Interview with Michael Calvin: The Art of Sportswriting
Updated: Jan 21, 2019
Today we are joined by award winning author, Michael Calvin.
Calvin is the author of six books and his newest book, 'State of Play' just came out last week (you can buy it here). It's a compilation of stories and topics from all around the sport and this podcast aims to do what he accomplishes in the book. From mental health, to women's football, to the globalization of the game, he covers it all.
Calvin is also the regular host of the BT Sport Football Writers podcast and is a living legend in the game.
In this episode we discuss the craft of sportswriting, the politics of sport, the 'hidden heroine of football', his thoughts on a pan-global league and much much more.
4:13 Covering a surf contest in Da Nang Vietnam
14:03 On the craft of writing
21:51 Taking a sabbatical to set up English Institute of Sport
29:01 The story of Jeff Astle & head injuries in football
39:41 The future of football, a pan-global league?
"I always work on the principle that if I'm interested in something, I hope I've got enough about me to actually make the reader interested."
"I've always found as a writer or journalist that the most affecting question you can ask someone is 'tell me about how you do your job.'"
"What entranced me is the final sentence of a two page introduction and that was 'I'm a reporter trying to get to the heart of what football is.' That really inspired me."
"Every book is a quest really…I've tried to emphasize the essential, often forgotten, humanity of the game."
"We're also in a world where too many people lose sight of what got them involved in football in the first place."
"I love it. I couldn't have done it much more than that because it drove me mental in the end. It was the politics of sport. Unbelievable. There are so many mediocrates whose only role is to protect their backside."
"He [Jeff Astle] was, in essence, an ordinary guy with an extraordinary talent, which is what all sportsman are to be honest."
"The work Dawn has done, she's one of these hidden heroines in football. I think a generation will be in her debt."
"My hope is that this book will be taken as an illustration of where we are as a game and why the Accringtons of this world deserve our support."
"I suppose I'd like to ask people to maybe reflect when there's that momentary, knee-jerk disappointment or anger…"
You can follow Michael on Twitter @Calvinbook