If you are interested in sports writing then the Covering Futbol podcast is a must listen. Start with the Andy Mitten interview, but check out them all. At the core of Andy’s development from young fanzine founder to established journalist with world-class contacts are practises that cut to the core of good sports writing and reporting; practises that may not be fashionable anymore, but thankfully endure.
Top sports writing still remains rooted in the real world. It still necessitates leaving the house and actually going to events, speaking to influential people, nurturing contacts, occasionally falling out with people, learning how to use valuable inside information, meeting deadlines, learning new languages, learning shorthand.
“Some of the biggest newspapers in Spain write their match reports from an office in Barcelona or Madrid. I think that’s amateurism,” says Andy. “If you are a journalist writing about football then you should be going to those games you are writing about.”
Last month, in Graham Hunter’s podcast with Gary Neville, the Manchester United legend stated that it was impossible to analyse a football game from TV. It is why Andy still attends 80 matches a season. It is why he is successful.
For our part, every book we have published has taken a pound of flesh from the author. It is as it should be. Top sports writing usually involves enormous effort and only a little glamour. There are no shortcuts.
Thankfully, as Andy argues, “the cream still rises to the top”. Real-world sports writing is alive.