Tag Archives: football

The joy of Screenwriting. Honest guv.

writer, brimson, lazy, ebooks, amazon, itunes, screenwriting, author, novel, green street, sex, monkey, imac, windowsThe other day, whilst talking to someone about the process of writing, the subject turned to Top Dog and the task of adapting my own novel to the big screen.

This, they claimed, would be easier than writing a ‘real’ film because I already had the advantage of knowing both the story and the characters inside out.

Later, as they were recovering in Accident and Emergency (well, they certainly were in my head) I pointed out to them that the exact opposite is true. Primarily because it ceases to be ‘my’ story the second a producer shows an interest.

Instead, from that point on it becomes about writing a treatment and then a script which would excite and entice directors, financiers and actors and as a result, things have to be tweaked, added and/or deleted to give it that wow-factor and make it appeal. And by things, I mean scenes and roles all of which meant work for me.

The whole process begins again when people actually do start to come on board for each of them have their own ideas and thoughts all of which relate to the script and all of which involve additional writing. It becomes even more complicated when the director becomes attached because from that point it becomes his movie and as such, I as the writer, am at his beck and call.

Now I know there will people reading this thinking that I’m exaggerating but to put it into perspective, tomorrow I will be working on the fifth rewrite of the script for Top Dog. A script remember, which is based on a novel I actually wrote! By any stretch of the imagination, especially for someone like me who still has no idea how they’re getting away with it, that’s a tough ask.

And at times, it has been tough. Sitting and listening to your work being ripped to shreds gives new meaning to the term soul-destroying but -and this is the lesson I’d give to any writer who finds themselves in the same position- when you are confident in the people doing the shredding and know that all they want to do is improve your work, it becomes an incredible learning experience and when it all comes together, is fantastically rewarding.

But boy, will I be glad when it’s over. Although the truth is that this is only the first stage. There are things lurking on the horizon which are already giving me cold sweats! More of that nearer the event!

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football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritance, premiership, england, watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green streetI’m delighted and not a little excited to announce that I have signed a deal with publisher Caffeine Night to put Wings of a Sparrow into print. The book should be out in August and will be available in all major bookstores.

Caffeine Nights will also be reissuing The Crew later this year and will be producing a movie-tie in of Top Dog next year. More news on that here

And on the subject of Top Dog, there should be some big news announced within the next couple of weeks so please keep an eye out.

Exciting times!

Watford FC: so close but thankfully so far.

watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green street, premiership, englandOK, the dust has settled so my thoughts on yesterday and Watfords trip to Wembley for the richest game in football, for what they’re worth.

As a Watford fan, it pains me to say it but we didn’t turn up on the day, pure and simple. Anya, big Al and Lloyd Doyley (I know shock horror, praise from me!) are the obvious exceptions with the addition of Fess who should have been brought on at half-time, if not at the start.

Crystal Palace were average at best with the exception of Zaha who was different class. How many times did he take the piss out of our defence? Phillips… well you just knew he would do it but fair play, I wasn’t the only one to notice that he didn’t give it large in front of us as many would have.

The Palace fans were awesome, ours less so. Ok, much less so. Indeed, if yesterday highlighted one thing it’s the issue of our support and the lack of any cohesion. I know that there are plenty who have tried to sort it out but clearly, it has failed badly and so maybe it’s time for the club to actually step in and become directly involved with the fans to see what can be done. With so much good will toward the team and the owners, I think that we could potentially do something really creative if there was the will on both sides to actually do it so let’s use this moment to kick start some proper open dialogue. After all, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Wembley… amazing stadium but the transport situation away from the place is dire. Not simply because of the logistics but because the organisation is so poor and information so lacking.

But however down we feel today, it has been an amazing season and the journey from the horrific event that was the game against Wycombe to walking up Wembley way yesterday proves that being a Hornet is always going to be eventful and certainly never dull.

However, the truth is that we aren’t ready for the premiership yet -I think anyone with a brain in their head will acknowledge that- and the idea of a season being spanked week in week out is not one that held an appeal for me. And that’s how it would have almost certainly been. As I said, Zaha ran us ragged at times, imagine what 10 of him could do.

So it’s onwards and upwards and all eyes on the 13/14 season in the championship which arguably, is the best league anyway if you like your football in the blood and guts style as I do.

