Updated: May 10
I’ve published it myself, so the book is available from Amazon as an ebook for £3.04 or, something I’m trying for the first time, a print on demand paperback for £6.97.
So am I just flogging a load of stuff that’s already available? I’d say not. The articles are organised into six themes, Tradition, Business, Dissent, Organisation, Law and Love. Each section comes with an introduction by me, explaining why the articles have been grouped together as they have, providing context and background, and hopefully helping to give the book some structure.
Plus there are a couple of cracking introductory pieces by The Times football editor Tony Evans and Professer Steve Redhead, who is one of the world’s leading academic authorities on fan behaviour and a man who ‘gets it’ far more than the average academic.
What you’re paying for is the highlights of a year’s work collated into one product, wrapped in some context and commentary. It’s something that a number of big media brands do with their own reporting. I hope that it works as a snapshot of what is happening to football at the moment. I’ve tried to ensure that it’s not simply an oppositionist polemic, but something which sees various side of the story and which, above all, recognises why sport is so important to so many of us.
There’s inevitably a certain amount of ego that goes with presenting anything you create to the public, so I’m conscious of the accusation that I’m making my writing out to be more important than it is. I’ve tried not to, but I do think there are some important debates going on about our relationship with football and with sport generally, and I hope this makes a contribution to moving that debate on. The bottom line is that, if you don’t agree, you won’t by it, and I will have lost the time I put into it but not a financial investment.
I’ve explored the print on demand route because I know many people still prefer to read, particularly long-form material. So you can download the book or order a tactile version – whichever you prefer. Depending on how that goes, Adam Powley and I may make our reissue of We Are Tottenham available in print format as well.
I’ve priced the book at a level I think reflects the amount of work I’ve put in and the value of the product, while also recognising what the market will take. That also reflects the fact that I haven’t been paid for much of what I’ve written. I’m wary, if not downright suspicious, or providing journalism for free – it’s something I and many others do for a living and I don’t have a great ideological objection to people being paid for working, especially when the work they produce is used by commercial enterprises. Much of the work I’ve done has been for small sites, or for sites that have provided some kind of contra-publicity. Having a regular platform at the New Statesman online has also allowed me to air some subjects that, in my opinion – and it seems a good number of readers’ too – need airing in a more mainstream environment.
So, that’s the book, what it is and some background on why and how it has come to be. What the self-publishing route does not offer is the kind of marketing and distribution clout that a mainstream publishing company can – and despite all that’s written about the liberating force of new technology empowering the small business, it’s distribution and its control by the big battalions that’s still the key. So awareness of this book will depend on word-of-mouth, and on sharing via social media. I hope that if you buy the book and like it you’ll leave a review on Amazon, post a link, write a blog post or otherwise help to spread the word.