Tag Archives: football

Never mind FIFA, Theresa May’s the wrong ‘un when it comes to Poppygate.

remembrance sunday,poppy,football,fifa,faLike many people, I’ve been somewhat irritated today by the news that FIFA, that most honourable of institutions, has refused permission for the teams to display Poppies on their shirts during the World Cup Qualifier at Wembley on Armistice Day.

Inevitably, a sizeable chunk of the nation went ballistic at this news whilst the British press, another honourable institution, have been almost rabid in their condemnation of football’s governing body. And to be fair, I had my say as well.

However, as the day has gone on I have mellowed somewhat on the subject of Poppygate and to be fair to FIFA, I have actually been able to see their point. After all, we are brought up with the poppy and understand exactly what it represents but not everyone overseas is familiar with it as anyone who has ever spent Nov 11th in either America or Russia (for example) will know only too well. 

Therefore it is not unreasonable to assume that whoever received the request from the FA simply responded as they would to the potential use of any symbol (OK, I’m being generous but let’s be honest, someone screwed up somewhere). It’s also not unreasonable to assume that inevitably, some kind of compromise will be reached and that this most special and poignant of days will be suitably marked. As of course, it must be.

The result of course, is that Poppygate will simply fade into the background and become yet another non-story of the kind which the British press are prone to create these days in a desperate effort to deflect attention away from something else.

But, there was one comment today which really got my goat and as the day has gone on, I have become more and more angry about it. It was made by Theresa May during Prime Ministers Questions today and was this:

poppygate,poppy,FIFA,football

Now I am a big fan of our PM but in this instance she is out of order. Bang out of order in fact. Because to use a phrase from the good book, ‘let those without sin cast the first stone.’

If we didn’t have veterans living on the streets, if we didn’t have veterans committing suicide because their mental health issues aren’t being addressed, if we didn’t have veterans scrabbling around for help from the NHS and if we didn’t have a Marine languishing in prison after being unjustly convicted of murder, then she would have a right to say what she did. But we do, so she doesn’t.

So here’s a message for Ms May from one veteran speaking on behalf of many veterans: If you’re going to tell someone to get their own house in order, especially when it’s made in the context of the military and veteran community, make sure that yours is squeaky clean first. Because I’ve got news for you, you have some serious tidying up to do before the UK is going to pass that particular inspection. 

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordJust in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

screenwriting, author, ebooks, kindle, green street, writing

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Sorry, but The London Stadium is not fit for purpose.

west ham,watford,hooligan,hooliganismMuch has already been made about the trouble which took place inside the London Stadium at the West Ham versus Watford game yesterday. However, to those of us who attended games the game, as I did as one of the visiting support, it was hardly a surprise. For it is fairly clear that whilst this is an amazing venue, it simply does not yet work as a football stadium.

Leaving aside the fact that the lower tier is so shallow that it almost demands you stand to see anything (totally illegally of course) the segregation is almost laughable with the two sets of fans being barely a decent right-hander apart. 

However, there is a more fundamental problem and it one which will have to be addressed sooner rather than later. It is the thorny issue of stewarding. Not just inside the stadium, but outside.

At the risk of causing offence to anyone -and if I do, I apologise, but someone is going to have to say this- putting a dayglo vest on someone with only rudimentary English language skills does not make for an effective steward. More worryingly, if they have no experience of English football let alone dealing with aggressive fans, it makes them a liability because it can cause more problems than it solves. Just as importantly, it can place them in direct danger. More so when there are no police around to back them up.

As visiting fans, we saw the consequences of this inside the stadium yesterday but the truth is, they were exacerbated by some of the things which went on outside before the game. Indeed, the close proximity of the Westfield shopping centre, coupled with the lack of places to drink beforehand, is a recipe for disaster. More so when you have security staff walking around sticking camera’s in peoples faces as they did to us yesterday. Understandable if we were being a problem but not when you’re sitting outside a bar quietly drinking a coke.

That might be a small thing to some but the overt way it was done coupled with the arrogant attitude of those doing the filming pissed off an awful lot of people and this wasn’t the only incident of its type we heard about. The worry being that if the London Stadium witnesses these types of problems when a club such as Watford are visiting, what is it going to be like when clubs such as Chelsea or Spurs are the visitors? The consequences were it to kick off inside the mall don’t even bare thinking about.