The loan situation and the forthcoming rule changes to that side of things is going to mean the close season will be eventful (aren’t they all for Watford?) but I have faith in the owners and in Zola & Co so I have no doubt we’ll be stronger as a consequence so then watch us go! Who knows, we might even finish our stadium!

Come on you Horns!

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

Thanks to everyone who has been posting reviews of my books lately. They really are hugely appreciated and extremely useful. On which note, thanks to a huge demand, I’m delighted to tell you that my most recent book, Wings of a Sparrow, will shortly be released in paper format.

I’ll post further details nearer publication date but this will be the first in a series of re-releases with The Crew and Top Dog following shortly after.

Why part of me hopes Watford don’t win promotion to the EPL.

football, watford, publishing, marketing, premiership, liverpool, manchester, arsenal, zola, pozzo,

I am, as many people will know, a Watford supporter. And as anyone who follows the great game will know, this coming weekend could well see my little club return to the promised land of the English premiership.

Quite how we are in this position is well documented and will certainly be dissected at length over the coming few days but to say we are not the most popular club in the land would be something of an understatement. We of course, don’t care what people think of us as we’ve been far too busy enjoying the ride and watching football which has veered from being some of the best I’ve ever seen Watford play to a quality which would not look out of place on Hackney marshes. On at least one instance, we saw both within the space of 90 minutes.

But that’s the joy of football and not only explains why we love it, but why so many people would not even contemplate missing a game.

However, to return to the matter in hand, much as I am buzzing ahead of the game on Saturday and would love to see us secure promotion, there is a small part of me which hopes we don’t actually make it. Not just on Saturday, but even via the play-offs.

It has nothing to do with what may or may not happen on the pitch because having followed Watford since the early 70’s, I know as well as anyone that anything can (and often does) happen at Vicarage Road. Indeed, one only need look at this season as proof of that and I have little doubt that our Italian owners have huge plans, god bless ‘em.

No, my concerns have everything to do with what might happen off the pitch. For the truth is, like many English football fans, I despise the premiership and everything it stands for.

The ‘top flight’ isn’t football to me. It’s little more than a media driven entertainment version of the game designed to exploit the very people without whom it wouldn’t even exist, those fans who actually attend games.

And if we do make it, that media will go to town on us because as the ‘little’ club, we’ll face a season of being patronised by people I have little or no respect for. The Lawrenson’s and Lineker’s, the Gray’s and the Durham’s… all of whom will regard us as little more than cannon fodder who have no right to be where we are because we’re not a ‘big’ club. And as a result, we as fans will be on the defensive. Not like we have thanks to ‘loangate’ this season because the whole Udinese B thing has been fun, but because we will have to justify ourselves week in and week out. Even the thought of that pisses me off.

Don’t get me wrong, if the stars align and we do make it, I’ll be as chuffed as anyone but that delight will be tinged with a little bit of regret. And pound to a pinch of poo, I won’t be the only one.

readers, film, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew, green street, elijah wood, leo gregory, charlie hunnam, essex boysFor those who didn’t know, Universal Pictures UK have come on board the Top Dog movie project and with their support, it looks increasingly likely that filming will commence in June ahead of a cinema release in February. Casting will commence shortly and full details of that will be posted on both Facebook and Twitter.

I may well have some more exciting news to pass on very soon relating to both books and another movie project. Exciting times!

Finally, I’m going to be staging a series of giveaways of books over the next few weeks. You’ll need to follow me on either Facebook or Twitter so if you want free books, get on it!  @dougiebrimson

How to bring your novel to life.

readers, film, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew, green street, elijah wood, leo gregory, charlie hunnam, essex boysOK, I own up. The title to this blog is slightly misleading because if you were expecting a writing lesson, you are going to be disappointed. In fact, to be perfectly honest anyone seeking a writing lesson from me is going to be disappointed because as I’ve written many times, I don’t actually know how I’m getting away with it so I am hardly qualified to advise anyone else!

No, the title to this blog refers to them actually taking on a three dimensional form in the actor sense. Because after what seems many years of what feels like post-Green Street herculean effort, it appears that one of my projects is finally making the leap from ‘almost there’ to ‘off and running’ with the announcement that Universal Pictures UK have signed as the distributors of my adaptation of Top Dog. Full details of that can be found here.

