No one likes Millwall. They don't care. But what does it really take to be a part of this team, or a supporter? A British Sports Books Awards 2011 nominee, Michael Calvin's Family provides a unique glimpse into the soul of a real football club. Award-winning sports writer Calvin follows Millwall through an emotional promotion season. There for the first day of training, he was on the substitutes' bench at Wembley, 333 days later. He vividly portrays players and management as family men, close to their roots. In captain Paul Robinson's words : 'We're playing for the people who hate their jobs, who'd love our lives.' Forget the glitz of the Premier League - this is the beautiful game in all its raucous glory. Intimate and compelling, Calvin's unforgettable picture of lower-league English football is essential reading for anyone for whom football is far more than just a game.
I could go all corporate on you, and describe myself as an award-winning sportswriter who developed a significant secondary career in performance management, strategic communications and socially-responsive sports programming.
But, truth be told, I'm a hack, down to my scuffed trainers. I've been lucky, working in more than 80 countries, watching the great, and not-so great, events of world sport.
It helps that I'm a sucker for a project.
That's propelled me the wrong way around the planet, as a crew member on a global yacht race against prevailing winds and tides. It has pitched me into politically incorrect car rallies, around the Amazon basin and Arctic circle.
I sank the only powerboat I was allowed to drive, but felt out of my depth only once. That was at a surfing contest in Vietnam, where the Buddhist priests, in their saffron robes, did a roaring trade in "exotic" cigarettes.
Like all experienced reporters, I made my excuses and left......
Most of these outrages were committed during a twelve year spell as chief sports writer on the Daily Telegraph. I've held similar positions at The Times and Mail on Sunday, and am currently chief sports writer on the Independent on Sunday.
My Mum will tell you I've twice been named Sports Reporter of the Year, and have collected the Sportswriter and Sports Journalist of the Year award. I've featured at the British Press awards on seven occasions, and been honoured for my coverage of sport for the disabled.
My peers in the Press box thought I was mad when I took a five year sabbatical from journalism to help set up and run the English Institute of Sport, which provides scientific, medical and strategic support to 35 Olympic sports.
They were probably right.
My first book, Family: Life, Death and Football, was nominated as football book of the year in 2011. My latest book, The Nowhere Men, has been hailed by the Bookseller as " a strong candidate " for this year's William Hill Sports Book of the Year prize.
It is a study of football scouts, which has had fantastic reviews. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it.