The Lost Pirate of Blackbeard’s Golden Age

Edward Robinson lived a life of high adventure alongside history’s most infamous pirates. But was he really a murderous sea-robber, and did he deserve his brutal fate? Abridged from Sins Dyed In Blood: In Search of the Newcastle Pirate and published in Expost Magazine at Medium.


Half-time: a history

Footballers haven’t always had 15 minutes to catch their breath. The original Laws of the Game included no reference to half-time, and instead required teams to change ends after each goal was scored. A short piece on the history of half-time for FourFourTwo.


Sins Dyed In Blood

Edward Robinson was a British pirate who sailed with Blackbeard during the Golden Age of Piracy in the early 1700s. But was he really a murderous sea-robber, and did he deserve his brutal fate? This is the true swashbuckling story of the Newcastle Pirate.

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How to become a sporting journalist

BJ Evans was a pioneer of early football reporting, and his 1946 book How to Become a Sporting Journalist reveals some of his methods, which required binoculars, a bicycle and two carrier pigeons in a basket. Written for When Saturday Comes and also published by The Guardian.

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How to beat the winter freeze

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. Also in this issue, a short piece on strange football tech, including robotic goalkeepers.


1881 and all that

A great myth associated with Newcastle United is that the club was formed in 1892 courtesy of a merger between East End and West End. In fact, the club was formed in 1881, and there was no merger. This article looks at reclaiming Newcastle’s lost history.


Up There book review

A review of Michael Walker’s Up There: The North-East, Football, Boom & Bust. The book is a long-overdue social history of North-East football. From the game’s earliest years, Walker shows how the industrial North-East established itself as a football powerhouse.


Away day heyday

Away days adventures are among the many joys of being a football fan, and have been since the Victorian era. But how did fans travel to or follow away matches in the days before cars and buses, or TV and radio?


History of the magic sponge

The magic sponge is one of football’s most familiar artefacts, having being variously applied to players’ bumps and bruises for more than a hundred years. This is the story of how a cold wet sponge became regarded in football as an apparently miraculous cure for virtually any injury.


All With Smiling Faces

A wander through Newcastle’s early history to discover how the club came to mean so much to so many. Covering the first 30 years, from its foundation as Stanley FC in 1881 to the triumphant FA Cup win in 1910, the book visits the grounds, meets the players and relives the matches that made Newcastle United.

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