So, how did this happen? Well the truth is, like many of the events which form what can laughingly be called ‘my career’ it was down to moaning. And to a lesser extent, Twitter.

I won’t ramble on too much, but the short version is this. One day, as I was trawling Twitter in an effort to avoid actually writing, the name Leo Gregory popped up. Now Leo, as many of you will know, is the actor who played Bovver in Green Street and gave, quite simply, the stand out performance in the movie. He’s also a top bloke and so I dropped him a note and asked if he fancied taking a look at a project I thought he’d be perfect for.

Luckily, he agreed, loved it and so at the back end of last year, we met and chatted. Inevitably, talk turned to Green Street, the many imitators it spawned and the fact that in both our opinions, no movie thus far has actually failed to pull off the whole ‘hooligan’ ‘lads’ thing convincingly. This moaning led into discussions about my novels The Crew and Top Dog which in turn led to a meeting with the legendary producer that is Jonathan Sothcott  (which is a tale in itself). The rest as they say, is history.

Now, the point of all this is that like all writers, when I set out to create something, be it a book or a screenplay, it gets to a point where it takes on a life of its own. Up to now, I had always believed that there was only so much I could do after that point had been reached but this is clearly not the case at all.

Because as I have recently discovered, the key to success is moaning. And thankfully, it’s something that I’m not only exceedingly good at but which I also enjoy with a passion.

Happy days!

 

How NOT to sell your eBook.

author, writer, writing, screenwriting, amazon, itunes, kindle, books, greenstreet, top dog, essex boys, sex, bollocks, bullshit

This morning, whilst staring out of the window at the white-out that karma is continuing to inflict on me to keep me off my motorbike as punishment for my former ill-deeds, it occurred to me that I hadn’t blogged for a while.

To be fair, not that many people actually read my blog anyway and so my failing to post anything is no great loss to humanity. However, shortly afterwards, a notification mail landed in my inbox from one of the many writing sites I once subscribed to (yet never take any notice of) which contained a link pointing me toward an article about the importance of blogging to authors.

As a believer in omens, I took this as a sign and gave the article a read because the thought struck me that it might contain some golden nugget of information which would change everything and propel my blog numbers into the stratosphere. It didn’t. It was instead, bollocks.

Now I’m not knocking blogging and indeed, am well aware of the irony to be found in the fact that I am er… blogging. However, there is a massive difference between blogging as a way of letting off steam, entertaining or even showcasing and blogging to ‘teach’. Because speaking as a professional author with a degree of experience about what does and doesn’t work, I can say with some authority that 90% of the blogs I’ve ever read relating to writing are inane drivel. I’d even go so far as to say that most are written by people who have little or no actual experience of anything except rewriting other people’s articles and passing them off as their own which is little more than a con.

The reason it continues of course, is that so many people want to be authors and make their living selling their books. Yet the simple reality is that if you want to sell books then there is only one thing that will do it for you and that isn’t reading about how to sell books or even writing about how to sell books, it’s actually sitting down and writing books. And if you want to sell lots of them, write good books because if you do that, the rest will eventually take care of itself.

That my friends, is as good a piece of writing advice as you will ever read anywhere.

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readers, film, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew, green street, elijah wood, leo gregory, charlie hunnam, essex boysI am not a little delighted to say that my novel The Crew continues to hold onto the #1 slot on both its Amazon and iTunes chart which means that it is now approaching 18 months as the top downloaded sports book in the UK. That’s none too shabby even if I say so myself so could I say a huge thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed it. It really is most appreciated not least because as I have said many times, nothing sells books like word of mouth (and that includes blogs! – see above).

Of course the recent news that Top Dog is heading for big screen has helped immeasurably and we have taken huge and very exciting strides with that project in recent weeks. All being well, I’ll be able to reveal details of where we are with it quite soon.

And on the subject of Billy Evans and his exploits, work is progressing well on the third book in the series and I am still battling away to get my latest novel, Wings of a Sparrow, to the screen. Ironically, I receive more mails asking me about that than almost anything else which is really most gratifying because it means that the story has actually struck a chord with people which is kind of the point!

