For as long as there’s been football, there has been great football writing. Geoffrey Green (non-fiction) and Robin Jenkins (fiction) and Brian Glanville (both) and Hugh McIlvanney (the man who described George Best’s feet as being as sensitive as a pickpocket’s hands) to name a few of my favourites.
Jonathan Wilson, a modern contemporary, is another. He currently plays an outstanding role in the engine rooms of two the UK and the world’s renowned football writer teams. You can see his work at The Guardian and in his own publication The Blizzard.
Despite’s its ongoing shyness of Scottish Football (for obvious, but not necessarily fair reasons) The Guardian still features the best of the UKs football non-fiction by the likes of Sid Lowe, Jamie Jackson, Amy Lawrence and Scott Murray.
The Blizzard is a proper football journal. It picks up where Simon Kuper’s cracking Pitch Perfect left off a way way back in the late 90s. Each issue features historical, topical and a down right cunning selection of features; there’s usually some compelling theory, and most important for me, a wee taste of well-crafted fiction, which as you will know, warms my cockles. Reading it feels like a quiet pint by the fire in your favourite pub.
I get my subscription digitally and miss out on the hard copy versions, but they look lush. I console myself by thinking about the trees. I do get hard copies of The Leopold Method. It is lush, but that’s a story for another not too distant day.
The Blizzard are making an appearance at the second Manchester Football Writing Festival will run again in September (1-10 2015). You can learn more if you follow mcrfootballwriting@mcrfwf. I watched it through twitter and caught up with podcasts and the like last year. It looked brilliant. Made me wish I was there the whole time.