Schadenfreude isn’t Germany’s new Centre Forward: half time report from the 2014 Brazil World Cup.

It might not be quite 73 – nil yet here in the 2014 Brazil World Cup but all the signs are shaping up for a massive upset in the knock out stages of the draw.  

You might remember how our heroic team settled some old scores in Bogota before heading south to join the glitterati, chatterati and flitterati of the world’s footballing elite. They learned early on to become a permanent surprise to their opposition – the guerilla in their midst – whilst experiencing the benefits of living the high footballing life in Rio de Janeiro and Copacabanana Beach.

We’ve seen how they had to reluctantly forego a life of aimless wandering and buckle down to their first big challenge: their first run out onto the hallowed pitch of a World Cup stadium.

But it’s not all cocktails at dawn: we’ve seen the disappointment etched on their faces when their players have not been picked for the national team, and can only admire their stoicism when it comes to carrying that heavy load.

And in true World Cup style, one man’s victorious lap of the stadium is another’s collapse into the depths of despair out in the car park.  Galacticos may be superstars but they can crumble at a moments notice like any two bit player.  Schadenfreude isn’t Germany’s newest centre forward but a freelancing libero who trips up all who underestimate his innate athletic ability and causes fear and shame whenever he may roam.

But in true heroic style, our team has faced down its foes, spoken truth to power and stood up for the rights of the common people, even when it’s involved some ritual humiliation.

And now at the half time break, we’re poised for some more scintillating action from some of the world’s legendary footballers.  They’ll be asked searching questions in the second half such as, just who did poisen the hotel’s axolotls? And do you really have to be fully match fit and physically intact to play at this level? And is there really no ‘me’ in team?

Join us for the second half of the Brazilian  World Cup and follow our heroes every step of the way!  We’ll be back after this break.

Want to catch up with the action as it happened? Check out our NOP-I-Player podcasts here.

Confessions of an Ageing Football Player: Brazil 2,014 – My Team 2,015

73 – nil! Those were the days: moments of glory on the school playing field on a foggy Wednesday afternoon when the final whistle went and your school mates would gather around you, beaming their small faces at you from every conceivable direction as they congratulated you fulsomely on the 23 hat tricks you had  just completed in your team’s undeniable slaughter of the opposition.

The juniors from Mrs. Myrtle’s class were never going to stand up to the superior fire power of Mr. Thompsons 4th years and your part in their downfall was heralded as the natural climax of a long and muddy school football season.

In those days, England had won the World Cup for the first (and only?) time and the nation rejoiced rejoiced rejoiced. We became our football heroes overnight and in the course of that fateful autumn season when I moved primary schools seven times, I was able to become Roger Hunt, Nobby Stiles, Bobby Moore, Martin Peters, George Cohen, George Best and Jimmy Greaves in six short months -playing footie with mates in a school classroom, at the park, in the garage, in a potato field, down an anonymous dirt track, in the kitchen and even once on a proper football field. We all became our own heroes overnight and never looked back, plotting our own way to football fame and fortune ever since.

We have of course all gone our different ways: Roger disappeared into medical supplies, George Best into pub management and Jeff Hurst into the funerals business: but me, I stayed lean and mean, waiting for the next major football opportunity. World Cups have come and go but I feel it in my bones: Brazil 2014 may just be the one where I make my mark and relive the joy of 23 hat tricks against the juniors.

Neymar, Messi, Oxlade Chamberlain: you have all been warned. This year is my year.

Confessions of an Ageing Football Player is out now, just in time for the Qatar 2022 World Cup! You can order your copy here.

You can listen to all the episodes of the Ageing Football Player Podcast here!

BBC Radio Nottingham interview: hear all about us!

The Andy Whittaker Show

A brief introduction to Confessions of an Ageing Football Player, the Confessions series and life’s rich tapestry.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of Confessions of an Ageing Football Player in time for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, you can do so here.

Lend us your ears for our Confessions of an Ageing Football Player Podcasts!

That’s right, starting on 20 November we’ll be broadcasting every day via out Anchor Podcast episodes. You can listen to them here.

The podcasts will involve readings from the book, and will quite possibly involve some surprise guests!

If you’d like to tune in, just register your interest with us here and we’ll make sure you’re sent the necessary link:


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Out now! JIT for Qatar 2022! Confessions of an Ageing Football Player

73 – nil! Those were the days: moments of glory on the school playing field on a foggy Wednesday afternoon when the final whistle went and your school mates would gather around you, beaming their small faces at you from every conceivable direction as they congratulated you fulsomely on the 23 hat tricks you have just completed in your team’s undeniable slaughter of the opposition…

Confessions of an Ageing Footballer relives those glorious early footballing moments – but just in time for the Qatar 2022 World Cup!

Just what’s around that next corner? It’s behind you… book review of ‘Wild Guesses and Dreams’ by Rick Hoegberg.

In the years Before Covid, Before the Credit Crunch and even before Punk, there was the summer of 1973: the time when we young boys would skive off PE lessons, be oblivious to girls and the state of the nation and muse: what lies beyond Watford?

Fast forward through the next 50 years and whilst the names and faces, the times and places may differ from continent to continent and from generation to generation, what binds us all, wherever we are in our world, are the big existential questions we all face as we grow up: who am I? Where am I from? Where am I going?  What does my future hold?  What’s just around that corner?

Rick Hoegberg’s book, Wild Guesses and Dreams is set within the comforting rural and fading industrial landscapes of the British Canal system of the early 1970s.  It charts the unsteady courses that Rick and his chums navigate to answer these questions which they do by building a small cabin cruiser, Zehranadilla, and then setting out on various intrepid adventures, ostensibly to ask, what lies beyond Watford? 

