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Between The Lines

The stories behind great sportswriting. Interviews with journalists and authors about an outstanding piece of writing on sport. From BackPage. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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David Winner: Stillness & Speed (Dennis Bergkamp authorised biography)

Dennis Bergkamp was a unique footballer, a player who inspired Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal to greatness in the nineties and noughties with an exquisite blend of technique, balletic grace and unforgettable moments. It was always going to take something special to encapsulate the Dutchman’s unique talents in book form. Written as a collaboration between David Winner, author of Brilliant Orange, and Dutch journalist Japp Visser, Stillness and Speed moves between hugely insightful interviews with Bergkamp and traditional biography. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

15mins

17 Jan 2018

Rank #1

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Tim Parks: A Season with Verona

Welcome to a new episode of Between the Lines.This is Martin's conversation with Tim Parks about his 2002 book A Season with Verona.It is a classic of football literature and one of the most referenced whenever we ask for people's all-time favourite sports books.Tim is not your average sports writer. He is a celebrated author of fiction and was once shortlisted for the Booker Prize.He brought all his creative imagination to this project, attending every home and away Verona game in the 2000-2001 season. That it turns out to be a dramatic campaign like no other, only adds to the story.Enjoyp.s. If you enjoyed this episode, check out our documentary on another classic, The Miracle of Castel di Sangro, just a few episodes down on this feed See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

52mins

12 Feb 2020

Rank #2

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The Making of ... The Miracle of Castel di Sangro

This final episode of this season of Between the Lines is a documentary about one of the most beloved of all sports books, Joe McGinniss's 1999 hall-of-famer, The Miracle of Castel di Sangro.McGinniss - an American who had previously written landmark books on US politics and true crime - read a magazine piece about an Italian team's improbable rise to Serie B and decided to spend a year of his life embedded with them. The resulting book has it all: tragedy, crime, glory and despair, hope and disillusionment.This special episode would not have been possible without the co-operation of Joe's widow, Nancy Doherty. We'd love to know what you think about the podcast, and also your own thoughts and memories of this great book. Search for @BackPagePress on Twitter and Facebook. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

23mins

12 Dec 2019

Rank #3

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Pol Ballus: Pep's City, The Making of a Superteam

In the ninth episode in this new season of Between the Lines, 26-year-old Catalan journalist Pol Ballus tells us how he went from full-time waiter and part-time freelancer to inside the machine of Pep Guardiola's Man City.Enjoy See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

25mins

5 Dec 2019

Rank #4

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Graham Hunter: Spain - The Inside Story of La Roja's Historic Treble

In 2013, Graham book Spain: The Inside Story of La Roja's Historic Treble was released. Graham had behind-the-scenes access at all three tournaments and used his incredible insight to tell the story of the greatest achievement in the history of international football. This is Graham's conversation with Neil White, co-founder of BackPage who published the book and believes it is the best title his company have released.To take advantage of a special offer to buy the book direct from BackPage, listen out for the offer code at the end of the show.Enjoy See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

47mins

3 Jun 2018

Rank #5

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Michael Calvin: State of Play

Michael Calvin’s new book is called State of Play: Under the Skin of the Modern Game. And In it, he shines a light on the human stories of football. We hear from chairmen, journeymen, female coaches, performance coaches, rights campaigners and those who fight for the soul of the national game in the light of its rampant commercialisation. As always, you’ll get a strong sense of the themes of the book, but we also talk at length about the nature of sports writing and how the eloquent prose of Arthur Hopcraft, inspired the format of the book. Enjoy! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

34mins

30 Sep 2018

Rank #6

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David Winner: Brilliant Orange

David Winner talks through his legendary exploration of Dutch football, Brilliant Orange. Published in 2000, it has become a classic of sports literature. Winner's book is both an idiosyncratic journey into the cultural and social forces which produced the greatest-ever generation of Dutch footballers - embodied in the legendary figure of Johan Cruyff - and a rollicking good football story. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

35mins

16 Jan 2018

Rank #7

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Iain Macintosh and Kenny Millar - Football Manager Stole My Life

