Call to Arms: Help AFR uncover the Best Writing in Football from 2013

If you’ve been with AFR for a while, you’re likely aware of our passion for great writing in football. Whether it’s from our own crew of extremely talented contributors, or from any of the countless journalists and bloggers across the world who keep the midnight oil burning, the value of independent journalism in sport is substantial.That said, while informative, compelling and innovative writing is plentiful across the digital sphere, the sheer wealth of content makes it fairly easy to overlook writing that deserves your attention.

With that in mind, we’re once again compiling a list of the year’s best writing in football, as we did in 2012 and 2011, albeit with a slight change to how we go about developing the list. Whereas in years prior, we created the list in-house or collaborated with a number of the most respected voices in the field, the truth is that while you might have missed a few pieces worth your time during the course of the year, it’s just as likely that we did as well. We’re celebrating the best our community has to offer, so what better way to do so than as a community?

What pieces moved you? Which articles caused you to step back and reconsider your assumptions? What works impacted you in unexpected ways?

Send us an email, leave a comment below, send us a message on Twitter, or use the #BestFootballWriting hashtag. Help us celebrate our community and uncover the best writing in football from 2013. 

The Best of Football Writing in 2012

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Before we move forward, let’s take a step back.

2013 will bring new stories, and writers will continue to unveil value in the context of our day-to-day lives. But before we jump ahead, we really should take a step back. The internet is a wonderful place, but our constant consumption of content allows us to forget which stories were truly compelling, creative, well-researched, and told with conviction. For the second year in a row, I have compiled what I consider to be a list of the best writing in football. This year, I called upon some of the game’s most influential voices to reflect on how writing best interpreted, dissected, and brought meaning to the beautiful game.

Consider this project to be a sort of anthology. The games will be remembered in history, but our reactions and our stories could have been forgotten. Instead, they’re here.

View some of the best football writing that 2012 had to offer:

(Note: Titles in the PDF link to their respective URLs. For the sake of continuity and accessibility, we did not feature pieces that were only available offline or behind paywalls)

Thanks to the list’s contributors: Laurent Dubois, Richard Whittall, James Tyler, Gwendolyn Oxenham, Chris Mann, Tom Dunmore, Robert Langham, Musa Okwonga, Jeff Livingstone, Ed Malyon, George Quraishi, Maxi Rodriguez, Kevin McCauley, Elliot Turner, Dominic Vieira, and Stefan Bienkowski

Design by the amazing Dan Gribbon, of 3nil

Compiled by Eric Beard

Finally, thanks for your support throughout 2012. Here’s to another year full of vibrant conversation.

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Take the time to take a step back: Best of Football Writing in 2012
With the clock winding down on 2012, the days for reminiscing are rising to fruition. Last year, I decided to create a list of what I thought were the best pieces of football writing in 2011. This year, I’m doing it again, and I’ve called upon some of the most influential voices in football to reflect on how we best interpreted, dissected, and brought meaning to the beautiful game.
Why? Because I think it’s important. So many care about this game. So many spend countless hours reading about it, never mind actually watching matches. Tremendous stories are told. Some of the genius we witness gets meticulously unraveled. But the reality is that in 2012, the world of online writing has never been in a position of such prominence. At the same time, however, the internet should not leave such a tower of writings to be forgotten.
Consider this project to be a sort of anthology. The games will be remembered in history, but make no mistake; our reactions and our stories can be forgotten.
My challenge for you this weekend: show me that you are willing to remember. Email me [contact at afootballreport dot com], tweet us, or even use the #BestFootballWriting hashtag to share the pieces of writing that resonated with you over the past twelve months. The list will be completed in fine fashion this weekend and presented shortly thereafter, but I am inviting you to get involved. Here’s your chance to contribute to something that will allow people to remember.
[Written by Eric Beard. Design: Dan Gribbon. Photo: Ryu Voelkel.]

Take the time to take a step back: Best of Football Writing in 2012

With the clock winding down on 2012, the days for reminiscing are rising to fruition. Last year, I decided to create a list of what I thought were the best pieces of football writing in 2011. This year, I’m doing it again, and I’ve called upon some of the most influential voices in football to reflect on how we best interpreted, dissected, and brought meaning to the beautiful game.

Why? Because I think it’s important. So many care about this game. So many spend countless hours reading about it, never mind actually watching matches. Tremendous stories are told. Some of the genius we witness gets meticulously unraveled. But the reality is that in 2012, the world of online writing has never been in a position of such prominence. At the same time, however, the internet should not leave such a tower of writings to be forgotten.

Consider this project to be a sort of anthology. The games will be remembered in history, but make no mistake; our reactions and our stories can be forgotten.

My challenge for you this weekend: show me that you are willing to remember. Email me [contact at afootballreport dot com], tweet us, or even use the #BestFootballWriting hashtag to share the pieces of writing that resonated with you over the past twelve months. The list will be completed in fine fashion this weekend and presented shortly thereafter, but I am inviting you to get involved. Here’s your chance to contribute to something that will allow people to remember.

[Written by Eric Beard. Design: Dan Gribbon. Photo: Ryu Voelkel.]

The Best of Football Writing in 2011

Compiled by Eric Beard

Let’s go with a classic scenario. What if you spent the last 12 months fighting for your life on an island after a shipwreck? How would you acclimate back into society? Well, you would probably want to catch up on what you missed. If you’re a fan of football and love reading about the game, then you would want to read the best pieces from 2011. That’s the idea behind “The Best of Football Writing in 2011” list. We were all figuratively shipwrecked for a few weeks this year. Whether it was work, a personal issue, an addition to your family, or a horrible set of final examinations, life left us isolated from football. But not to worry, now you can catch up.

Compiling a list of everything you’ve enjoyed in a year is an arduously joyful experience. If there’s anything to say about joys and woes of independent football writing, it’s that the feelings (as well as the content) come and go. You don’t set a blog post up on your bookshelf when you’re done reading. No, it goes back into the infinite abyss of the internet. But a year is a long time, and we’re proud to share The Best of Football Writing in 2011 from fellow bloggers and writers alongside The Best of AFR in 2011. Intelligence on the web is plentiful, and even though internet writing inherently places a date next to every piece, we hoped to handpick articles that are relatively timeless in their nature. For the sake of simplicity, the Best of Football Writing in 2011 (from outside the confines of AFR) is featured first, followed by AFR’s Best of 2011. Without further ado, let’s review. And here’s to 2012…

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