I wouldn’t be writing at all if it wasn’t for GQ. And Jay Bothroyd.
I got my first ever proper commission in 2003, I think, when I pitched an idea about interviewing Jay. He’d just moved to Perugia in Italy. They were in Serie A and he would be the only Englishman in the league. But Perugia had a crazy chairman who got up to all sorts of mischief; Signing Colonel Gaddafi’s son, trying to sign a female player, sacking a South Korean player for scoring against Italy in the World Cup.
I met Jay in Chelsea. He was lovely, but I was nervous as hell. Still, they published it and I got away with it.
I’ve written a few things for them since, but this — seven years in the making — about the Port Said massacre in Egypt and the role of Al Ahly’s fans in the revolution is the article I’m proudest of.
And there was also this, the story of me being caught in a vicious anti-World Cup riot in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, last year.
I’m still waiting for my 10,000 word commission on how to tie a Windsor knot like Prince Harry, though…