|Cass Pennant, Bill Routledge and me|
Bill is the first author for my new book publishing venture. He's a good mate of my brother-in-law Dave Tinkler and we were introduced after his last book, Waiting for Glory came out. It's incredible to think how far we've come since we first met four years ago for a drink and a chat about possibly working together on me helping him curate a collection of stories about the fashion around football culture, something we're both drawn to.
Now that we've published Northern Monkeys I can say with full confidence that I count Bill as a friend. I wouldn't have done so had I not met my side of the bargain and published a product I was proud of did to do true justice to all the hard work and graft he's put in to it.
In the foreword to the book he thanks me first, acknowledging my support on a sometimes lonely road. That means a hell of a lot as the world can be full of trickery and people who let you down. It also tells you something of the effort required to produce such a weighty tome. I hope I can live up to that respect. But what struck me about Bill is his own personal sense of honour. It shines through not only the honest writing, the fulsome accounts of life in the world he has inhabited, but also the deep trust he's managed to secure with such a staggering breadth of people from so many walks of life.
At the Fanatic Live event last week at the National Football Museum his wife Jackie was reflecting on all of this and on how different we were, but I don't see it like that. I'm always drawn to people who are curious and interested in things. Bill is like that. He reads widely, takes on a lot of different influences and never stops learning.