I am not for one second trying to defend those who cause trouble because ultimately, they are to blame for what they get up to. Nor am I pointing a finger at West Ham fans, the majority of whom are amongst the best and most passionate in the country. However, the responsibility for the safety of all supporters in and around a home stadium is entirely a matter for the owners and it is one which, in the case of The London Stadium, is being failed. Badly.

Given what is at stake, that is totally unacceptable and one must hope that the results of the investigation announced by the FA today will leave the club management in absolutely no doubt as to what is required of them.

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart

Just in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information can be found at dougiebrimson.com

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How to beat an online troll.

amazon, itunes, ebooks, author, brimson, football, soccer, troll, bullies
An Amazon troll.

Much is being made about the subject of trolls this morning and as someone who has endured their fair share of troll wars over the years, I thought it worth exploring one aspect of this issue which rarely receives any mainstream media coverage. The issue of the amazon trolls.

Now I love Amazon, it’s amazing. Not simply for the fact that it offers brilliant prices on just about everything but because it’s where I sell most of my books. Not just in the UK either, but around the world.

However, my favourite online retailer does have a dark side and it is one which all authors need to be aware of; the forums.

As an idea of course, a place where readers can talk about books is brilliant. Not just to enhance the experience of readership but also because a lot of people like to support authors and promote new ones which is not something to be sniffed at. Conversely, it is also a great way to let people know that you might not have enjoyed a particular book as well as hopefully, providing an explanation as to why. This however, is where the problems can sometimes arise. Primarily because of the trolls who lurk there.

Now I always advise authors to avoid responding to reader reviews and especially to comments for the simple reason that reviews are an individual’s opinion and are generally posted for the benefit of other readers. And whilst they can be incredibly useful to authors for all kinds of reasons, they are not written for them/you/me.

There are obviously exceptions to that, the primary ones being to thank someone who has been particularly complimentary or to point someone who has loved a book in the direction of a sequel if such a thing exists. However, when someone posts something negative, be it about the story, the writing or even the grammar, whilst the natural instinct is to respond, it is imperative that you avoid the temptation and instead, bite the bullet and take it on the chin. If you don’t, you potentially open yourself up to a world of pain for nothing excites the amazon trolls more than a sniff of a stroppy author.

As a result, before you know it, you could find yourself under attack and those attacks can very quickly get very personal. They can also become relentless as the literary trolls are prone to hunting in packs. Don’t think they will confine their activities to Amazon either. Oh no, upset the trolls and they’ll fairly quickly be rubbishing you on Goodreads, Facebook and even Twitter. And those attacks can go on for weeks, months, even years.

Indeed, so bad can they get that they don’t just damage the book, they can easily undermine the reputation and even confidence of the author. I know of numerous writers who have actually withdrawn their books from sale simply because they can’t handle the abuse they’ve received. Occasionally, they have got so bad that the police have had to become involved.

Quite what drives these people on escapes me. Although I suspect both jealousy and sad, empty lives have a lot to do with it. However, to delve into the psyche of these bullies gives them exactly the kind of power and importance that they crave so it’s far better to simply laugh them off, ignore them and simply keep churning out good solid work. Because ultimately, that’s what they want to stop you doing, which is ironic given that they all claim to love books.

.

top dog, brimson. hooligans, author, film, screenwriting, violence, crime, thrillerDougie Brimson is the author of 15 books, the bulk of which are now available as eBooks. These include the thrillers, The Crew which has held the #1 slot on its Amazon chart for approaching 5 years and is now FREE, its sequel, Top Dog, which is also an award winning movie and the new football comedy, Wings of a Sparrow.

Details of all books as well as links to buy can be found by clicking here!  

How to write: Motivation.

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fartAs someone who earns their living by writing, I am often asked what motivates me. Is it for example, a burning desire to create or is it a desperate need to put my thoughts into print? Or is it a hope that I can somehow make a difference or possibly even a yearning to leave behind a legacy of some kind?

Truth is it’s none of those things. I might have written 15 books and a few movies but there are three simple reasons why I write.

  1. I’m a lazy bastard who likes sitting down all day.
  2. I need to make money to facilitate item 1.
  3. I live in desperate hope that one day soon numbers 1 & 2 will combine so successfully that I’ll be able to retire and live out my remaining days watching sport and riding motorbikes.