Eight years ago, BackPage produced Football Manager Stole My Life, an epic journey through 20 years of fandom around a computer game (Football Manager, nee Championship Manager) that has become part of football culture. Kenny Millar was our detective, tracking down the scouts and real-life players that combine to create a database that is unmatched in global football. Iain Macintosh brought the funny, including a stint on the psychologist's couch. They both looked back on the work behind a book that helped fans of Football Manager realise they were not alone. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

31mins

1 Apr 2020

Rank #8

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Raphael Honigstein: How Dortmund Won the Race for Haaland

As the transfer of Erling Braut Haaland from Red Bull Salzburg to Borussia Dortmund was announced at the end of 2019, Raphael Honigstein set about uncovering the decision-making tree that brought the hottest young striker in football to the Bundesliga. It was, as he remembers, something of a detective story, and he spoke to almost every participant: scouts, agents, directors, and people close to the brilliant footballer himself.A little over two months later, it already seems like a seismic pieceof business for Dortmund, and it's rare to read an inside account of a deal of this level. Raphael's piece is still available at The Athletic. If you haven't subscribed but are considering it, you can go through his own landing page to let them know who brought you in: https://theathletic.com/author/raphael-honigstein/ See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

27mins

4 Mar 2020

Rank #9

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Henry Winter: Reporting on a World Cup

Henry Winter, chief football writer of The Times, talks about the experience of covering major tournaments as a journalist: from the press' relationship with the FA, the players who light up the interview room through to climbing trees in an attempt to glimpse England training sessions See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

28mins

11 Jun 2018

Rank #10

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Mike Calvin: Family

Chances are you came to Michael Calvin’s writing through his later books The Nowhere Men, Living on the Volcano or Hunger in Paradise. Well, before all that, there was Family, Mike’s first book in which he was given unlimited access to a season at Millwall FC. The book also has a fascinating back-story, with Mike having self-published the first edition which was then nominated for Football Book of the Year. Here we talk about how important access is to great sports writing and how he sets the scene for interviewees to bare their souls. Just a small note here… we also discuss Emma Hayes in this podcast. Emma is the current manager of Chelsea Women and has a chapter dedicated to her in Mike’s latest book State of Play. Enjoy See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

35mins

3 Oct 2018

Rank #11

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LIVE EPISODE: Fergie to Messi - A Football Writer's Guide to the Giants of the Game

Welcome to our first live episode of Between the Lines. This is a conversation between Jonathan Northcroft, chief football writer of The Sunday Times, and his counterpart at the The Times in Scotland, Michael Grant. It’s chaired by, Martin BackPage and it took place at Glasgow’s Aye Write book festival on March 29. Jonathan is the author of Deadlines and Darts with Dele and Michael wrote the definitive book on the early years of Sir Alex Ferguson, Fergie Rises.As always, we focus on process. The boys tell us about their best and worst interviews (hello Gareth Bale) we talk about the place of match reports in the modern media and the joys of watching live football rather than from the comfort of the armchair. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1hr 5mins

16 Apr 2019

Rank #12

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Tim Lee: The official film of the 2019 Champions League final

Tim Lee was one of the producers of UEFA's official film of the 2019 Champions League final. Sometimes - often - these things can be a little sterile, but this one is an artful and uplifting look at the pinnacle of club football from every angle. Tim talks us through every one of them - the pressures the film makers were under, their mission to see the fans and the stadium workers as well as the superstars and the accidents that ended up producing some of the film's most memorable moments. Watch the film online https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrG3C-R7D5s See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

24mins

26 Feb 2020

Rank #13

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Andy Mitten: In Search of Maradona

When Andy Mitten was commissioned to go to Mexico in search of Diego Maradona, he could have been forgiven for thinking twice. Not only was the Argentine legend one of the most elusive footballers in the world, he was also managing the Mexican second division club Dorados, who happen to be based in the State of Sinaloa. If you happen to have heard of Sinaloa, it is probably because it is home to the Sinaloa cartel, one of the biggest drug-trafficking organisations in the world. More El Chapo than El Diego.So, what did Andy do? Well, he slipped out early from a night match at Old Trafford and began his epic journey. The result was a spectacular piece of Gonzo journalism which appeared in Four Four Two in the summer of 2019. Here, Andy tells us what it was like to write one of the most memorable pieces of his career.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

