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James Brown was one of the key writers on the NME in the late eighties and then launched Loaded. He was also from the fanzine generation with his own extraordinary zine Attack On Bzag being on of the key Xerox of the time – cheeky and full of enthusiasm and great music the fanzine was quite brilliant. His debut book is deeper and more mature but no doubt will retain his switchblade writing as he examines what its like to be man in the 21st century built around playing 5 a side…
James Brown has been playing football since growing up in the backstreets of Leeds. The sudden death of one his long-standing team mates made James ponder the unique bond between men who meet each other once a week for years, but don’t know any personal details beyond pitch prowess.
Five-a-Side football is where you play the beautiful game for love, not money. You play it for life and you play it everywhere. Your kit is damp and your legs are a leopard’s back of bruises. Shirts are often tight around the belly, with your hero’s name plastered across your shoulder blades. The showers are too cold in winter and too hot in summer.
Your used sports bag stays unpacked in the hall, and your water bottles are under the kitchen sink. The post-match warm down takes place in the pub. As does the match analysis. By contrast the warm up is non-existent. Your performance is patchy and maybe not what it used to be. But we all still think we played great. Five-a-Side is sporting Karaoke – a time and place to live out our dreams.
This is a book for all of us – school mates, work colleagues, total strangers – bonded by the desire to blast one into the net from two feet away.