What first inspired you to write books? At the time I began writing Outcasts, I had been a journalist for well over a decade and a freelance for a good few years. I wanted to do something different rather than the constant treadmill of shifts or filling in features, something longer term.
Outcasts! The Lands That FIFA Forgot talks about many territories and states not affiliated to FIFA, do you feel that it is unfair that they do not get a chance to play football at a higher level? Some teams in the book like Occitania are cultural hubs. I was never suggesting every team in the book should be a member of FIFA, although some people seemed to think that I was. At others like Greenland, what I was trying to highlight was that they merited some assistance that they clearly were not getting. I think that has - to some degree - been recognised. FIFA got both FAs in Cyprus talking, provided U$D400,000 of the U$D500,000 cost of a desperately needed artificial pitch in Greenland & agreed to regulate transfers in Kosovo without accepting Kosovo as a member. I doubt Outcasts had anything to do with that, but those were clearly problems & ones that FIFA have tried to address.
How serious would you say some of these Non-FIFA nations are about their footballing aspirations? Kosovo, very. If/when they are accepted into FIFA and get the help with infrastructure that is needed, they will have a good side. Look at Montenegro now and their population is a quarter of the size of Kosovo. Of the others, Gibraltar appear not to have given up on FIFA membership but what places like Gibraltar & Greenland seemed to want was help, to be part of international football, not to start playing World Cup qualifiers & entering club sides in the Champions League straight away.
Do you have any preferences out of all the Non-FIFA nations? As a journalist, I try to stay independent but the Greenlanders were always very friendly when I met them & seemed to be losing out because of political issues that had nothing to do with them.
What does the future hold for you in journalism and writing as a whole? More places than ever to write for, fewer than ever that pay.....
Would you be able to reveal any plans for a new book? I've just ghostwritten an autobiography for a former international rugby union player. I would like to do another book, still thinking though.
Would you personally like to see Great Britain field a team featuring players from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland? I don't really feel qualified to answer that. In GB United, I tried to write about what had happened in the past with the old team, the political schisms then and also the experiences that the players that the old team had, like being made to shake Hitler's hand or mixing with famous athletes such as Emil Zatopek & Muhammad Ali, and also that whole world that existed then of amateurism/shamateurism.
Do you think 2011 has been a year of crisis for world football? It's certainly perceived as one in England/Britain. Other parts of the world may not feel the same.
Do you think Grassroots football has improved since you were a kid? I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer that, but what seems to have gone is respect for the referee. The FA are trying to address that because without refs, the whole concept of grassroots football will suffer.
Are their any young players that you think have a good chance of becoming stars? Lots of young English players seem to be coming through, a first XI starting place in the Premier League is not always so easy to get though.
I would like to thank Steve a lot for this interview, since he has given up an amount of his free time to have an interview with a new and obscure blog. It is also good to know that many of the Non-FIFA nations are now getting the recognition they deserve.