Author interview – Calvin Wade

Posted in Authors, Books, FA Cup, Family life, Football with tags , , , , , on April 23, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

I first came across author Clavin Wade after reading his very enjoyable ‘Another Saturday & Sweet F.A’, where he follows a team from the very start of the FA Cup right through to the FA Cup final. He has since  written two more books covering the FA Trophy and FA Vase. If that wasn’t enough he has also written a series of fiction books! You can find out more about his books on his Amazon page.

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What inspired you to start writing and how did you manage to get your writing noticed

From the age of about 17 or 18, I was always writing things that I never finished and then one day, in 2006 (by which time I was 35) I was listening to Radio 5 Live and they were wanting listeners to write 5 minute monologues with a World Cup theme for Johnny Vegas, Sheridan Smith or Kwame Kwei-Armah from Casualty. I thought I could write a pretty funny one for Johnny Vegas so I wrote it flat out in about fifteen minutes and sent it off. Luckily the BBC liked it and it was the first entry to air with Johnny Vegas performing it. It was played on the first day of the World Cup and then again on a Christmas Day special. It was called ‘I Hate Football’ and it was about Johnny Vegas’ character hating football but then falling in love with a football mad lady who had a life sized poster of Wayne Rooney above their bed and every night he had to lift her up so she could kiss his fourth metatarsal better.

From that very small taste of success, I thought I could write a book so spent about three years writing a very long novel called ‘Forever Is Over‘. Initially, I just badgered friends and friends of friends to buy it and then word of mouth led to the Irish novelist Cathy Kelly hearing about it and she put me in touch with the directors of a London literacy agency called Curtis Brown. They ended up dropping me fairly quickly (as they were dealing with proper literary stars like Jojo Moyes) but they passed on some invaluable advice including to get my book on to Kindle as soon as possible and that’s when the hundreds of sales became tens of thousands of sales (unfortunately it never became hundreds of thousands or millions)!

Who would you say are authors you admire and why?

I have always liked writers who can tell a great tale without necessarily having to confuse me with long words. When I was in my twenties I loved John Irving’s books (I still do) and then writers like Nick Hornby and Tony Parsons came along when I was in my thirties and I found their stuff very readable. More recently I’ve really enjoyed Matthew Quick’s ‘The Silver Linings Play Book’.

You have written a number of fiction books. Which do you find easier to write, non-fiction or fiction?

I find non-fiction a million times easier to write than fiction! As a child I always kept a diary which was probably quite unusual for a boy. My non-fiction is probably just an extension of that. Grown up diary writing with a footballing theme. With fiction, I really need to be in the mood to write it and have to think hard about what direction I want things to go in and who would say what and why. With non-fiction, everyone else creates the events for me and I just write about them. I think I have probably overdone the footballing books now though and if I write another non-fiction book it will be horse racing or cricket.

How did  you meet up with Alan Oliver?

It was pure fate. I had decided to go to every round of the FA Cup and after the draw was made decided to start at West Didsbury & Chorlton v Abbey Hey. There were two reasons for this, firstly because I used to live in both West Didsbury & Chorlton as a student and secondly, because the winners were due to play Burscough, a team I had briefly played for. Alan had also decided to do every round that season and as a Mancunian had also decided to start at West Didsbury & Chorlton. 24 hours before the game, I read something on WD&C’s website about Alan so contacted him, we met up at the first game and have been mates since. Alan is a proper ‘groundhopper’ whilst I am just a football fan.

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Your books are very open about your personal life….

It’s very natural for me to be candid and I think the hardest bit is to hold back a little to avoid upsetting other people who may not be as candid as me. My wife, for example, is always telling me off for letting everyone know our business good or bad! My wife is, in many ways, a lot more private than I am, so I have to bear that in mind.

Highs and lows of Everton’s current season…

The highs from a general perspective has been Koeman turning around the gradual depressing slide under Roberto Martinez and returning to being a Top 7 side. Hopefully (even if Lukaku and Barkley go) we can build further on it next season. Seamus Coleman was having a great season which was a high but then his broken leg on international duty was the real low.

Who would  you like Everton to sign?

