Stuff by Paul Brown

Selected Articles

The Snowdrop: Lost in the Arctic (Shorthand, April 2024)
The Ghost of Mecklenburgh Street (Singular Discoveries, Oct 2023)
The Titanic Rescue (Singular Discoveries, July 2023)
Thirty-Two Days Adrift (Singular Discoveries, May 2023)
The Dog and the Dinosaur (Medium: Longium, Apr 2023)
The Man Who Rode the Bear (Singular Discoveries, Feb 2023)
Death of an Angel: Did a White Cop Shoot a Black Guardian Angel? (Medium: Longium, Jan 2023)
The Tombstone Pterodactyl (Singular Discoveries, Dec 2022)
The Plot to Blow Up the Tyne Bridge (Singular Discoveries, Nov 2022)
The Forgotten History of Newcastle United FC (Medium: Soccer Stories, Nov 2021)
Post-War Boom (FourFourTwo, Aug 2021)
The Bank Robbers Who Couldn't Shoot Straight (Narratively, July 2021) (PDF)
The Undercover Cricketers (Wisden's The Nightwatchman, Jun 2021)
The Female Horse Thief (Medium: Longium, Jan 2021)
The Man Who Stole the FA Cup (FourFourTwo, Feb 2021)
Bottoms Up: Football's Literal Wooden Spoon (When Saturday Comes, Jan 2021)
The Bus Driver Who Tried to Catch the Loch Ness Monster (Narratively, Dec 2020) (PDF)
The Lintz Green Station Murder (Medium: Longium, Dec 2020)
The Lost Pirate of Blackbeard's Golden Age (Medium: Longium, July 2020)
25 Things We Loved About Mexico 70 (FourFourTwo, Jul 2020)
How Four Americans Robbed The Bank of England (Longreads, June 2020)
The Football Hypnotist (When Saturday Comes, Feb 2020)
George Best And The Soccer Battle Of The Sexes (Deadspin, Dec 2019)
The Football War (FourFourTwo, Dec 2019)
The Killing of Tommy Ball (FourFourTwo, Nov 2019)
The Team That Survived the Chernobyl Disaster (FourFourTwo + Podcast, Sept 2019)
Millwall Panorama: A Good Game of Football a Good Punch-Up a Good Piss-Up (FourFourTwo, Aug 2019)
The Kidnapping of Alfredo Di Stefano (FourFourTwo, Jul 2019)
The Man Who Walked His Life Away (Deadspin, June 2019)
Harry Trainer: International Footballer and Jewel Thief (Blizzard + Guardian, June 2019)
Football's First Websites: Meet the Internet Pioneers (FourFourTwo, Mar 2019)
The Kidnapping of Jimmy Hill (FourFourTwo, Nov 2018)
The Untold Story of the Wrong World Cup (FourFourTwo, Aug 2018, PDF)
The Jules Rimet Mystery (When Saturday Comes, Aug 2018, PDF)
Hell for Leather: The 1930 World Cup Ball Mystery (When Saturday Comes, Jun 2018)
Gonzo Soccer: George Plimpton and the Tampa Bay Rowdies (FourFourTwo, March 2018, PDF)
For Old Times' Sake: The Preston Invincibles Reunion Match (When Saturday Comes, Feb 2018)
Alf Doig’s Gold Rush (Nutmeg, Dec 2017 + Medium)
Johnny and Jimmy: The Contrasting Fortunes of Two Victorian Football Stars (The Blizzard, Dec 2017)
Coining a Phrase: The Origins of "the Beautiful Game" (When Saturday Comes, Jul 2017)
The Footballer Who Got Away With Murder (Blizzard + Guardian, Dec 2016)
The Last Voyage of Daniel Collins (Medium, Oct 2016)
Football Wikipedia: Meet the Men Who Keep It up to Date (FourFourTwo, Sep 2016)
Islington Corinthians: Football's First World Tour (FourFourTwo, May 2016)
The Mermaid Hunter Who Invented Football (Howler, Apr 2016 + Medium)
Football Chants: The Origins of Fans' Favourite Songs (FourFourTwo, Mar 2016)
Elephant Football: A Victorian Football Sensation (When Saturday Comes, Feb 2016, PDF)
Inside Out: Britain’s First Indoor Football League (Guardian + When Saturday Comes, Oct 2015)
Two Carrier Pigeons Required (Guardian + When Saturday Comes, Mar 2015)
Burgers With Muhammad Ali (Sports Illustrated: The Cauldron, Jul 2014)
The Amazing Archie Goodall: "Nothing So Extraordinary Ever Seen!" (FourFourTwo, Apr 2014)
Football on Christmas Day (FourFourTwo, Jan 2014)
Tour De Force: Newcastle's Epic 1949 US and Canada Tour (The Guardian+ When Saturday Comes, Aug 2013)
The Witches’ Circle (Stuff, Oct 2012 + Medium)
How to Turn iPhone App Ideas Into Cash (The Guardian, May 2009)
The Ebook Format War (The Guardian, Apr 2009)
Online Music and the Beatles Gap (The Guardian, Apr 2009)
The Death of the Download (The Guardian, Jan 2009)
Rocket Man’s Flight of Fancy (The Guardian, Oct 2008)
How to Be a Website Flipper (The Guardian, Sep 2008)
The Mystery of Flight 574 (Sunday Herald Magazine, April 2007)
The World's Scariest Painting (Sunday Herald Mag, Oct 2003) (republished Singular Discoveries)
Jetpack Murder Mystery (Jack, July 2003)
Earlier bylines: Loaded, Jack, Front, Better Business, Bitterwallet, Boys Toys, Code…

