Sports writing

Occasional pieces about football, the NFL or both. And soon, I hope, developmental pieces for my next book project.

16 Mar 2018: ‘Young Guns II: Going Down in a Blaze of Harvey‘: The second annual review of the Checkatrade Trophy looking at attendances and the opportunities the competition has provided for young English players.

Feb 2018: ‘The Wembley Way’ – a piece on the legal dispute between the FA and Wembley FC in the February 2018 issue of When Saturday Comes.

31 Jan 2018: ‘FFP 2.0 – A step forward for fairer football‘: Uefa proposals to refocus Financial Fair Play from profitability to losses on transfer dealings could be a radical and welcome step.

10 Jan 2018: ‘The Grigsons 2017 – the first annual award for the GM who most gratuitously failed to build a team around a franchise quarterback

01 Dec 2017: ‘Why it’s time to boycott the World Cup – Fifa corruption, human decency, sponsor weakness and Russia 2018

05 Sep 2017: ‘The demon-haunted trophy cabinet – how to conduct a sporting exorcism‘: What happens when you rewatch your worst sporting defeat?

22 Jun 2017: ‘He’s taken us as far as he can.‘: The limits of growth, Forest Green Rovers and what we mean when we talk about ambition.

10 May 2017: ‘Sign here to run a football club – a short guide to what’s actually in the Owners and Directors Test‘: Part one of an exploration of the ODT. Everyone knows it’s weak, but few know just how weak…

03 May 2017: ‘For Whom The Chimes Toll – What Portsmouth’s sale tells us about the limits of fan ownership‘: Portsmouth fans’ face a dilemma: to struggle along as footballing paupers or to privatise their club.

30 Apr 2017: ‘The end of the EFL‘: The EFL has shown its true self; it is as ruthless as it is incompetent and is a block to reform that must be removed.

20 Apr 2017: ‘Look, no hands! Why sport needs hands-off owners and hands-on administrators‘: In the week when Dan Rooney – one of sports greatest owners – died, Francesco Becchetti – one of its worst – pushed his club closer to oblivion.

03 Mar 2017: ‘Harvey Headbanger – the EFL chief presses on even though his plans lie in ruins‘: With the Checkatrade Trophy approaching its finale, what do the numbers tell us about if the format changes met their objectives?

24 Feb 2017: ‘End of story – Ranieri, organisational incompetence and Leicester’s destruction of their own fairytale‘: Perform two miracles and the Catholic Church may make you a saint. Perform just one and Leicester City may make you unemployed.

22 Feb 2017: ‘That smothering embrace – gambling, football, piegate and sporting integrity‘: Piegate is a distraction. The real scandal is football’s embrace of bookmakers and their terrible social impact.

16 Sep 2016: ‘Temples of Boomer Esiason – fandom, shattered bones and long-distance sporting love‘: As the NFL roles into London again, a piece on why we’re wrong to mock people who are fans of sports teams in other countries.

09 Aug 2016: ‘Does Donald Trump have the attributes to be a top NFL quarterback?‘: A pre-election exploration of the physical and mental demands of playing quarterback through the lens of Republican nominee (and high school sports star) Donald Trump.

29 Jun 2016: ‘Conceal, don’t feel – the rational under-exuberance at the heart of English sport‘: Brexit and why we should look more kindly on the gentle incompetence of English sport.

07 Jun 2016: ‘Portrait of a bully: Mike Ashley as Tony Soprano‘: The not-so-wiseguy owner of Sports Direct was called before MPs to answer questions about his business practices. He said little of substance but revealed a great deal about himself.

26 May 2016: ‘TV is where football goes to die – sport, drama, real life and Jossy’s Giants‘: a short piece for Jonny Brick’s newspaper on why unsuccessful dramatisations of football tell us about the place of sport.

20 May 2016: ‘Stockport Syndrome – Football League rejigs, regulatory capture and why Shaun Harvey is failing‘: faced with a number of serious long-term problems, the Football League has unveiled its big plan: reorganise the divisions. I disapprove…

4 May 2016: ‘Save the children – how a simple change to Financial Fair Play could improve youth development‘: a piece on how FFP incentives to encourage investment in youth development could be turning academies into player farms.