And to be fair, I reckon that retirement will be well earned. Growing up the son of a comedian was certainly an education but it was hard work and being one of 6 kids (with four brothers!) was certainly instrumental in my leaving home at 16 to begin what turned out to be 18 years as an engineer in the Royal Air Force.

As anyone who has served will know, military life isn’t suited to everyone but I loved every single day of it. Not just for the places it took me to and the people I met, but for the myriad of experiences I enjoyed. From going to war to swearing at royalty and all points in between.

Thankfully, my subsequent career as a writer has added considerably to those experiences but it has also provided me with an excellent way of cleansing my soul. Or to put it another way, telling everyone else. Not just about my life as a football fan but as an average bloke. 

Indeed, of all my books, my comedy novel Billy’s Log is the one of which I’m most proud chiefly because it’s the closest to my own persona. It could even be called semi-autobiographical given that so many of my own experiences are included which is one of the reasons why, as my 60th looms ever closer, I have decided to revisit it. In fact the preparation is already underway as I’m gathering anecdotes whilst also working on In The Know and another movie or to. 

The plan is to have both books out by the end of the year however I am not walking away from the world of film just yet. In fact the project I’m currently working on will be my biggest to date. Watch this space.

PS: I’ve given a few interviews recently and on a variety of subjects but one I really enjoyed allowed me to vent on the subject of publishing an ‘lad-lit’. Click here to take a look…      

@dougiebrimson

Just in case you didn’t know already, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes

My boring writers life…

A couple of years ago, I penned a blog about the idea of my writing my autobiography.

Recently, on more than one occasion in fact, this subject has been broached again but just as I did back then, I dismissed the idea not simply because I can’t actually imagine why on earth anyone would be interested  enough to read it, but also because I have led a life which has been, shall we say, eventful. Indeed, back then I made the point that were I to commit it all to print, large portions of it would be disregarded as some kind of Walter Mitty fantasy.

However, as the completion of my 16th book approaches, and having recently passed the ’20 years in the job’ mark, I thought it might be worth listing some of the events that might make it in should I ever decide to take the plunge. I also threw in a few things which not many people actually know about me and purely for a bit of self-indulgence, thought I would share them.

In the interests of common decency I have edited out anything involving either women or sex (thank god I hear you cry!) as well as anything which might incriminate either myself or anyone else. I can however, assure you that everything listed here is absolutely true. And then some!

So, in no particular order, I…

used to smoke 60 Marlboro a day but gave up cold turkey. I would start again tomorrow if I was allowed.

once fell asleep whilst riding a motorbike and only woke up when I left the road and went through a hedge. I didn’t come off and yes, I was drunk, very drunk in fact. I’ve never again ridden or driven with alcohol inside me as I am terrified of losing my licence.

have eaten all kinds of odd things on my travels but the weirdest are Elk liver pate and sliced Reindeer tongue. Both were quite nice.

have only ever broken four bones and they were all as a result of sport. Nose (boxing), two ribs (stock car racing) and back (football).

once dropped a car on my hands and the only way I could get myself free was to simply wrench them out.  Sadly, not many of my nails made it and yes, it really was as painful as you imagine.

rarely drink these days because I am useless at it (and as previously stated, am terrified of losing my driving licence).

love giving random people compliments.

receive at least one email or tweet a day asking me something relating to Green Street. And no, I had nothing to do with 2 or 3 but would write 4 if they offered me enough money.

have taken part in all kinds of different motorsport with some success, but my proudest achievement was 8th place in the 1988 world banger racing finals.

was, on two separate occasions, in the exact spot where just 24 hours later the IRA carried out  assassinations of British servicemen.

have only ever been arrested three times; Once for theft of my own property from my own motor vehicle (!) and twice on the TV show, ‘The Bill’.

would love to write a proper full-on romance from a male’s perspective.

have ridden a motorbike at 150 plus and driven a car at over 140. Both were my own.

have only ever taken my daughters to one football match and specifically chose it to dissuade them from ever wanting to go again. It worked. Thanks Norwich.

love a good conspiracy theory.

regard Billy’s Log as my best book to date but had most fun writing The Art of Fart. However, the best thing I’ve ever written (and of which I’m most proud) is a film I’m currently developing about a British soldier.

am a firm believer in all things spiritual and have had all kinds of ghostly encounters over the years.

have always wanted to own a Range Rover. I don’t. Yet.

rarely refer to myself as a writer as I still don’t think I’ve earned the right to that title.

