves so how about the game not only recognising it but rewarding it? Stop hiding behind the fear of it.
  2. Bring back standing. It’s proven to work in Germany and there is absolutely no reason why it wouldn’t and shouldn’t work here. But the most important reason is that we want it. Period.
  3. Scrap designated seating. It’s a good idea in principle but in practice it’s the single biggest factor in the destruction of atmosphere inside our grounds. That is a cast iron fact.
  4. Allow flares inside grounds. They look astonishing and contribute to the sense of  occasion. When used correctly they are perfectly safe as we see right across the continent  every single week. Again, you can’t continue to hide behind the past and in truth you don’t need to.
  5. Allow drinking on the terraces. Yes, keep the rules regarding being hammered and enforce them accordingly but we’re adults for fucks sake.

Sadly, none of the above will happen because the game cannot see what is happening in front of its face and more importantly, the police are wary of giving up any degree of control however small.

But it’s nice to dream and maybe one day, when the football party come to power, some of it will actually turn to reality.

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football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritance, premiership, england, watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green streetCouple of bits of news; As you may or may not have seen,Martin Kemp has been announced as the director of Top Dog which is brilliant news for all concerned not least because he’s a bloody good director!

We’ve been battering the script into shape and I’m happy to say that it’s now pretty much locked and ready for filming in November. I can’t wait!

In addition, my latest novel Wings of a Sparrow continues to attract great reviews and is selling so well that we’ll be bringing it out in paperback later this year. It’s also coming out in Russia in August and I’ll be visiting St. Petersburg and possibly Moscow in September to do some PR.

Wings, together with The Crew and Top Dog will also be making their way across the Atlantic later this year but more of that closer the time.

On top of that, I’m about to start work on another movie and am currently writing a new book. It’s going to be something very special and as far as I know, has never actually been done before so we’re all very excited about it but that’s all you’re getting for now.

Watch this space!

 

top dog, green street, the crew. hooligans, violence, sex, racism, self-publishing, author, screenwriting, writing, writer

 

The rise of Udinese B – part 2

udinese, watford, zola, pozzo, football, soccer, Serie A, hooligans, A few months ago I wrote a couple of blogs about the loan situation at Watford and the fact that it was causing so much angst to so many.

Now, as the new season approaches with what feels like snail speed, I feel compelled to revisit the issue. Not to explain or justify what’s going on because the reality is, no rules have been broken and no one at my beloved club really gives a shit what anyone else thinks anyway, but to explore the other issue thrown up here.

Within the last 24 hours I’ve seen people accuse Watford of being everything from simple cheats to the manifestation of all that’s wrong with English football (try telling that to Coventry fans) yet every single comment I’ve read is underpinned with the same thing. The same thing in fact, which came to the fore when Abramovich took over at Chelsea, the Arabs took over at City and even when Jack Walker brought the championship for Blackburn. It’s called envy.

If the owners of Juventus, Barcelona or Real Madrid came in and made it clear that they wanted to buy into an English championship club do you honestly think there isn’t a fan in the land who wouldn’t bite their hands off? Of course there isn’t. Because they know that any such investment would only make their club better. And that’s what all football fans want.

The irony is of course that what’s happening at Watford is actually the perfect model for football because thanks to the Pozzo family, we have no debt and access to a fabulous pool of players. That’s certainly good for us as it brings stability and has to be good for the English game as it can only improve the quality of players coming through. And yes, we are still bringing players through, bloody good ones as well.

Sadly, not that many outside of Watford see it like that and to be honest, the reaction from certain sections of the game reinforces my long held belief that this whole ‘family of football’ thing is total bollocks.

After all, if you’re going to support clubs who are in the shit then surely you have to applaud clubs who drag themselves up and improve.

Yet I see no real evidence of the game as a whole doing that, quite the opposite in fact, and that’s envy. Pure and simple.

Come on you Horns!

 

self publishing, watford, zola, football, soccer, top dog, green streetCouple of bits of news; As you may or may not have seen, Martin Kemp has been announced as the director of Top Dog which is brilliant news for all concerned not least because he’s a bloody good director!