He has his critics but I think Joe Hart is a far better keeper than any of the four keepers on Merseyside at the moment so if we could afford him, I would like Hart. I would also like us to further strengthen the spine of the side, we will need a centre back (as Jags can’t go on forever), a central defensive midfielder (as the same applies to Gareth Barry) and a centre forward (as Lukaku wants to move on and I think there will be a bid to tempt him this summer).

Do you think non-League is undergoing a resurgence?

Non-League crowds remain healthy helped by a lot of people being priced out of Premier League fixtures. Personally I found the FA Trophy campaign just as enjoyable as the FA Cup and enjoy going to watch the likes of Southport, Chorley or North Ferriby United almost as much as watching Everton. In the North West though, it has been disappointing to see Southport, Burscough and Skelmersdale United all going through very difficult times.

Other Footy Stuff...

My eldest son is now an under 18 at Rochdale so I enjoy watching him (and my other son) play most of all. Tomorrow (I’m writing this on Friday 21st April) I am off down to Shrewsbury to watch Shrewsbury v Rochdale (u18s) which will be great. Whilst mentioning Rochdale, I’ve probably seen their first team six or seven times this season and enjoy the family feel they still manage to retain there. They also manage to punch above their weight so I’ve particularly enjoyed seeing them surprise a number of sides at Spotland. I am excited about next season as it will be my son’s last season in the Academy and I am hoping he can push on and earn himself a professional contract.

Book Links

mybook.to/calvinwfio

mybook.to/calvinwanothersat

Brighton & Pompey promoted; Johnson extends contract

Posted in Football, Stoke City FC, The Premiership, Transfer rumours with tags , , , , , , on April 19, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Brighton clinched promotion to the Premier League at the weekend, which will see a nice day trip down to the south coast for us next season. Looks like Newcastle will land the other automatic promotion spot, although both Reading and Huddersfield could catch them if they win all their remaining games and Newcastle slip-up.

Really pleased to see Portsmouth finally achieve promotion to League One. FA Cup winners in 2008 and then relegated from the Premier League in 2010 – not that long ago in the football world. It has taken them four seasons to escape League Two, a timely reminder to current Premier League fans of how a team can really drop like a stone. More recently we have Blackpool, who may clinch a play-off place in League Two, another team beset by off field problems that has seen the club on successive relegation’s since being relegated from the Premier League.

Stoke news and Glen Johnson has signed a one year extension to his current contract taking him up to the summer of 2018. Phil Bardsley and Charlie Adam are both awaiting news on whether their contracts will be renewed as both are out contract this summer.

 

 

Berahino drugs claim

Posted in Football, football transfers, Stoke City FC, The Premiership with tags , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Saido Berahino claims a spiked drink on a night our led to his recent drugs ban. He certainly didn’t enjoy his past couple of years at West Brom. Hopefully he will get on the score sheet this weekend away at Leicester.

Shaqiri look set to sit out the weekend again after picking up another knock whilst playing for Switzerland in the week. He could be another possible summer departure along with the likes of Bojan, Wolschied and Joselu.

One summer incoming transfer could be a season long loan of Chelsea starlet Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The Sentinel reported this in January and now the ‘Daily Mail’ have picked up on a possible summer move.

Unhappy Bony

Posted in Football, football transfers, Stoke City FC, The Premiership with tags , , , , , on March 14, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Wilfred Bony has said in the local press today he wonders why he joined Stoke City. To be fair, based on his performances since joining us on a season long loan form Man City, the majority of Stoke fans are wondering exactly the same! He was superb at Swansea, however he has not really clicked at either Man City or with us. With the signing of Berahino he is not even making the bench at the moment and safe to say we won’t be signing him in the summer.

Better news with Ibrahim Afellay signing an extension to his contract which was due to run out in the summer. Should be a busy summer with a number of players out of contract, including Stephen Ireland and Shay Given, neither of whom look likely to be offered new deals.

Stoke-on-Trent City of Culture bid 2021

Posted in News, Stoke City, Stoke City FC with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

My home town of Stoke-on-Trent is one of the hopeful cities bidding to be the 2021 UK City of Culture. Cities have till the end of January to register interest, with final bids due by the end of April. A shortlist will be announced in July and the winning city in December.Cities involved along with Stoke are Sunderland, Cardiff, Coventry, Hereford, Perth and Paisley.