38mins

6 Nov 2019

Rank #14

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James Montague: Inside the Secret World of Football in North Korea

In December 2017, Bleacher Report published James Montague's ground-breaking report from inside North Korea - the result of a journey over a decade in the making. His story brings together an Asian Cup qualifier, a nuclear bomb, an under-pressure manager, the world's largest stadium and a ballboy-based international incident. It's a trip. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

36mins

13 Feb 2018

Rank #15

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David Goldblatt: The Age of Football

In 2006, David Goldblatt published 'The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football'. It was an extensive study of the beautiful game stretching back from its very origins into the early years of the 21st century. Job done. Or not. The last decade or so has witnessed seismic shifts in football, from its economic transformation and politicisation through to the emergence of China and United States on the global stage. So, David went back to the drawing board and the result is another book, another epic study of the beautiful game by the best football historian in the business. 'The Age of Football: The Global Game in the 21st Century' is out now and fits inside a Christmas stocking, so long as it’s a very big stocking. This is a live event recorded at Waterstones in Glasgow where myself and David chatted about the process of completing such an epic project.   Thanks to David for this interview and check him out on Twitter @davidsgoldblatt. And please check out the rest of this season of Between the Lines. The rest of the episodes from this season feature interviews with Ben Reiter, Oliver Kay, Lawrence Donegan, Daniel Gray and Hugh MacDonald. Finally, if you’ve enjoyed this, please leave us a review, tell a friend, spread the word.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

31mins

27 Nov 2019

Rank #16

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James Montague: 1312 - Among The Ultras

Like James Montague's previous books – When Friday Comes; Thirty One Nil; and The Billionaires Club - 1312: Among The Ultras is the result of this writer’s determination to track down his story wherever it leads him – in this case to just about every corner of the football world, from where he reports on the Ultra culture – that hardcore of football fandom that we often see from the outside, but very rarely from within.This time, for Montague that meant securing dark-alley meetings with far-right capos, late night sprints to avoid Indonesian thugs and Swedish cops and a sample of the atmosphere inside some of the most colourful and passionate football crowds on the planet. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

35mins

25 Mar 2020

Rank #17

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Oliver Kay: Matt Jansen returns to Rome

For his first piece since leaving The Times to join the new staff at the UK office of The Athletic, Oli Kay chose to take Matt Jansen back to the moment when his life and career changed forever. The result was one of the most personal and touching football interviews you are likely to read - more impressive still as it came in the middle of a wave of coverage around Matt's new autobiography. Oliver had history with Matt and believed that his subject would be open to this bold and risky approach. And he was right. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

33mins

23 Oct 2019

Rank #18

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Martin BackPage: Read All About It

This is Martin BackPage speaking on another book podcast - yes, they do exist! - called Read All About It, where the host Paul Cuddihy asks guests to choose their five favourite and not so favourite books.There’s some BackPage chat at the start where Martin talks about the development of the company and our Astroball book, then goes on to discuss his five choices.Hope you enjoy and we’ll be back next week with a more regular episode of Between the Lines.Subscribe to Read All About It Follow on Twitter See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

42mins

18 Mar 2020

Rank #19

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Ben Reiter: Astroball

Welcome to the first episode in the new season of Between the Lines!It's playoff time in Major League Baseball and Ben Reiter is back on Between the Lines to talk about Astroball: The New Way to Win it All.Astroball is the story of how the Houston Astros went from one of the worst teams in the history of the sport - nicknamed The Disastros - to a dynastic, long-term winning machine with an analysis, recruitment and development strategy that is the envy of decision makers in international pro sports. Like the Astros themselves, Ben's book focuses on both the human stories behind a superstar team and the new seams opened up in the sports-data revolution.Buy the book See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

22mins

15 Oct 2019

Rank #20