have only ever been invited to three literary events during my career. Two of those were to do with moaning about something, the third came about purely because I asked why I hadn’t been invited! I do like talking to book clubs and schools though, when the ask me. I have never even been invited to a screenwriting event!

was just over a week away from leaving for a four month tour of the Falkland Islands when a psychic told my wife that I wouldn’t be going. I didn’t, I developed a stomach ulcer instead.

once ended up in court as a defence witness in a case against someone who was accused of assaulting me (think about that for a moment).

have seen not one, but three planes crash.

was scheduled to be on the ‘Herald of Free Enterprise’ when it sank outside Zeebrugge but cancelled the trip at the last minute as my wife was asked to go on a girlie night out.

once had a German policeman point a gun at my head and switch the safety catch to ‘off’.

have been involved in a (very) high speed car chase with the police. I was being chased, not chasing.

once had a bounty placed on my head (not the chocolate kind either!) and was targeted by an extremely nasty political organisation.

used to co-host a late-night radio show for Liberty Radio in London which was, at that time, owned by Mohammed Al Fayed. We were actually on air at the time of Princess Diana’s death.

once swore at Lady Sarah Ferguson (by accident, not because I don’t like her).

was once involved in a fight during a live TV show.

have only been a best man once and that was at a same sex wedding (and it was brilliant!).

am all but blind in one eye which is why I can’t watch 3D movies.

have a desire to run for public office and almost ran in the first ever ‘Mayor of London’ election. I still have plans to form my own political party.

once set up a charity for British troops serving on the front-line and managed to provide them with almost 22,000 free books.

once got up and walked off of a live prime time UK TV news programme because they described me as a ‘football hooligan’ when I had repeatedly asked them not to and warned them I would walk if they did.

never play computer games (boring) and never watch horror movies (coward).

sell more books in Russia than anywhere else bar the UK.

have had two mates die in front of me. Both were on motorcycles.

am terrified of heights.

once stole a parrot. I did take it back.

secretly inserted 14 things into the initial script of Green Street which were either ‘in-jokes’ or referred to something very personal. They all made it onto the screen but only half of them have ever been worked out.

once spent an afternoon all alone in a little cove on Ascension Island swimming naked amongst a swarm of little black fish only to discover later on that they were actually sea water Piranha’s. Barely a week later, that same shoal (or their mates) stripped the face off someone who fell off a ship into the sea.

once sold condoms for a living.

adore America but my favourite city in the world is St. Petersburg in Russia.

once appeared fully naked in front of a platform packed with Russians on their way to work.

was one of the first, if not THE first, person in the west to know about the Chernobyl disaster.

was once held hostage by a cow (bovine, not female).

was once involved in an actual UFO related incident (and no, I wasn’t abducted or probed!).

turned down the opportunity to invest in the setting up of a very famous website which was subsequently sold for many millions!

was once trapped in my car for 24 hours by the snow.

am a Falklands Veteran and was the first RAF member of the South Atlantic Task Force to have his post disestablished after the War.

have been a guest at Buckingham Palace on three occasions.

once punched a donkey on the nose. It hurt. Me, not it.

have flown in a Harrier jump jet (not by myself obviously!).

have never knowingly taken, sniffed or smoked any kind of illegal substance!

appeared in the James Bond movie, Goldeneye and once had a screen test as a potential presenter for ‘Top Gear’ (I didn’t get the gig).

And finally….

As anyone who actually knows me will testify, I am actually quite boring, quite shy and am utterly useless at small talk.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

Enough is enough. It’s time for football fans to get organised.

liverpool, ticket, premier league, twenty's plentyIf you’ve ever read any of my books, you’ll know that I have very strong views on the issue of fan involvement in football and in particular the failure of the various fan groups to secure any significant presence at club level.  And so, with Liverpool FC having bowed to pressure from its supporters and scrapped the idea of a £77 ticket, I thought it might be a good idea to publish an extract from my book, Barmy Army which outlines an idea which continues to excite people.

The fact it was first published 16 years ago yet is as relevant now as it was back then is a shameful reflection not just on the sport we follow, but on ourselves. For the professional game without us is nothing. We know that, they know that.

So why do we continue to let them take the piss? Read on.

Extract from Barmy Army (2000)

The difficulty here is how you involve the rank-and- file fans in the first place. For in the current climate, most football supporters feel a greater sense of alienation than ever before. Very few of us have any kind of coherent representation at our clubs and none of us have a voice at either the FA or within government, despite the fact that the game is totally reliant on us for its very survival.