Hoegberg retells many charming and alarming incidents from the voyages of Zehranadilla, and deftly paints what life was like in the not so fast lane for the lads and lasses in those halcyon 70s days when the oil crisis and national strikes were just whispers in the wind, to be given no more consideration than the question of where the next beer was coming from. 

But more than just a youthful travelogue revolving around copious underage drinking, nautical mechanical challenges and fending off hostile swans, the book also explores in its own wistful way how friendships grow and fade and how young people can develop agency and begin to control their own destiny in a world which is so easily disrupted by adults: whether they be well meaning parents, obsessively disciplinarian teachers or canal workers intent on doing no more, no less than their jobs are worth.

By now, we young people of Hoegberg’s generation are reaching the age – if we’ve survived – where we’re asking ourselves, what did we do with our time then? Did it enable us to find out who we were, where we were going and what was just around our corners? Or did we let those moments slip by, ignorant to the opportunities that life presented to us sometimes from the most unexpected directions?

A deceptively innocent exploration of the questions Hoegberg and his school chums asked of themselves in those BC times, Wild Guesses and Dreams prompts us all to understand our pasts better to ensure the young people we see growing up before us are better able to answer those questions for themselves. 

Our BC Years are soon turning into their LWC (Living with Covid) Years and they will all need all the help they can get to prepare for what’s behind them, in front of them and around those increasingly threatening corners.

Wild Guesses and Dreams is available on Amazon here.

This Courting Life: how to deal with the ‘L’ word

My next book, dear reader, builds on the stellar success of my first publication.

Where my first volume gave you invaluable instructions on how to win at Dumbledon, develop a personality and lead your local club to previously unimaginable heights, my second volume in what is shaping up to be a truly encyclopaedic compendium of skills, insights and wisdom from the outer reaches of the tennis universe, focuses on the even harder challenge: the second grand slam.

It also offers some seriously sought after advice  on perhaps the most elusive of all holy grails: the mysteries of the heart.

Philosophers have mused lyrical, musicians have waxed musically and scientists continue to try in vain to define the phenomenon of that thing that beats erratically under our Fred Perry singlets with their data, spreadsheets and formulae about the mysteries of the L word, but it is fair to say that none have come close to the experiences of the ageing tennis player.

There may be musical scientific philosophers who have applied the might of their unique knowledge to the L question but I am oblivious to them.

There is nothing quite like hearing about the experiences of the ageing tennis player when it comes to the L word and this book, dear reader, is guaranteed to transform your life (for the better) when it comes to assessing your prospects in the L department.

So, let’s continue our journey together with the immortal and prescient ‘Love All’.

Next stop: Melbourne!

The Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player: meet the creative team

“Tennis belongs to the individualistic past – a hero, or at most a pair of friends or lovers, against the world.”  (Jacques Barzun)

What we’re raising funds for

Having successfully published our first book, Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player in 2021, we are now following this up with the book’s sequel, The Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player,  which follows the trials and tribulations, the dreams and delusions of the central character, Lord Andrew John Paul George Ringo Murray of Kirkintilloch.

We’re building on the successful creative collaboration with our illustrator, Paul Warren, and further develop our audiences and readers and build a series of ‘Confessions’ books which simultaneously entertain and provoke audiences across the world.

One day, we’d like to see the books cross over to film or television: and we’d love it if you were part of that journey!

But we need financial support to turn our text and images into a professionally designed and produced high quality, full colour paperback book, utilising the services of our designers, Creative Triangle and their printing team.  Financial support will also enable us to promote the book to existing and new audiences and help catapault the books into an exciting new future!

If you’d like to invest in the project, please visit our Kickstarter crowdfunding page here.

There are plenty of rewards available, whether you want to invest just a fiver or push the boat out and name the launch of the book after yourself or your loved ones!

The Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player: launching on 1 February 2022

We’re delighted to let you know that the creative team that bought you Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player will be launching the sequel on 1 February!

Get ready for The Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player!

Court Life: GOATS on a plane

I awoke with a start. My flight to Melbourne was finally being called and the assembled herd of tennis goats who had been kicking around impatiently in the waiting lounge finally stirred their stumps and joined a ramshackle queue, nudging, snorting and shuffling their way forward, keen to get on the plane before anyone else.  Even off court, they could not resist the competitive urge to be first on board, first in their seats and first to order their free inflight Pimms.

“Let’s face it, nothing can substitute for just plain hard work. I had to put in the time to get back. And it was a grind,” complained Andre Agassi to Billie Jean King.  She nodded, sympathetically, kicking her tennis bag along the floor as the queue slowly shuffled forwards.

(More here…)

The Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player: The Bird Sightings. The ‘Confessions’ Sports Player Series

In which tennis ornithologist, Mrs Hacienda Buscando Stanley Carter (aka Phoebe Snetsinger) first observes Lord A.J.P.G.R. Murray in the field and makes her first fatal mistake. #AusOpen2023 #AndyMurray #PhoebeSnetsinger #LiverpoolTennisClub #SerenaWilliams You can read all about the prequel to this story Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player here. Or you can order your copy of The Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player here.
  1. The Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player: The Bird Sightings.
  2. The Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player: Episode 15 – Bird Sighting 5
  3. The Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player: Chapter 14 – Bird Sighting 4.
  4. The Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player: Chapter 13 – Bird Sighting 3.
  5. The Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player: Chapter 12 – Bird Sighting 2.
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