Stuff by Paul Brown

Out of Print Books

The Victorian Football Miscellany
Goal-Post: Victorian Football Vols 1&2
Unofficial Football World Champions
Balls: Tales From Football’s Nether Regions
Black and White Army: A Season Supporting Newcastle United

Savage Enthusiasm

Savage Enthusiasm

A History of Football Fans

Paul Brown

The complete history of watching football, from the very earliest days of the game, via golden ages and troubled times, through to the present day.

"A splendid new book by an always exemplary researcher" - Sports Journalists’ Association

“An excellent read, rich in anecdotes and explanation” - Game of the People

Imprint: Goal Post
Non-fiction: Football, History
Paperback, 9780995541221
Also available as an eBook

From the cover:

Being a football fan is both a privilege and a burden. When you’re winning, it’s the best thing on Earth, and when you’re not, it’s the end of the world. And the thing about being a football fan is, whichever way fortune swings, you’re stuck with the game and your team for life. We’ve come to accept the great hold football has on us. But how did this happen? How did we become so entirely wrapped up in the game? How did we become football fans?Savage Enthusiasm traces the evolution of the football fan from the sport’s earliest origins right up to the present day, exploring how football became the world’s most popular spectator sport, and why it became the undisputed game of the people. The history of the football fan is also a social history, a political history, a history of the media, and a history of the game itself. Primarily, though, it’s a history of people going out to watch their teams, win or lose, then going back again and again. It’s a celebration of watching football, dedicated to anyone who has ever had their heart gladdened or saddened by the game.


“A very decent, impeccably sourced, primer on what has happened to fans down the ages” – When Saturday Comes“Predictably excellent… a breezy run through the fan’s experience and at its heart the notion of football’s irresistibility – why did the sport become such a behemoth, beloved by millions?” – The Two Unfortunates“A splendid new book by [an] always exemplary researcher” – Sports Journalists’ AssociationSavage Enthusiasm is littered with golden nuggets” – The Football Pink“A welcome addition to the social history of football support” – Martin Cloake / Medium