27 Apr 2016: ‘talkSPORT 2’s All American Sports Show‘: I made a guest appearance on Nat Coombs’ talkSPORT 2 show talking about Leicester, NFL contracts and EPL expansion abroad. You can hear me from 1h34m25s.

13 Apr 2016: ‘Austin Collie and the Infinite Sadness: Sport, self-help and the true value of failure‘ – an essay on how the self-help industry is trying to redefine a crucial sporting concept.

23 Mar 2016: ‘Why is no one listening to football fans?‘ – reflections on AFC Wimbledon having its stadium application ‘called in’ and why it is that football fans are so often ignored by politicians.

02 Mar 2016: ‘Why does the Premier League attract all the worst people from the NFL?‘ – brief thoughts on why it is that the NFL owners most interested in the Premier League are the least successful, most money-orientated ones.

02 Mar 2016: ‘Why the European Super League is a great idea for English football‘ – a piece on why a Euro League offers the best chance in a generation to reform English football and why, if they want to go, we should drive the Big 5 to the airport.

03 Feb 2016: ‘What Liverpool have done is wrong, but they had no choice‘ – why action over Liverpool’s ticket price hike needs to be directed toward regulation to curb the Premier League inflationary cycle.

28 Jan 2016: ‘Building a title-winning team: an NFL vs Premier League comparison‘: how two teams went from worst to first in five years and why it doesn’t happen in the Premier League.

19 Jan 2016: ‘“No, we don’t know what he is.”‘: a longread on why 2015 should be the year we admit how useless we are at judging quarterbacks.

01 Jan 2016: ‘Why this ‘wide-open title race’ is just a one-season wonder‘: a piece for The Fan on the idea that, suddenly, everything has changed in the Premier League.

16 Dec 2015: ‘Time for some honesty from Fifpro on player treatment‘: player contracts, misleading stats and the need for integrity in all areas of the game.

03 Nov 2015: ‘Americarnage #194: The Ugly Podcast‘: I made a guest appearance on Americarnage, the wonderful American sports podcast.

29 Oct 2015: ‘Superficial success – why you’re told everything is great, even though you can’t afford to buy a house and football stinks‘: an essay on why calling the Premier League ‘more successful than ever’ is like cheering rising house prices.

15 Oct 2015: ‘The Fifpro report on ending transfer fees – a review‘: the world players’ union recently got a lot of publicity for its report on why the transfer market should be shaken up. My sense is that, if more people had actually read the report, they’d’ve been a lot more skeptical about its contents…

08 Oct 2015: ‘What football could learn from football – a film‘: I was recently featured in a Copa90 short-film covering some of the topics in my book.

08 Oct 2015: ‘#FootballFallacies‘: an exploration of the logical fallacies and biases common in football.

12 Sept 2015: ‘How competitive is the Premier League? And how competitive are other European leagues?‘: an epic exploration in graphs of changing competitiveness in Europe’s eight biggest leagues since WWII.

26 Aug 2015: ‘Is it already too late to save the Premier League from itself?‘: a piece on the football reform movement in Scotland and what that might suggest about the prospects for English football.

02 June 2015: ‘After Fifa, it’s time to bring reform home to England’: a piece for on the need for reform at all levels of football.

01 May 2015: ‘No hiding place left’: an essay for on Blake and Calvert’s exposé of the Qatari World Cup bid and what it tells us about the future of Fifa.

03 Apr 2015: ‘Failure is not an option‘: a piece for on youth development, B teams and the Premier League’s damaging attitude to competition.

25 Mar 2015: ‘The shirt off your back’: a piece for FAN on why the Premier League should have to share merchandising revenue as the NFL does.

05 Mar 2015: ‘A fork in the road’: a piece on competitive balance in the NFL and the Premier League for The Football Action Network.

25 Feb 2015: ‘On the necessity of destroying the Premier League’s pre-eminence’: a follow up to my first Secret Footballer piece examining the assumptions that nothing must be done to harm the Premier League.

25 Feb 2015: ‘Five lessons the Premier League could learn from the NFL‘: a piece for TheSecret covering some topics from my book.


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