The one fact all authors should know about eBook marketing.

life, work, money, sex, military, football, marriage, kids, writing, ebooks, author, marketing, blogging, Writing is, by its very nature, an odd profession. After all, if you strip it back to basics it involves spending most of your time on your own making up stories.

That said, it’s also a pretty cool way of earning a living not least because I get to spend most of my time on my own making up stories.

Now obviously I am not the only person to see this as a positive attraction because there are seemingly many people out there who wish to follow in my footsteps and fair play to them I say. Indeed, in these ePublishing times, it’s never been easier to make your work available to an eager public.

The problem of course, is that writing a book is only half the story. Or even, as many would have you believe, barely a fifth of the story. Because once you’ve written your book, movie or play, you have to sell it. Yes, that’s right, as a self-published author, everything falls on your shoulders and that includes the role of salesperson.

Personally, I love this side of the job because it provides me with the perfect excuse to piss about on the internet and whatever I am doing seems to work because I am, apparently, doing OK. I could possibly be doing better but I have no way of knowing that for sure because I’d much rather be writing, watching TV or riding my motorbike than writing ‘guest blogs’ or taking part in blog tours (whatever they are) which are both apparently obligatory for authors who want to sell eBooks. Or at least it is according to the so-called experts.

This leads me nicely onto the point of this blog because yesterday I read an article about writers marketing their work which left me not far short of incensed. It wasn’t simply the subject matter which was actually about screenwriters putting their screenplays for sale on Amazon (although if you need me to tell you why that’s a bad idea you deserve everything that could possibly befall you) it was the bit at the end about the author of said article. This bit in fact: (I have deleted her name because I refuse to give her any publicity)

XXXXXX XXXXXX is an author and screenwriter. She is the author of “Publish Your Screenplay on Kindle.” She plans to publish several of her screenplays on Kindle before year’s end.

So, she’s written a book and an article telling us to do something which she hasn’t actually done herself… yet. Do you really need me to tell you what I think of that?

The sad thing is that there are thousands of people like this who are making money off the back of the writing community by selling experience that they do not actually have and indeed, there are plenty of so-called ‘professional authors’ who actually derive most of their income from talking about the subject of being an er… professional author as opposed to earning money from actually selling books. Or to put it another way, frauds.

This is especially true of the subject of eBook marketing because take it from someone who actually knows, the truth is that whilst the web is awash with articles telling you how to do it, there is actually no magic formula. More often than not, what decides if an eBook is going to sell or not is good old fashioned luck.

Yes, of course there are things you can do to help get the stars if not aligned at least visible and these range from exploiting social networking to writing ranting blogs but the bottom line is that the fundamentals of eBook marketing are exactly the same as they are for traditional publishing. For an aBook by a relatively unknown author to be a success it comes down to the same old thing; right book, right time, right reader, etc, etc.

And that my friend is the secret. You can have it for free.

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football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceDougie Brimson is an author and screenwriter. Thirteen of his fifteen books are available in electronic format including The Crew (which was the most downloaded football title of 2012 and has held the #1 slot on its Amazon and iTunes chart for almost 18 straight months) and his latest comedy, Wings of a Sparrow.

His screen writing credits include the multi-award winning feature Green Street and the forthcoming adaptation of his own novel, Top Dog.

Authors need love too (and a bit of help sometimes).

readers, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, twitter, facebook, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew,

As a twitter obsessive (@dougiebrimson if you didn’t know) I see a lot of tweets relating to both writing and publishing many of which contain links to articles or blogs.

Generally these will fall into two categories. Either it will be a rehashed version of one of three articles (How to get published, how to get an agent or five/sex/ten ways to market your work) or it will be total and utter bollocks that’s been written by someone who clearly has no idea what they are talking about.

For obvious reasons, I tend to dismiss most of them out of hand or, if I am in a particularly grumpy mood, will comment accordingly. I know I shouldn’t, but not only does it make me feel better, it helps maintain my image as a grumpy and obnoxious bugger.

Every so often however, I read something which actually strikes a chord with me and out of a sense of fair play, after first cursing the author for writing something I wish I’d written, I’ll pass on the link in the hope that whoever reads it will actually learn something. On very rare occasions, so impressed will something leave me that I will steal the idea. Or rather, I will rewrite it to put my own slant on it, although not without asking permission first!

