British-based writer with a passion for sport and travel, music and photography. Proud dad, exploring the world anew through the eyes of a forthright toddler.
Football fortresses: The Stanks
Berwick-upon-Tweed is border territory. As English and Scottish forces battled over this land, the town changed hands 13 times. Today, it’s English, but with a strong Scottish accent: the senior football teams in town compete in competitions north of the border, and in the local dialect its not unusual to hear of a Scottish ‘heed’ meeting a Northumbrian ‘burl’.
Fan-owned football in Newcastle
On Tyneside, Newcastle United’s fans are desperate for a takeover to rid them of hated chairman Mike Ashley. There’s even talk of raising funds to buy a stake in their club. However, far from the Premier League, fan-owned football already exists on Tyneside.
Weathering the weather in Tow Law
Tow Law is not quite as high and remote as Wearhead United - famously owners of the highest football field in England - but it's still a steep climb up the road from Durham. On winter days, this is often a journey into the meteorological murk and there were serious doubts that the game would be on.
Football fortresses: Richmond Town
Earls Orchard. Picturesque name, picturesque place. Nestled beneath the walls of Richmond’s Norman Castle, it’s been a sporting venue of sorts since the Middle Ages, when the nobles watched from on high as jousting tournaments took place on the fields beside the River Swale.
In the shadow of Stalin
A Soviet fighter jet launches itself from the stand over the away team’s bench. Players warm up amid heavy artillery. Tanks patrol the car park and, legend has it, there’s a top secret metro line to the Kremlin down below. Amid the rusting military hardware there’s an eerie hum from a PA system long out of use. Welcome to Moscow’s forgotten stadium.
Hebburn Town's transformation
When Hebburn Town run out at Wembley on Monday in the FA Vase Final, it will be the latest memorable moment in a remarkable sporting turnaround. Less than five years ago, the Tyneside club was on the brink of collapse and the future seemed bleak.
Christmas with a conscience
The High Street is dead, right? A combination of COVID, online shopping and out-of-town retail parks has killed our town centres. It’s time to move on without waxing nostalgic over the days when granny did her shopping in a collection of local, specialist stores where she knew every shopkeeper by name.
Walking away, walking back again
It starts with me walking away from my family for a few hours. It finishes with us walking together on a journey that – hopefully – lasts much longer.