Welcome to the cast list of the Ball is Round. Below you will be able to put some faces to the names…..Warning – enter at your own risk as some are not pretty!
There is a saying that everyone has a book in them. Well until 2005 I did not believe that for a minute but then through a combination of factors including enforced unemployment, a desire to visit the 2006 World Cup in Germany on a budget and a sheer bloody mindedness to tick off another one of life’s challenges I published my first book. It was a fans guide to the World Cup, with information that travelling fans actually may use. In the course of 6 months I visited every ground being used, stayed at hotels in each city, drank over 200 pints of German beer in 74 different bars and lost count on the number of sausages I ate all in the name of research. After failing to interest a publisher (after all there are only 2,376 at the last count) I learnt how to self publish. The result, a book that sold over 3,000 copies and was licenced in four other countries.
Since then I have written 6 books, all around travelling to football abroad. I am lucky that I get to travel for work, and can experience the delights of games such as the Eternal derby, FCK v Brondby and my personal favourite, AIK v Djurgården. I am lucky to have current players, managers, club owners and of course fans as friends.
But my real love is still on the grass roots game in this country. I’ve been a West Ham fan for over 30 years, saving up each month for my Season Ticket, and now taking the next generation of Fuller’s along too. But football fans in this country are an inconvenience at the top level. They moan when players are sold, they moan when games are changed for TV and god help us if the manager loses a game or two. Every home game I see a parade of new fans arrive, clutching their West Ham Megastore bags having purchased the official club toaster (that burns WHU on your bread), the dog basket or limited edition reserve team training top, oblivious to the greed they are perpetuating.
I’ve kept up my travels since 2005, visiting over 30 countries to watch football, and more importantly writing about what I find. I moved into the twenty first century and became all web 2.0 last year with a blog which I use to record my adventures but in words and vision, interspersed with the ramblings of a man who is falling out of love with Premier League football. So last season I vowed to visit all 24 Conference clubs, reporting on a game and generally enjoying football at a level where fans still matter. The feedback I got was amazing. People wanted to talk to you about the game, about places I had never heard of and about long forgotten local heroes. This season it is the turn of the Ryman Leagues as well as a few trips into Europe.
Nothing beats having a pint in a club bar before a game where supporters can mix freely with each other and the banter is good humoured. The pressures of promotion to the Football League is now such that some clubs will actively avoid it, knowing full well that it could spell financial disaster. Interestingly enough one of the significant up sides of Lewes’s relegation back to the Blue Square South this season is that they can once again keep their club house, with its views of the pitch open during the game and thus significantly add to those much needed matchday funds. My site is aimed at those fans who need a gentle push from their armchairs on a Saturday, or out of the pub where Sky Sports are filling up their quota with a game of the calibre of Stoke City versus Bolton Wanderers and onto the terraces of their local teams.
So remember, there is a book it everyone….just don’t chose to write one about travelling to watch football or me and you will be falling out!
In 2011 I started researching a book on Lewes FC and their 125th anniversary season which has had more highs and lows than Alton Towers and in November 2011 Dripping Yarns will be unleashed on the world. More recently, The Football Tourist is taking the book charts by storm…honest
Stuart Fuller is a well known and respected author of Football travel guides. His work included the only English language guide to the FIFA 2006 World Cup in Germany, simply known as “The Fans Guide” and two guides to European Football. His website – http://www.budgetairlinefootball.co.uk is one of the definitive sources of information on European football and he is often to be heard on radio and TV talking.
He wrote the most up to date and comprehensive fans guide to European football since the Rough Guide, named “European Football: A Fans Guide” which topped the Amazon charts in 2008 (albeit in the category European Football Stadiums!). His most recent publication, Passport to Football hit the shops in late 2009 and tells the tale of 30 memorable trips around the world to watch football. He is currently writing a book on Lewes FC’s 125th Anniversary season, Dripping Yarns and can be regularly found following the Rooks home and away. He splits his time between London and Copenhagen which allows him to get an insight on two contrasting footballing cultures. He has become a media darling for all things Danish, being the Daily Mirror’s resident expert on football in the capital of cool.
Our other regular contributors
Author of our Daggers Diary as he follows his beloved Dagenham & Redbridge around League One in a division he thought was impossible to dream about when they were playing Grays Athletic away five years ago. Was blissfully unaware that football even existed until just before my 9th birthday, when he received a book on the 1982 World Cup. From that moment, he’s been hooked. As well as contributing to The Ball Is Round, he also write an occasional piece for the travellers tales page for the Dagenham & Redbridge programme.