And so, with the very kind permission of author Barry Hutchinson whose website, as well as details of his excellent new book, The Book of Doom, can be found here, what follows is a plagiarised version of his original and most brilliant blog.

Now, as anyone who knows anything about me will know, I adore my readers. It is because of them/you that I am able to continue doing what I do which is why I am always so eager to hear from them/you. Indeed, I actively encourage people to contact me if ever they feel the need or have something they want to get off their chest.

This author/reader relationship is incredibly important for all kinds of reasons, one of which is that it helps to build what has become known as ‘a platform’. This being all but essential in these days of electronic books because it is a fundamental part of marketing. Or to put it another way, it sells books.

In the old days when I used to write books which came out on paper, this wasn’t something I generally became involved in as it all fell on the shoulders of the publishers. I wrote them, they pushed and promoted them, people brought them. That was how is basically worked. These days however, things are very different because it is all down to me and one thing I have learnt over the last few years is that key to the art of selling books is word of mouth. Indeed, as someone who receives little or no coverage in either the mainstream media or even the sports press, word of mouth is my best selling tool. But obviously, I can only do so much and whilst Twitter and Facebook are great, there is only so many times I can plug a book before people get bored of it. Therefore whilst I can give a new book a shove, I am dependent on help from my readers to get it really rolling.

So with that in mind, if you’re one such individual and actually like my work, what follows are four things you can do to help if you fancy giving me a hand.

1.  Buy my Books. This is fairly obvious but you will be amazed how many people have read a couple of my books and don’t actually know that I’ve written 15 in total. I’m not insisting that you buy them all of course (although that would be nice) but if you’re missing any, a brief look at one of the on-line stores or even my website may well turn up something that you’ll enjoy.Just as importantly, by buying books you help me eat which means I can carry on producing more titles as opposed to lying on the sofa dying of malnutrition. It’s a win-win!

2.  Review! In these days of eBooks and eCommerce, reviews are the engine which drives word of mouth. So if you’ve read a book and like it, then please take the time to leave a review on either Amazon or iTunes. If you blog, then why not blog about the book? I’ll even provide an interview if you like. All you need do is ask.It doesn’t have to be a 5* review, just an honest review.

And if you didn’t like it, then you have every right to say so. I won’t mind. Honest. Well, I might mind a bit…

3.  Talk! To family, mates, people in the street. I don’t care. Share your enthusiasm and spread the love. It all helps!

4.  Tweet! Social media is a brilliant way of spreading the word about books but it’s especially useful if you include links because that way you are actively driving people in my direction.

The same thing applies to Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest and all the others. It’s all about making people aware and raising the profile. Well ok, my profile.

That’s it really. It’s not too much to ask is it? I mean, I’m doing my bit by churning them out, the least you can do is give me a hand! 😀

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readers, film, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew, Talking of new books, work on the third title in the Billy Evans series is progressing well and I’m hopeful that it will be out by the summer. It’s a cracking plot which picks up on his story in modern day Britain, ten years on from the events at the end of Top Dog. I’ll release more details, including the title, nearer publication day.

Work is also progressing nicely on the movie adaptation of Top Dog, the poster of which can be seen to the left. This is actually the artwork being shown to investors and not the actual movie poster but it is incredibly effective I think.

Leo Gregory might look very different from how Billy looks in my head, but I have absolutely no doubt that he’s going to be just awesome in the role!

Finally, lots of people have been asking me about the movie adaptation of Wings of a Sparrow. All I can tell you at the moment is that I’ve written a script which is receiving a lot of positive feedback and we’ve got it in front of various production companies.

At the moment, we can do no more. Although if more people knew about the book, it would certainly help! Which takes me back to my original point… 😉

Why adapting my own novel for the screen is so traumatic!

top dog, brimson. hooligans, author, film, screenwriting, violence, crime, thriller

As you may have noticed, it’s been over a month since I last blogged which is, to say the least, somewhat tardy. I do however have an excuse as I have actually been working flat out on a screen adaptation of my novel, Top Dog.

I won’t go too deeply into the background of how this came about but suffice to say, the whole thing happened and progressed extremely quickly. Indeed, I actually mailed off the completed first draft yesterday so am now in that horrible no-man’s land where I am waiting for feedback from the producer and lead actor and hoping that not only will they like it but that this isn’t the script or book which finally exposes me as a talentless hack.

