Today we launch a new podcast – Between the Lines: The Stories Behind Great Sports Writing. The premise is simple: we interview the authors of great sports writing – from classic sports books to brilliant pieces of long-form journalism and huge sports news stories.
The first season is a mixture of all three and features award-winning writers such as Rory Smith, Simon Kuper, David Winner, Richard Moore, Ben Reiter, and Grant Wahl. Details of the first six episodes in this 10-part weekly series are below.
Martin & Neil
Episode 1: ILKAY GUNDOGAN’S KNEE – Neil’s interview with Rory Smith, the New York Times football writer who spent 10 months tracking the return from injury of Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan. The incredible access Smith had to the German footballer resulted in a remarkable 4000-word piece, published in the New York Times on September 20 2017, just four days after Gundogan’s comeback to Pep Guardiola’s first team. This is the story behind one of the best pieces of sports writing of 2017
Broadcast date: December 12
Episode 2: FOOTBALL AGAINST THE ENEMY – Martin’s interview with Simon Kuper, who was a young, penniless journalism student when he won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award in 1994. Simon travelled through 22 countries on a tiny budget, exploring the impact football had on politics and culture. By the end of his trip, he had written a sports classic. Over 20 years later, he reflects on the process
Broadcast date: December 19
Episode 3: BASEBALL’S GREAT EXPERIMENT – Neil’s interview with Ben Reiter, the journalist whose Sports Illustrated cover story on the eve of the 2014 Major League Baseball season correctly predicted the Houston Astros – then the worst team in baseball – would win the World Series in 2017. This is behind-the-scenes on a truly extraordinary story
Broadcast date: December 26
Episode 4: BRILLIANT ORANGE – Martin’s interview with David Winner, the author of the legendary book on Dutch football. Brilliant Orange was a very different kind of football book. The first line states: “If this is a book about Dutch football, at some stage you’ll wonder why it contains pages and pages about art & architects, cows & canals, anarchists, church painters, rabbis & airports.” Winner’s idiosyncratic journey through Dutch football is a classic of sports literature and the author talks us through the process
Broadcast date: January 2
Episode 5: THE WORLD’S GREATEST TEAM – Martin’s interview with Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, who wrote a profile piece about FC Barcelona in 2012 headlined ‘The World’s Team’. He was given unparalleled week-long access to the club’s new training facility – which he memorably titles ‘The Hogwarts of soccer’. Wahl lifts the lid on his week as a fly-on-the-wall reporter covering the biggest sports story of 2012
Broadcast date: January 9
Episode 6: IN SEARCH OF ROBERT MILLAR – Martin’s interview with cycling journalist and author Richard Moore. It’s 10 years since Moore published his first book, In Search of Robert Millar. It’ s 24 years since the subject of that book last rode in the Tour de France. A lot has changed since then. As Moore discusses in this conversation, his book deals with a complex character, and one not without contradictions
Broadcast date: January 16