Background:

UK City of Culture is a title given to a city in the United Kingdom whereby the city creates a national cultural event programme for one year. The initiative is administered and judged by the UK government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It aims to celebrate culture and bring a number of significant social and economic benefits to an area. It is a hard fought competition that is entered by several cities in the UK. The title is awarded once every four years.

The programme aims to:

  1. Encourage the use of culture and creativity as a catalyst for change.
  2. Promote the development of new partnerships.
  3. Encourage ambition, innovation and inspiration in cultural and creative activity.
  4. Align the cultural excellence of national arts organsiations to support the year with cultural highlights that will attract media attention, encourage national tourism and change perceptions.

The first title holder of the award was Derry Londonderry in 2013. In 2017, Hull will take up the title.

Didcot Town 2-3 Taunton Town

Posted in Stoke City FC with tags , , , , , , on March 8, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

I blame my former work colleague Scott as he tweaked my interest in non-league football after extolling the joys of following Slough Town. So having recently moved to Didcot I thought it was a good excuse to see my new local team in action. They play in the Evo-Stik Division One South & West league, which is currently topped by former league club Hereford Utd (who caused trouble with a pitch invasion at Didcot the previous weekend). Driving to the ground I was looking out for the bright lights of the ground and nearly turned into the local Tesco delivery warehouse. However, I did make it to the ground and it is impressive with a fairly new clubhouse/bar and decent seating area. There is a covered standing area and more seating behind one goal plus a tea hut! Their nicknames are the Railwaymen (like Crewe and they also play in red tops like them) and Diddy (I assume after the town and not a tribute to Ken Dodd!).

Form wise Didcot have drawn one and lost five in their previous six games, whilst Taunton are the exact opposite, five wins and a draw in their last six games. Didcot took an early lead through Joyce, although Taunton had equalised by half time. Pretty evenly matched in the first half and there is a lot more aerial/hoofing of the ball – Tony Pulis would be in his element watching some of this game. Second half saw Didcot take the lead again with a penalty put away by Whitehead. It was short lived as Taunton equalised, had a penalty saved and finally got the winner with some ten minutes to spare. Hard result on Didcot, although the result did run to current form.

An enjoyable game and glad I was located near the Didcot old boys who provided lots of entertainment with their quips. Taunton had a dozen or so fans in the 96 official attendance and they were a lively and noisy lot. They don’t seem to like Yeovil Town much 🙂 Their number five is a big lad, reminding me of the former Stoke player and kebab lover Jon Parkin.

Andy Ballard is the manager of Didcot and spent a lot of his career at Oxford City, plus a spell at Slough Town. The players have mainly played previously in local non-league teams like Oxford City, although Callum McNish has played for Exeter City and Southampton youth team, and you can see that is some of his on the ball trickery.

So along with my first love Stoke City, I can add Didcot Town to teams I follow along with Crewe and East Fife.

Glandular fever #6

Posted in Family life, Glandular fever, Stoke City FC with tags , , on March 7, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Week 24 in the Glandular Fever (GF) House! Well if my poor sense of humour is coming back then I must be getting back to some sort of normality 🙂

In the past few weeks have had a few relapses where I have felt really ill with GF, however as I now know what is coming I know how to deal with it a bit better. It is about pushing yourself but within limits as it can make you more ill. Good advice here on the Patient forum. Knowing that fine balance takes some time and although I am still fatigued/exhausted at the end of each day I take heart in the fact I have done a little more or achieved a goal I set e.g. going to my first gig last weekend since last summer.

Having good support from loved ones, family and friends is a big boost as well. GF is a very strange illness in that medicines can’t help it, just a good balance of vitamins, healthy food (with the odd cake 🙂 ) and rest helps. Unfortunately some people with GF can develop chronic fatigue syndrome/ME (NHS Direct puts it as high as 1 in 10) and that requires a whole different series of medical and practical steps. My then girlfriend, now wife, helped me push through the barrier if you like to prevent this happening to me which was a real possibility back in November last year. Take control of GF and not let it control you, not easy believe you me but doable.

I am keeping positive, trying to keep the stress low (stress is one of the biggest triggers in GF and it reoccurring ) and enjoying/appreciating everyday things in life more.