CALVIN WADE INTERVIEW
If you’re a regular to #adored then you'll have probably already seen my reviews of two brilliant books by today's guest Calvin Wade.
Thanks Calvin for agreeing to do this interview today for #adored I appreciate that you’re a busy man trying to juggle family life, work and a full time job. Can I apologise in advance if some of the question are covered I the books I want to try and reach people who haven't read the books yet.
1. So Calvin my first question will be an easy one, when did you decide to become an author?
Hi Matthew My Mum and grandfather had always been involved in performing on stage. My grandfather, Ernie Mack, was an impresario who ran a lot of the old fashioned ‘club’ scene in Merseyside in the 1960s and 1970s, when families would go to clubs to see comedians, magicians, bands and cabaret acts. He was in a jazz band with Joe Royle’s father, (Joe Senior). My Mum sings and does a lot of stage acting. I couldn't sing, play an instrument or act so writing was my way of releasing the dramatic side of my character. I started attempting to write from my teens, but it wasn't until my thirties that I wrote a five minute monologue for Radio5 Live that was performed by Johnny Vegas. That gave me the confidence to sit down and write my first book, ‘Forever Is Over’.
2. Did you always intend to write a football book?
Not really! I wrote the first book thinking I would just get it out there and see the response. I wasn't sure if the ripple effect would get any further than friends and friends of friends, but luckily the interest snowballed and eventually it peaked in the Amazon Top 20 in the UK. I wrote a second book ‘Kiss My Name’ which has had really good reviews but not the same commercial success as ‘Forever Is Over’ so third time around, I was looking to do something different and that’s when I decided to do the football book.
3. How did the idea of the first book start out?
Throughout my life my Dad has always been heavily involved in football. Before I was born he had played in the 1967 FA Amateur Cup Final at Wembley and as a young child he was playing at Marine and then running the schoolboy teams at Everton (back in those days there was a reserve team, then an ‘A’ and ‘B’ team and he took the ‘A’ team or the ‘B’ team for about five seasons.) After that he did scouting work for Everton and then Oldham Athletic, so if we weren't watching Everton on a Saturday, we were going to a game somewhere else, either lower League or non-League. One season, when I was a teenager, we intended to go to every round from the First Round Proper to the Final, but we didn't see it through. I thought in 2013-14, it would be great to do the whole thing, all 14 rounds, from Extra Preliminary Round through to the Final, but follow the winners of each tie through to the next round and involve my Dad as much as possible (he was 70 last year and I wasn't sure if he still had the appetite). As it worked out, he came to every game bar one!
4. When you set out to write "Another Sunday and Sweet FA" was it always your intention to account the journey as a book or did the idea of turning your adventure into the book come later?
I always intended to document it, with the intention of turning it into a book. I thought if it ended up sounding boring, I would scrap the idea, but luckily with my Dad getting involved and meeting some other characters along the way, especially Alan Oliver (‘The Casual Hopper’), I felt it was a story worth telling.
5. When the FA cup adventure started was there ever a time that you thought you'd never make it through to the end of the FA?
With my Dad’s footballing connections, I always thought we would have a reasonable chance of getting tickets but we were also dependent on a kind draw. If, for example, Arsenal had played Manchester United in the Final, it may have been more of a struggle. With things being tight financially, if every round from the 1st Round Proper had seen us going to London or the South Coast, I may have found it difficult too.
6. It's no secret that things where tough for you and your family especially around the early stages of the book and that your wife was massively supportive towards you and your adventure but was there ever a time when that you worried that she'd stop being so supportive and make you stop the journey before the end?
It was definitely possible at the outset as we were sharing a car, I wasn't pulling in much money and with being a midwife, Alison, my wife, has to work shifts, which obviously include weekends and nights. If I hadn't managed to get a repping job in October 2013, which came with a car, the logistics may have become too complex and she may have rightfully pointed out that her job took priority over my footballing adventures. Thankfully it never came to that.
7. Considering your dad came to a lot of the games on the journey, do you think it brought you closer or have you always has a close relationship to your dad?
I have always had a close relationship with my Dad but since I have had boys of my own, we spend less time together just the two of us, so it did, in some sense, rekindle the old bond.
8. You met Alan and the two of you seem like you've become somewhat of a double act now, if you could pick a song to describe Alan what would it be?
As Alan is a unique character so ‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra springs to mind and also ‘Destiny Calling’ by James as in some ways Alan feels like it was fate that took him on this footballing journey and to raise money for ‘The Christie’.
9. Alan's fund raising for Christie's is such a selfless act, what made you decide to donate money for the sales of each of the books to Christie's?
Without meaning to sound like Smashy & Nicey, I have done a fair bit of charity fundraising in the past through arranging charity balls and running marathons. With being fairy skint, my monthly direct debits to charities had to stop and this was a way I could help again and ‘The Christie’ seemed like an excellent charity to get involved with.
10. In book two you and & Alan did the FA trophy journey and in "Brutal Giants" you seemed to have enjoyed the FA Trophy more than the FA cup one, would that be a fair statement? Why do you think that was the case especially as your a fan of a team that had a realistic a chance of actually winning the FA cup?
Hand on heart, I probably enjoyed both journeys equally for different reasons. The FA Cup journey was fantastic, it just lost a bit of personal impetus towards the end when Everton were knocked out and then from Alan’s perspective Manchester City were also knocked out in the Quarter’s the following day. Yet with the FA Trophy we followed North Ferriby United from the moment they joined the competition so it was wonderful to go to Wembley with their fans, some of whom we got to know pretty well.
11. At the end of "Brutal Giants" you said that a part of you will always be a "Villager" now that some time has passed since the events of the final do you still feel the same?
Yes. First and foremost, I am an Evertonian and Alan is a City fan, but we have a connection with North Ferriby United now. We have already been back twice since the FA Trophy win and intend to go across this season too (and also meet some of the fans when the play the likes of Chorley and FC United of Manchester).
12. So now that the "Sweet FA" series is going to be a trilogy, what are you expecting from the FA vase adventure?
All we have learnt so far is that football is unpredictable so we’ve no real idea what to expect. I am anticipating that we get more postponements this time around as the facilities at each club are not going to be quite as good as further up the pyramid.
13. Once that you have completed the trilogy what's next for Calvin & Alan? Have you ever considered a European adventure?
Alan has been to around 400 grounds but is curtailing his obsession from now on for personal reasons. We will no doubt meet up on a regular basis but there won't be any more footballing books after the Vase.
14. Last question Calvin, what the biggest thing you've learned about the beautiful game so far? And when the adventure ends what was the biggest highlight & likewise low point of the adventures?
The biggest highlight overall has been the opportunity to spend time with some fantastic football supporters, both old friends and new. On the footballing front, the highlight was seeing North Ferriby in every second of their FA Trophy campaign and the lowlight was probably reaching ‘The Mons’ pub shortly after Everton had beaten Swansea in the last 16, only to find out that we had been drawn away in the Quarter Finals to either Liverpool or Arsenal! I remember the sinking feeling that the dream final (Everton v Manchester City) had just become a lot less likely.
Calvin it's been an absolute pleasure reading your books and getting the opportunity to interview you today, I can honestly say that your books are brilliant funny and at times emotional. I am not sure if it was the intention but for me the books highlight was showing people what it is about football that makes people love it so much.
Thank you very much Matthew. Really appreciate all the support you have given me and my books.
Follow Calvin at www.calvinwade.com
Twitter Calvin Wade
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