“An excellent read, rich in anecdotes and explanation” – Game of the People“An important addition to efforts that seek to put a history of football fans on a par with the well-written histories of players, owners and administrators to form a complete picture of a sport that is so dominant in our culture” – Sports books of the year – Irish ExaminerMore coverage:
“A shot in time shows what it means to be a fan” – Daily Mail
“The evolution of the football fan – and what it says about the game” – i News
“It’s often a frustrating existence, so why do so many of us become football fans?” – Newcastle Chronicle
“Being a football fan is both a privilege and a burden” – Derby Telegraph

Rocketbelt Caper

The Rocketbelt Caper

A True Tale of Invention, Obsession and Murder

Paul Brown

When three men set out to build a jetpack-style flying machine, their obsession with the Rocketbelt 2000 shattered their friendship and set in motion an astonishing chain of events involving theft, deception, kidnapping, a ten million dollar lawsuit, and a brutal murder.

‘A delight to read. Genuinely stranger than fiction. Recommended.’ – Popular Science UK

Imprint: Superelastic
Non-fiction: True Crime, Technology
Paperback, ISBN 9780956227003
Also available as an ebook

From the cover:

"We finished the rocketbelt, and from then on there was murder, kidnapping, and all kinds of other stuff." - Brad BarkerWhen three men set out on a quest to build a real-life Buck Rogers-style flying machine, their obsession with the Rocketbelt 2000, or "Pretty Bird", shattered their friendship and set in motion an astonishing chain of events involving theft, deception, assault, a bizarre kidnapping, a ten million dollar lawsuit and a horrifically brutal murder. This book also reveals the secret history of the flying jetpack, involving Nazi scientists, James Bond, and the US Army. From sci-fi to reality, this is the incredible true story of the amazing rocketbelt.

Rocketbelt Caper Back


‘A delight to read. Genuinely stranger than fiction. Recommended.’ – Popular Science UK‘The story has all the markings of a Hollywood blockbuster, and is a bizarrely unforgettable read.’ – The Crack‘A can’t-put-it-down murder mystery that shows how obsession and betrayal can lead people to commit dastardly deeds.’ – General Aviation News‘Reads like good movie material.’ – BBC Focus

‘There’s probably a Tarantino movie in this somewhere.’ – Fortean Times‘Begins with a brief history of rocketbelts that’s probably the best ever in print.’ – Beam Jockey‘This book is a must have.’ – Airwalker Society of Rocketbelt EnthusiastsSelected as one of ShortList magazine’s 25 greatest summer reads.Featured on The Dollop podcast.

Read an extract: Murder, Kidnapping and All Kinds of Other Stuff

Victorian Football Miscellany

The Victorian Football Miscellany

Stories and trivia from football’s earliest years

Paul Brown

An exhaustively-researched collection of interesting, amusing and eye-opening stories, facts, and statistics from the earliest days of football.

“One of the greatest books ever written about football since Charlie Buchan put down his pen!” – Danny Baker

Imprint: Goal Post
Non-fiction: Sport, Football, History
Paperback, ISBN 9780956227058
Out of print

The Victorian Football Miscellany is an exhaustively-researched collection of interesting, amusing and eye-opening stories, facts, and statistics from the earliest days of football. The book highlights milestones from the the birth of football, and profiles leading Victorian clubs and players. There are tales of hacking, own goals, penalty kicks, and shinpads, not to mention dynamite, elephants, murders, and riots. The book contains more than 200 entries presented in chronological order, which, although by definition miscellaneous, add up to provide a pretty thorough history of Victorian football.As featured in FourFourTwo and When Saturday Comes, and on the BBC Radio 5 Live Danny Baker Show, BBC Radio 4 Pick of the Week, and the BT Sport TV show Baker & Kelly’s VSPO.