We’ve been battering the script into shape and I’m happy to say that it’s now pretty much locked and ready for filming in November. I can’t wait!

In addition, my latest novel Wings of a Sparrow continues to attract great reviews and is selling so well that we’ll be bringing it out in paperback later this year. It’s also coming out in Russia in August and I’ll be visiting St. Petersburg and possibly Moscow in September to do some promotion!

On top of that, I’m working on a new book. It’s something very exciting which I don’t actually think has been done before but that’s all you’re getting for now.

Watch this space! 😉

Martin Kemp to direct Top Dog!

British film, gangster, ebook, self publishing, top dog, green street, screenwriting, the crew, leo gregory, Martin KempJust a very brief post to inform all those who keep asking that Martin Kemp, best known for being pretty much everything from Spandau Ballet legend to star of The Krays will direct the forthcoming big screen adaptation of Top Dog.

I won’t go into the details as they can be found via the link below but suffice to say, I’ve been working with Martin for a while now and it’s been both a real pleasure and a great learning experience.

More details of the project will be released as and when they can but in the meantime you can read pretty much everything here at  The Hollywood Reporter

Happy days!

PS: This is not what I was referring to in my previous blog! That’s something else entirely! 😉

Today I have been brilliant. Tomorrow, maybe not.

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritance, premiership, england, watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green streetI am by nature, staggeringly lazy. Yes, I know the evidence provided by my catalogue of work might suggest otherwise but the fact of the matter is that I am not one of those people who are driven to write, desperate to write or who have something they simply have to say so will labour long into pretty much every night in the hope of setting the world to rights. Indeed, I know this will upset some people but I’ve never really understood all that sort of nonsense. But then again, I’ve never really considered myself to be part of the literary world and to be fair, that’s reciprocated.

However, I digress. You see for me the joy of being a writer with 17 years worth of work sitting on Amazon (and iTunes and all decent online retailers) is that it allows me what I term ‘thinking time’. As a result I can usually be found either with my feet up watching TV, tinkering in my garage, riding my motorbike or, as has been the case these last few days, rediscovering the phenomenal talent that is Bjork via the awesomeness that is YouTube (and if you happen to be a fan you really should search out the 1997 concert at the Shepherds Bush Empire. One hour sixteen minutes of pure genius).

When I do write however, I write fast. According to certain people, blisteringly so. I also write for long periods, sometimes up to 20 hours a day. Indeed, if Red Bull are ever looking for a new sponsorship opportunity, I’d be only too willing to listen to offers if only if it’s of a few free cans!

More often than not, such instances are fuelled by a deadline induced panic but occasionally, they are driven by the excitement you get when a storyline or a scene is working exactly as it should. Once in a while however, it is driven by something else. Something called brilliance!

I had such an occurrence only this morning for after a restless night I awoke with my head full of a brainwave. Indeed, so amazing an idea is it that by midday I had cleared it with everyone involved and it’s now a goer.

I can’t say what it is other than it is related to Top Dog but rest assured, when it rolls out I’ll make sure everyone knows because I’m not actually sure anything like this has ever been done before. But that seems to be standard for this entire project which is becoming more exciting to be involved with by the day.

On the subject of which, the script is now finalised and both filming and release dates set. We also have our director signed and their name will be released over the next day or so. Now that is going to make people sit up and take notice!

Could I add one thing though, as yet we are not casting anything but the major roles so please do not bombard anyone with information or questions as they will almost certainly go unanswered. When we’re ready, details will be announced via twitter (@TopDogMovie), Facebook or this blog as well as the usual routes so please make sure you keep an eye out.

As they say, watch this space.

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritance, premiership, england, watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green street

I’ve just proof read the draft of the paperback edition of Wings of a Sparrow which I am informed will hit the bookshelves in October.

It looks absolutely brilliant and given that we’ll be flat out on the movie at that time, I have a funny feeling that the latter part of this year is going to be slightly crazy!

One final thing, I’ve been receiving lots of mails about The Art of Fart recently all of which have been complimentary. Could I please repeat my request that if you enjoy a book, you take the time to leave a review. It really does help for all sorts of reasons not least that it spreads the word. And nothing sells books like word of mouth!