We cannot rely on either the clubs or the FA to change their position with regard to customer relations of their own accord, and therefore pressure must be put on them to do so. We have two very powerful weapons at our disposal, but one of them we will never use and the other, for the moment at least, we cannot.

The first thing we could do is to hit the clubs where it hurts and boycott games. We could do that, but we never will. Like all addicts, we need our fix and to miss out on that, even on a point of principle, doesn’t bear thinking about. The alternative to boycotting the games altogether is to boycott the catering or even to get ourselves organised and follow the lead of the various Ultra groups in Italy, which we discussed earlier. That would send a clear message to the clubs that we were unhappy. If it went on for long enough, they might even be forced into action to resolve it – ‘might’ being the operative word. For football is a stubborn beast and even if a club’s supporters were able to organise themselves, there is no guarantee that the directors would listen. Indeed, judging by some of the examples we have seen in recent years, at the first sign of supporter solidarity the average board simply digs in and does nothing.

So if we are to force action, then it must be done in a way which the clubs are unable to ignore. And in this country, every football fan over the age of 18 has something which those in authority have to take notice of. It’s called a vote.

A few years ago, I suggested the formation of a single issue political lobby group called the Football Party. Initially, the suggestion was that people would stand for their local council to give fans a say in issues that directly affected their local club. It was an approach that proved astonishingly successful in 1990 when supporters of Charlton Athletic FC formed The Valley Party in an ultimately successful campaign to get the club back to their spiritual home.

Such was the response, it quickly became apparent that many supporters believed that this local angle was an idea worth developing. But many people wrote to me and said we had to think big and aim higher. The more I thought about that, the more plausible the whole thing sounded. What finally convinced me that the concept of a national Football Party was a sound one was when I realised that the average local election generates a turnout of less that 40 per cent and that while over 12 million people voted for the Tories in the 1992 general election, approximately 25 million watched the England v Germany semi-final in Italia ’90. What this proved to me once and for all was that if you went canvassing around every pub, club, house and factory, and told the electorate that you were standing to give them a say within the football world, there’d undoubtedly be good support, and as soon as the established parties saw there were votes in it, their policies and actions would change so as to give football a kick up the arse.

As a result, I sat down and wrote out a manifesto, one aimed not just at local councils but also at general and European elections. It included four main points. First, the formation of an independent, credible and properly funded body to represent the views and opinions of football supporters from every level of the game; second, the appointment of supporters’ representatives to the committees of both the Football Association and the Football Trust; third, the appointment of an elected supporters’ representative to the board of every professional football club; and finally, the appointment of an ombudsman or regulator to oversee the activities of the Football Association, the Football Trust, the Premier League and its members, the Football League and its members and supporters’ groups.

In August 1998, when it was first released to the press and various supporters’ groups, the response was amazing. Yet sadly, the people I wanted to react, the football authorities and the government, paid it little heed. Undaunted, I carried on. More support poured in and the manifesto began to appear all over the Internet. I had enquiries about it from all over Europe and as far afield as Australia. It had certainly captured the imagination of supporters. However, the campaign eventually began to take its toll on me, both in terms of time and finances and I was forced to put it onto the back burner. But the idea is still very much alive and the very fact that so many people continue to respond to it proves that it is sound. It sure would rock the boat were it ever to come off.

The mere idea that football fans throughout the country could even consider voting for a fat git like me proves how desperate they are to be involved in the game they love. Every supporter has a role to play in the future of the game, and that doesn’t just apply to the hooligan issue but to every single aspect of football. Every major political party recognises that fact – which is, after all, why Tony Blair does so many stupid photo-calls – but still they do nothing about it. That is not good enough. If football will not provide us with a properly funded platform through which we can be heard and demand answers, then the government must make sure they do. And if they don’t, that’s when we should use our vote, because that is the one thing all politicians are truly scared of. All we need to do is to get organised; but how we actually do that is anyone’s guess.

Yet it has to happen. For only by wielding the immense power we as football fans have at our disposal will we ever see an end to the problems facing football, from the hooliganism issue and the asset-stripping to the financial incompetence, greed and sheer hypocrisy of those who supposedly run our game on our behalf. For too long now they have got away with shafting us. They have placed us in danger, sold our very game from under our feet and in far too many cases to note here, have walked away with bank accounts bursting at the seams with money that came out of our pockets. It’s not right and the time has come to do something about it.

