Here's a FREE PDF download of Scoregasm, a 38-page graphic novella I created with the artist Duane Leslie back in 2011. More than a decade on from its original release (the story has only ever been available online), I remain very proud of it.
Scoregasm is part-homage to the football strips I grew up reading in the '70s (things like Look Out For Lefty, Hot Shot Hamish and, of course, Roy Of The Rovers) and part-poison pen letter to the cynicism of the modern game. The weekly comic strip Billy's Boots - in Tiger & Scorcher amongst other places - was certainly on my mind when I was writing Scoregasm, although my story operates in a very different, far more cynical world than that created by Billy's writer/artist team, Fred Baker and John Gillatt.
Blokes of a certain age will remember Billy's Boots. It was about a young boy – named Billy Dane – who had a magical pair of football boots that made him the best player on his school team. It was a fun, innocent tale full of last-minute winners, plucky underdogs overcoming the odds and scurrilous opponents who'd have been more at home in the KGB than on a school football pitch. Because of the 'magic' boots, the strip also had an almost-supernatural element (although you were never entirely sure if the boost the boots gave Billy was all in his head).
Scoregasm - the rags-to-riches story of 16-year-old lower league footballer Billy Foley - is a whole lot darker than Billy's Boots. It's about a loss of innocence and perhaps reflects how my own opinion of the beautiful game has changed over the years. I LOVED football when I was a kid, was obsessed with it actually, whereas these days I find many elements of the cynical, brutish soap opera it has become thoroughly dismaying. But then I'm a Northampton Town fan so relentless, grinding misery is something I'm used to!