Every Wednesday and Thursday mornings myself and Neil BackPage spend the first 20 minutes of our day talking about our weekly games of 5-a-side. We usually emerge from these chats as heroic protagonists, with tales of tirelessly covering for team-mates’ deficiencies and launching swashbuckling forays culminating in winning goals. Some of these are even true.
There are several things to say about 5-a-side. Firstly, it is massive – a true phenomenon; participation levels exceed 11-a-side. Secondly, it is brilliant fun. Thirdly – unlike 11s – you don’t have to be much good at football to play it. Fourthly, it is transformative for your physical and mental health.
When we are this buzzed about a subject, we start to think about whether we can turn it into a book. Every week we would come up with a new idea. A list of the best 5-a-side team names? Got to be in there. Tactics? Definitely. The worst excuses for calling off from fives? This one was deemed essential after our weekly whinges about scrabbling for players at the last moment.
Over the course of several years, the ideas piled up. Then we found Chris Bruce’s site 5-a-side.com. Over a pizza one evening, I chatted to Chris for three solid hours about 5-a-side. We realised we had found our man.
The book is out on October 15. If you play 5-a-side, I guarantee your experiences will be reflected in its pages.