If you want to read more on this, Barmy Army is available to download via this link. There is also more on the subject of football protest movement in my book, Rebellion which is available here.

@dougiebrimson

The Crew. A thriller by Dougie Brimson
The Crew

Two additional plugs, I’m currently giving away ebooks versions two of my best-selling books The Crew and Everywhere We Go. Further details can be found by clicking on the links or here Free Books where you will also find details of all my other publications.

Aside from all that, work continues apace on developing the film version of Wings of a Sparrow and I’m also pushing forward with another film which for now, must remain a secret for reasons which will hopefully become clear in the fullness of time!

Finally, my recent rant/blog It’s time for charity to genuinely begin at home attracted a huge response so I may well do part two over the next couple of days!

green street, top dog, football, soccer, politics, screenwriting, film, author, writing, hooliganism, England, world cup, hillsborough, twitter, social media, facebook, 

Harry the Hornet: football’s perfect response to Paris.

Harry1In the wake of the horrific events in Paris, English football was quick to show it’s solidarity with the French capital. First at Wembley and then on Saturday, when every game in the English Premier League was preceded by the singing of La Marseillaise.

Now as a fan of a Premier League club (ahem) I was happy to stand in silence whilst the French national anthem was played (well I’m hardly likely to sing it) and I also understood why the Manchester United fans saw fit to interrupt it with a chant about Eric Cantona. He is after all, the greatest living Frenchman and closely allied with the club. However, little was I to know that even as the game began, a social media storm was brewing. A yellow and black hornet shaped storm.

The reason for this angst can be found toward the right of the photograph at the beginning of this blog. For people watching at home began to accuse Watford of being disrespectful by allowing the club mascot to line up with the players. But they are wrong. In fact, the exact opposite is true for one very important reason.

I know most football fans say this about their clubs, but Watford Football Club really are unique. I may have spent decades bemoaning the ‘Family Club’ tag and spend a good portion of most Saturdays ridiculing the ‘clap your hands, stamp your feet’ brigade but the fact remains that they are, and always will be, a genuine family club. Our club mascot, Harry the Hornet, is an integral part of that family and to me, to most, when he stands with the players, as he does so before every home game, he does so to represent us, the fans.

Therefore, for him to stand with the team and join them to show solidarity with the people of Paris was not simply right, it was absolutely right.

And if you still have an issue with that, you don’t understand my football club at all. But that’s your  problem, not ours.

Come on you ‘Orns.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

The joy of football, and Watford.

footballAnyone who knows me will be aware that I like a moan. And I don’t mean ‘as much as the next bloke’ I mean over and above the next bloke. Some would even argue, with some justification, that I have forged a career (of sorts) doing it.

The reason I moan is simple. It’s not because I think it will change anything or that I think anyone will actually take notice or even care, it’s because it makes me feel better. And so, from the state of the nation to the ongoing pain in my left-leg, if it causes me enough angst to get my brain rattled, I’ll give vent to my thoughts. Be it in public, on Twitter and even occasionally, here. Which, to be fair, is why I set this blog up in the first place.

Oddly, the one thing I don’t often moan about is football. OK… I’ll rephrase that. The one thing I don’t often moan about away from football, is football. Instead, outside of match days where moaning is obviously bog standard practice, I tend to adopt the true meaning of the word ‘support’ and actually provide a bit of backing for the team I’ve followed pretty much forever.

Sadly, this is not a practice adopted by many of my fellow Hornets who are currently in meltdown over our supposed poor start to the current season.

Now for those who do not know, Watford were promoted to the Premier League last season and subsequently not only appointed a new manager, but imported almost an entirely new team. After four games, we’ve drawn three (all of which we could and perhaps should have won) and lost the fourth away to the team who will almost certainly walk the league given their squad of world class players. As a result, we currently sit 17th out of 20 teams in arguably the most competitive division in world football. 

To me, this is no disgrace and is actually slightly better than I expected given the wholesale changes. We’re certainly looking more solid at the back than we have for years and actually have a midfield worthy of the description and that can only improve as they play more games together. And it will improve.