That said, it’s all very exciting stuff and if you would like further details, they can be found here in The Hollywood Reporter.

The interesting thing for me has been revisiting an old friend, the central character in both Top Dog and The Crew, Billy Evans. Although now he isn’t the slightly chubby dark haired bloke I had always imagined him to be, he is now… well, Bovver from Green Street. Or to be more precise, the awesome Leo Gregory.

This has actually been quite a difficult thing to get my head around. After all, Billy has been part of my life for a very long time now and whilst people you care about come in and out of your existence for all kinds of reasons, young Mr. Evans has not just featured in two novels, but is also in the third I’m currently working on.

So as someone who actually pictures scenes in my head as I’m writing them, whilst in essence his identity remains the same for him to suddenly take on a whole new form has been extremely confusing. Not least because many of the mannerisms and much of the banter I associate with him is no longer relevant.

But I think I’ve pulled it off and as it stands the script stays quite close to the plot of the book in most respects which is after all, the most important thing. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how much of it actually makes it to the screen. If not a little disconcerting.

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceAside from that, I’ve been busily doing media work to promote my latest comedy novel Wings of a Sparrow and, not to put too fine a point in it, sell books. On which note, thank you to everyone who has downloaded one of my books and my eternal gratitude to everyone who has taken the time to leave a review somewhere. I know I have said it a million times but they really do help in all kinds of ways.

If you would like to purchase any of my numerous books, links to all the various online sites can be found here.

English for English. It’s common sense!

england, english, language, dialogue, sport, football, soccer, racism, racist, NHS, hospital, police, brimson, hooligans, ebooks, kindle, amazon, itunesI was going to write a long rant this morning about a subject which over this last year, has become an increasing source of not just irritation, but actual anger.

However, the more I talk about this particular issue with other people the more I realise that this is one of those rants which is becoming increasingly universal. Indeed, once you get to the end of this blog my guess is that you will at worst have a degree of empathy with the point, at best simply say ‘about effing time someone said that!’

So with that in mind, here we go.

If you walk into any government building or have any kind of contact with a major commercial organisation, you will be informed at some point that any or all information is available in a variety of languages. Indeed, in the case of somewhere like a hospital, council office or police station, there will be posters and leaflets imparting that knowledge pretty much everywhere.

This is of course, how it should be -after all, we live in a multi-cultural society- however, it is a fact that any nation is defined by various things one of which is its language. Therein lies my problem.

You see I am and will always regard myself as English. Not British, not European, English, And last time I looked, I live in England and the language of my homeland is English which just happens to be the most widely spoken and understood language on the planet.

So with that in mind, if I contact an organisation of any description which is based in England and find myself dealing with an individual who can barely speak my language let alone impart the often complex knowledge I require, why am I made to feel like either an idiot or a racist if I ask to speak to someone I can actually understand? Or for that matter, who understands me? Isn’t that a perfectly fair and reasonable request?

Of course it bloody well is!

Yet too many organisations seem quite happy to place people in customer facing positions who, whilst they might be perfectly competent in most respects, are clearly unable to carry out their function correctly simply because of their inability to communicate. That isn’t good enough, not in this day and age. However, the only way things will ever change is if we, as both taxpayers and consumers, start to demand it and on a regular basis.

So do it!

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceThis will be my last blog before Christmas and so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy holiday and a brilliant New Year.

I’m not normally one for the festive season but I’m really looking forward to this one not least because it will herald in 2013 which for all kinds of reasons, is already shaping up to be a quite amazing year.

So to all those I have met, worked or had dealings with in 2012, especially those who are involved in new or ongoing projects, please take some time to relax, have fun and recharge your batteries because I don’t know about you, I’m planning on next year being the really big one and if you can’t keep up, you may well miss out!

And don’t forget, if you are lucky enough to receive an eReader as a gift on the 25th, you can download all of my books for around about £10.00 and that includes my latest, Wings of a Sparrow which is currently receiving great reviews and is already the subject of movie talk!

Enjoy!