From the cover:

The Victorian Football Miscellany is a quirky and fascinating collection of trivia, facts and anecdotes from football’s earliest years. Delve into an absorbing world of ox-bladder balls, baggy-kneed knickerbockers and outstanding moustaches, and read remarkable tales of the first ever cup final, the invention of the shinpad, the evolution of dribbling, the first own goal and a seemingly-invincible penalty-taking elephant. Other entries cover the foundation of the Football Association, the development of the Laws of the Game and the origins of football’s most popular clubs. Packed with biographies, profiles and lists, this is an indispensable guide to the colourful and unusual world of 19th century football.


“One of the greatest books ever written about football since Charlie Buchan put down his pen! Absolutely spectacular, mesmerising.” - Danny Baker, BBC Radio 5“The colourful transitions the game went through to become the beast we know today are endlessly fascinating. This book doesn’t set out to tell the story in dense, sober detail, opting instead to present itself as a hugely entertaining exercise in eavesdropping.” - When Saturday Comes"Fascinating stuff and gives a wonderful insight into how football began in the UK.” - The Football Attic"The game that was played before the close of the nineteenth century is brought to life in Paul Brown’s excellent anecdoctal book." - England Football Online

“Compiling hundreds of histories, oddities and match reports – bizarre rule changes, 19th century floodlight failures – it’s all here. Four stars.” - FourFourTwo“As the FA celebrates its 150th anniversary, this book is a cracking insight into those pioneering days; a veritable cornucopia of eclectic Victorian footballing splendour!” - Football Book Reviews“An extremely readable book. Brown has a thorough yet light-hearted approach to the subjects he covers.” - *
The Blue & White*
"A charming new book." - Derby Telegraph"A cornucopia of sports miscellany." - Sports Journalists' Association

Victorian Football Miscellany

All With Smiling Faces

How Newcastle Became United, 1881-1910

Paul Brown

A wander through the forgotten early history of Newcastle United to discover how the football club came to mean so much to so many.

“I loved it!” - Ant McPartlin

Imprint: Goal Post
Non-fiction: Sport, Football, History
Paperback, ISBN 9780956227089
Also available as an ebook

All With Smiling Faces takes a wander through the early history of Newcastle United to discover how the club came to mean so much to so many. The book covers the club’s first 30 years, from foundation in 1881 to FA Cup triumph in 1910, and explores how Newcastle became successful and built up its loyal support.The title is taken from the lyrics of Blaydon Races, the Tyneside music hall song that shares its Victorian heritage with Newcastle United and is still sung at St James’ Park today.The cover features an exclusive painting by football artist Paine Proffitt.

From the cover:

How did Newcastle become United? When was the club formed, and where did it play before moving to St James’ Park? Who were the men who built the club, and how did they turn it into the most successful club in the country? What was it like to support Newcastle in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and why has the bond between the club and its fans remained so strong?All With Smiling Faces takes a wander through Newcastle’s early history to discover how the club came to mean so much to so many. Covering the first 30 years, from its foundation as Stanley FC in 1881 to the triumphant FA Cup win in 1910, the book visits the grounds, meets the players, mingles with the fans, and relives the matches that made Newcastle United.

Reviews and media:

“A fantastic new book, which charts the club’s early years and meteoric rise in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.” - Newcastle Chronicle“I loved it! NUFC+history = : )” - Ant McPartlin - TwitterAll With Smiling Faces book review – How Newcastle United started out under the names Stanley FC and Newcastle East End – When Saturday ComesThe forgotten grounds of Newcastle United – How the fledgling Magpies played at four long-forgotten grounds in the East End of Newcastle – Newcastle ChronicleNew book by Paul Brown looks at Newcastle United’s golden past – Newcastle fan was looking for something to smile about – and ended up writing a book – Newcastle JournalWhy Newcastle United fans are among the most passionate in football – New book explores the Victorian and Edwardian roots of Newcastle’s huge and fervent fan base – Newcastle Chronicle

Buy All With Smiling Faces


Superelastic is a print and electronic publisher operated by Paul Brown.Goal Post is Superelastic's football book imprint.We do not accept author submissions.If you have any queries regarding our books please contact us.