Yet if you listen to the rantings of some of our ‘fans’ you’d think we were in free fall because we’re not creating many (if any) chances. Now whilst it’s true that goals win games, what these people are tending to ignore is that the only two areas of the team which remain unchanged following promotion are our goalkeeper and the two guys at the front. And in every game thus far, both of our strikers have been almost man-marked out of games. Not just by defenders, but by Premiership (and by definition, better) defenders than they had to face last year. No wonder chances are few and far between.

But you don’t turn from a 20 goal a season striker into a donkey overnight and everyone at the club knows that with time, and possibly a bit of tweaking, it will all come good. 

So to all those currently battering Twitter and Facebook with your whining, give it a bloody rest and do what you’re supposed to do; support. But above all, have faith.

In Pozzo we trust remember. And they certainly haven’t let us down yet.

My numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Just click on the relevant link for more information. Some of you newcomers might also want to take a look at The Geezers Guide to Football. ?

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The joy of football – Superstition.

football,soccer,superstition,sweet,sherbet,author,writingAs you may or may not know, the football season proper starts tomorrow.

Yes, I am well aware that it actually started last week as I was one of those who endured a nightmare journey up the M6 to Everton, but the truth is that for me, a football season isn’t a real thing until I’ve walked into Vicarage Road for our first home game. And that dear readers, is tomorrow.

This season of course, is going to be something special. Watford as a club have undergone a huge transformation over the last couple of years and never more so than in the last few weeks. New players have arrived at the club almost daily and even our ground has undergone a transformation the like of which I don’t think any Watford fan could have ever envisaged in their wildest lager induced dreams. But more importantly, we are now officially a Premiership team and I don’t really need to expand on what that means both for the club as an entity and for us, the fans.

All of this of course, is attributable to one thing. That thing is me.

You see years ago, long before the Pozzo family came swanning in with their money and business acumen, I discovered that when it came to Watford, Sherbet Fountains have magical, possibly even spiritual properties. Why else do you think the packaging is yellow, black and red?

Having discovered this, I made it my business to consume one (sometimes even two) once I was inside the ground on match days and whilst we’ve had our up’s and down’s over the years, most notably following the switch from paper wrappers to plastic carton, the fact remains that thanks to my sherbet intake, the club has now reached the heights it has.

There’s no need to thank me. But feel free to join me.

wings of a sparrow, the crew, top dog, football, screenwriting, leo gregory, hooligan, martin kemp, jonathan sothcott

My numerous books, plus the odd DVD, are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Just click on the relevant link for more information.

Why ‘write what you know’ is the best advice you’ll ever hear.

football. soccer, writing, screenwriting, author, indie, film, screenplay, hooligansIn terms of advice handed to potential scribes, be they of the book or screenplay variety, ’write what you know’ is fairly standard fare.

Ironically, it’s a piece of guidance which is often ignored by those starting out on the rocky road of penmanship but the reality is that there are very sound reasons why it should be at number one in the newbies ‘take on board’ list.

Not only does it save both time and money on research, it side-steps potentially catastrophic flaws of the kind which will not only undermine the credibility of the book or film, but which will come to haunt you forever. And yes, that’s the voice of experience talking.

But more importantly, if you have extensive experience of something it stands to reason that your intimate knowledge will impact on pretty much everything you commit to paper. Be it in the language used, the authenticity of locations or even basic detail of the kind which will turn a good read into a great read. Thus, with all this stuff coming naturally, all of your time and effort can go into learning about plotting and character development which is, to be fair, where they should be going. At least initially.

I, of course, have followed this nugget of wisdom religiously and continue to do so. I write about football, hooliganism and blokey things because I know about football, hooliganism and blokey things and whilst I’m fairly certain that my output won’t cause any ripples at either BAFTA or the Booker Prize, if people like what I’m doing enough to buy or watch it, that’ll more than do for me.

There is however, one other subject I have in depth knowledge and experience of and that’s the military. Indeed, I’m often asked why, having served eighteen years in the Royal Air Force, I’ve never written anything remotely connected to Her Majesties Armed Forces.

Well, I can finally announce that this glaring oversight has at long last been addressed for I currently have not one, but two military themed movies in development.

As is usual with these things, I can’t say too much about either project other than to tell you that both are very different in tone and subject matter and they are also way past the second draft script stage with one actually very close to receiving the famous green light. In fact, some of the feedback on this particular script has been without question, the best I’ve ever received so I’m obviously quite excited about it.

Anyway, if all goes to plan a deal to take it into pre-production will be concluded this week and then it’ll be all systems go. Literally!

All of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes

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