Crime of passion

A France international, a champion cyclist, a gun and a deadly affair. Written for issue twenty-three of The Blizzard, this is the true story of Pierre Mony, the footballer who got away with murder. The story was also published in The Guardian.

 

Spike in interest

A new book reveals the varied life of one of football’s earliest stars, the England and Sheffield Wednesday outside-left Fred Spiksley. My review of Flying Over An Olive Grove by Clive Nicholson, Ralph Nicholson and Mark Metcalf.

 

The Last Voyage of Daniel Collins

In November 1824, 15 months after Hugh Glass endured the grizzly bear attack portrayed in The Revenant, and four years after Owen Chase saw his ship smashed to pieces by the huge whale that inspired Moby Dick, Daniel Collins set off on an extraordinary voyage that would become another survival adventure for the ages.

 

The Bizarre History of Loans

Jack Wilshire’s move to Bournemouth and the scrapping of the emergency loan window have put temporary deals back in the spotlight. But how did football’s loan transfer system get started and who were some of the first and strangest loanees?

 

From A Blood-Red Sea

From A Blood-Red Sea is the true story of US sailor Daniel Collins, who was shipwrecked and then attacked by pirates during his first – and last – voyage as a merchant seaman, in the winter of 1824. His extraordinary escape and his epic journey home represent one of the most remarkable survival stories ever told.

 

The Life-and-Death History of the Message in a Bottle

Written in support of the Messages from the Sea book, this feature explores an archive of 100-plus-year-old messages from the sea, revealing clues to the fate of missing vessels, poignant farewells from stricken sailors, and other mysterious and fascinating tales.

 

Football Hustlers

It was a Victorian football sensation. Five British players were missing, presumed poached by a mysterious agent for a brand new American League of Professional Football (ALPF) – the first professional football league outside of Britain, and soon regarded as “a huge mistake, a fiasco, and a total failure”.

 

Football Wikipedia

When your club is linked with a player you’ve never heard of, Wikipedia’s 350,000+ football pages are likely to contain all the information you need. But who updates those goal tallies? And more importantly, why? For FourFourTwo, I met the men who keep football Wikipedia bang up to date.

 

Messages from the Sea

Based on the Messages from the Sea website, a new book collects letters and notes from a lost era of seafaring found floating in bottles and washed up on beaches across the world. I compiled the book and wrote the notes and introduction. It will be published in September 2016.

 

The birth of the fan podcast

Why did Victorians flock to watch 22 men kicking a pig’s bladder about? Episode 45 of The Blizzard Podcast features my story on the origins of the football supporter, The birth of the fan, from 2014’s issue 12.