Originating as a hugely popular podcast, downloaded over ten million times a year, The Football Ramble has established itself as THE weekly listen for football fans across the globe, so why not turn your talents into writing a book for all to enjoy? That is exactly what Luke Moore, Marcus Speller, Pete Donaldson and Jim Campbell have done.
A non-fiction work, which combines footballing fact and opinion with tonnes of comedy, The Football Ramble: By Four Men Who Love The Game They Hate puts all aspects of the game under the microscope. From a look at football’s early origins, to analysis of media, managers, fans and stadiums, TFR is a cheery read, that really does have it all.
If you’re a fan of football, this is a highly recommended read. If you’re a fan of The Football Ramble‘s podcast series, this is an absolute must. With Christmas around the corner this is literally the perfect stocking filler for those who seek enjoyment from the beautiful game – as you can probably tell, we cannot endorse this enough!
We were given the opportunity to speak to Luke Moore following the release of The Football Ramble’s brilliant new book. On behalf of The Football Ramble quartet, this is what he had to say…
TBR: For those of our readers who don’t know you (although we’re sure there will be very few), can you tell us a bit about each of yourselves, how you became involved with The Football Ramble and what else occupies your time in life?
Luke: I became involved in TFR (The Football Ramble) when Marcus, who I went to uni with, asked if I’d like to reprise the Saturday Sports Show we did on university radio together in the form of a podcast, and it went from there. We picked up Jim and Pete early on along the way.
TBR: You’re obviously four guys who just love talking, reading, watching, and generally living football, but to take that to the next level requires another level of motivation. What was the initial inspiration behind starting The Football Ramble podcast? Can you remember the exact moment you came up with the idea?
Luke: It was just nice to have an outlet to chat about the game and meet up every fortnight (as it was then). Everything else grew organically as we grew into the show and worked out that we didn’t need to get ‘proper jobs in media’ – we could do it ourselves and maintain creative control over it.
It was Marcus’ original idea, and I think his thinking was what I touched on in the first answer – he wanted to continue our Saturday show somehow and that was the best way to do it
TBR: Obviously the Football Ramble the podcast has been a resounding success over the years, but what inspired you to turn your talents to writing a book, and how did you decide on the subject?
Luke: We were approached by PenguinRandomHouse about the possibility of writing a book about football with them, and we thought it was a good idea and so went for it. We met and talked about the different parts of the game we were particularly interested and went from there.
It’s important to make clear that this book isn’t TFR podcast stuck between two covers, it’s its own thing and should (hopefully!) stand on its own merits. It covers just about every part of football in our own style, something we’ve developed over almost ten years of making podcasts. Like the show, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s not a podcast in book format, it’s a book.
TBR: There are a number of ‘laugh out loud’ moments throughout the book, with the comedy aspect of the book making for a very enjoyable read. Is this something you were conscious of throughout writing, or does it just come naturally?
Luke: From my point of view I wanted to write my parts in my own voice. I wasn’t going to suddenly start writing like I was authoring a textbook, I’ve always had a pretty irreverent style (for better or worse!). And by the same token, it didn’t really make any sense to shoehorn each of us into a uniform style either – the Ramble works because we all have our own voices, it made sense to take that philosophy across to a book as well. Hopefully that’s what keeps it fresh – each of us writing in our own style.
On the funny parts, it’s just as easy to make observations in written format as it is on the radio, or it should be. From my point of view, it’s great to know at least someone found it funny!
TBR: Since releasing the book, you have embarked on your nationwide live book tour. Which has been your favourite event so far, and do you have any funny stories you can tell?
Luke: I absolutely loved the Glasgow show. I love doing live shows anyway, wherever they are, but Scottish audiences tend to just be so much fun, and to play to a sold out, raucous, pretty drunk Glaswegian crowd was special. When we came back from the interval, a guy had left shots of whisky on the stage for us. We called him up onstage later in the show to get him to play Kevin Keegan (don’t ask), and he was just so drunk he had no idea what was happening. And so were we. Because of the whisky.
TBR: The demand for the shows has been remarkable, with many selling out, and the reviews have been resoundingly positive. How did it feel knowing so many people wanted to come and see you in action (so to speak), live?
Luke: Yeah, it’s cool. It’s a different thing, the instant nature of having a crowd in front of you. We’ve had to work hard to make it its own entity, the theatre show. It’s not like a regular podcast at all really. That’s one thing I’d like to get across – when you come to see us live it’s not just like watching the live recording of a podcast. I feel like many people might think that’s what it is, but it isn’t.
But overall it’s amazing to see so many people making the effort to come out and see us. I really appreciate it. When you get downloads of the show it’s obviously great and we’re very appreciative, but it’s just numbers on the screen in front of you. To see people in the flesh is brilliant.
TBR: Like the live shows, the book has been a resounding success, debuting No.1 in the Amazon Sports Chart. Following such positive feedback, is a second publication in the pipeline?
Luke: That’s a question for PenguinRandomHouse! But I hope so – it’s been a rewarding and interesting experience. I’d love to do another one if we can settle on a good theme/subject.
TBR: What is the greatest opportunity that being involved with The Football Ramble has presented to you? Be it attending a sporting event, meeting a childhood hero, or something more general?
Luke: We’ve had lots of great opportunities because of the show, but the greatest pleasure is to be able to experience it all with some mates, whether that be at a World Cup or just in the studio having fun. It’s a privilege really – it beats working for a living, put it that way.
TBR: Producing a podcast, and getting it out there to a wide audience is no easy feat. What advice would you give to any of our readers currently working on/or hoping to start something of their own in the future?
Luke: Just work out what you’re doing and why, and put the audience at the centre of everything you can. And then stick at it – do it the same time and same day every week so people can rely on you. Radio/podcasts are supposed to be like a friend, and no-one likes a friend they can’t rely on.