Nets, coins, hooligans… you couldn’t make it up. But you don’t have to.

hooligans, ferdinand, football, soccer, violence, lads, fans, supporters, manchester united, manchester cityOver the years, I have heard a lot of people talk absolute bollocks about the issue of hooliganism and in particular, the reasons why certain individuals behave as they do.

The pathetic hand-wringing and ‘it never went away’ type drivel which inevitably follows an incident of trouble inside a ground -be it racism or violence related- all too often leaves me shaking my head in amazement. It genuinely baffles me how supposedly intelligent people can be both blinkered and stupid at the same time.

This week however, has surpassed the lot.

Events in Manchester were terrible, that is true. The fact that a premiership footballer was almost blinded by a coin thrown from amongst rival supporters is something everyone involved with the game should be ashamed of just as we should be ashamed of the coins and missiles which were being thrown all the way through that game in much the way as they are at games up and down the country on a far too regular basis. Not just at players, but at rival fans, stewards and the police although this seems to have been largely forgotten (or ignored) by the back page mafia.

Yet what has amazed me has been the nature of the response to this particular incident. Not least the idea that to prevent such a thing happening again, we should hang nets from the front of every terrace roof in the land. Nets… for fucks sake.

Yes, a physical barrier of some description between fans and pitch would certainly minimise the risk of players being hit but let’s be practical shall we? Let’s think about this sensibly and talk about why it is quite possibly the most stupid idea to combat crowd problems since Ken Bates and his electric fence.

First, it wouldn’t work. You’d still get things thrown at the pitch only this time those that didn’t make it through the gaps in the mesh would bounce back onto the crowd. The legal consequences in the ‘duty of care’ sense would be immense.

Second, it would have no impact on missiles being thrown at rival fans.

Third, have you ever stood and watched a sporting event from behind mesh when the rain is pelting down? I have, and it’s like watching through fog. And what happens if it starts to sleet? Or you are required to evacuate the stand in a hurry? Or it falls onto the crowd?

The argument of course, is that such things would be considered during ‘development’ of any such system. Yeah right. Goal line technology, safe standing… how long have these things been being ‘considered’ and just how close are we having to either appearing in an English football ground?

Fourth, and possibly most importantly, if you put up a physical barrier you also put up a visible one. In this case, it would be akin to a flashing neon sign which might as well say ’Hooliganism: 40 years on and we’re back where we started.’ You can almost sense the victims of Heysel and Hillsborough spinning in their graves at the very suggestion.

Fifth and finally, the idea completely misses the point. For instead of finding a way of stopping missiles hitting players, why not consider the revolutionary concept of addressing the mentality of those who think throwing them is a good idea?

That of course, is the obvious thing to do. But of course football has been trying to do that since the 70’s and…. oh no, that’s right, it hasn’t. Because footballs answer to deal with the problem of hooliganism was to get the police to shove it out of the grounds, tell everyone things are better than it was in the 80’s (how many times have you heard that this week?) and hope the boys in blue would solve it. Which they didn’t because Old Bill’s job is not actually to change attitudes it is to enforce the law of the land. Something they continue to do and with some vigour whilst at the same time using football as quite possibly the best real-time crowd-control training facility any police force anywhere in the world has ever had.

That’s another debate entirely (read Barmy Army and Kicking Off if you want to know more about my views on the policing of football) but the fact remains that despite its claim to the contrary, the game as an entity has actually done little or nothing to combat hooliganism since the problem first began to show its fangs.

The coin which bounced off Rio Ferdinand’s forehead proved that conclusively and that is without a doubt the most shameful aspect of this whole sorry saga. (And before anyone mails me asking ‘so what would you do?’ I’ll be blogging about that very thing in a day or so.)

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceThanks to everyone who has downloaded Wings of a Sparrow this week. Sales are even better than I could have hoped for and the reviews thus far have been amazing. I certainly never thought my writing would be compared to the legendary Tom Sharpe!

If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you will get around to it soon and if you have please leave a review somewhere and help me to spread the word.

In these days of digital books, word of mouth is the best advertising any book can have which is why authors such as myself are so keen to get those who read our work involved in the publishing process.

After all, current thinking is that a self-published author needs to spend 20% of their time writing and 80% of their time self-promoting! With at least two books to write, I’d rather have that the other way round but only you guys can help me with that.

So come on… get on with it!