Two carrier pigeons required

The Guardian

guardianMy recent When Saturday Comes article on BJ Evans and his 1946 book How to Become a Sporting Journalist has been picked up by the Guardian and is now available to read on that newspaper’s website (How to be a sports journalist in the early-1900s (two carrier pigeons required)).

BJ Evans was a pioneer of early football reporting, and the article examines some of his methods, which required a bicycle and two carrier pigeons in a basket. His story also involves binoculars, a charabanc, turnips, the Blitz, and the medicinal properties of hot Oxo.

You can read the article on the Guardian Sport Network.

Sins Dyed In Blood: In Search of the Newcastle Pirate


newcastle_pirate_coverMy new eBook, Sins Dyed In Blood: In Search of the Newcastle Pirate. It tells the story of Edward Robinson, the ‘Newcastle Pirate’, who sailed with Blackbeard during the Golden Age of Piracy in the early 1700s. It follows the search to uncover Robinson’s story, and involves a journey from Newcastle upon Tyne, where the Newcastle Pirate was born, to Charleston, South Carolina, where he met a brutal fate. It’s available to download from Amazon as a 12,000-word ‘Kindle Single’ – longer than a magazine article, but shorter than a regular book – for £1.99 / $2.99.

‘Edward Robinson was a British pirate who sailed with Blackbeard during the Golden Age of Piracy in the early 1700s. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, local legend says he fled to sea after slitting a man’s throat and dumping the body in the river. Robinson crossed the Atlantic to the Caribbean and the Americas, where he lived under a black flag, attacking ships, plundering gold, and murdering those who got in his way. In 1718, he was captured and sentenced to death by hanging in Charleston, South Carolina. “You caused your terror to be on all that haunt the sea,” his Judge told him, “and your sins are dyed in blood.” Almost 300 years later, Robinson has been virtually forgotten, and his story obscured by pirate myths and clichés. Was he really a murderous sea-robber, and did he deserve his brutal fate? Paul Brown retraces Robinson’s voyages on a quest to uncover the true swashbuckling story of the Newcastle Pirate.’

Sins Dyed In Blood: In Search of the Newcastle Pirate is available now from Amazon.

How to Become a Sporting Journalist

When Saturday Comes

8ff596ddff92b75010175003d689d436My article on the pioneering BJ Evans and his 1946 careers guide / memoir How to Become a Sporting Journalist is in the latest issue of When Saturday Comes. Evans was regarded as a ‘master craftsman of sports journalism’, and his book inspired writers including the late Frank Keating. The book offers an entertaining glimpse into the profession’s formative years.

“‘I started reporting soccer in a very humble way,’ recalls BJ (Bill) Evans in his 1946 book How to Become a Sporting Journalist. As an apprentice at the Western Daily Mercury in the early 1900s, Evans was sent out to cover minor league matches on a bicycle with two carrier pigeons in a basket. At the end of each half, he would fold up his written report, attach it to one of the pigeons and release it into the sky. ‘The bird wheeled over the ground,’ he writes, ‘often cheered by the two or three hundred spectators, and then made his way to the pigeon loft of the Mercury.'”

You can read the article in the March 2015 issue of WSC.

The article has also been published by the Guardian.

How to beat the winter freeze


442The latest issue of FourFourTwo includes my feature on undersoil heating and various other methods of beating the problem of frozen football pitches, including straw, braziers and a mysterious beer-like liquid.

“First mooted in 1937 yet only mandatory for Premier League clubs since this season, undersoil heating has endured a chequered history – starring frost, flame-throwers and a fuming Fergie.”

The issue also contains my piece on strange football tech, including electronic referee’s assistants, footballer brain stimulators, and robotic goalkeepers. Pleasingly, the latter piece is accompanied by a photo captioned as “quite possibly the strangest photo we’ve ever published”…

Read both articles in the February 2015 issue of FourFourTwo.