The highs and lows - and one huge secret - of a life in amateur football

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James Brown battled drink & drug addiction during his time as a journalist in the 1990s with the goal of getting back into regular football

Besides the odd touchline fight or debauched team night out, you might not think an amateur footballer would have enough material to fill an autobiography about his love affair with the sport, but James Brown is different.

Following the launch of Above Head Height, a chronicle of James' years of playing football before, during and after a series of serious addictions, the man himself spoke to Goal to discuss some of the stand-out moments of his first book, which is flying off the shelves already.

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As James himself points out, a book focused on the non-career of somebody who never came close to making a living from football would not normally make for a very appealing read. But his mixture of anecdotes from his time as editor of magazines Loaded, which he founded, and GQ, as well as stories of mid-90s naughtiness at top Premier League clubs, is proving a success.

There is, however, much more to it than the often hilarious memories of playing football - or having your kit stolen while you do.

Above Head Height kicks off with a chapter dedicated to James’ long-time friend James Kyllo, who died in 2015. It offers insight into the bonds that can be forged between footballers of all abilities when they play together on a regular basis - but know little of each other beyond their on-pitch successes and failures.

It was James’ article ‘Goodbye, my five-a-side friend. I won't forget our strange and special bond’, published in the Telegraph just over a year ago, which kick-started the process of writing Above Head Height.

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James talked us through the highs and lows of the book, and also provides one sure-fire tip for footballers at all levels which is guaranteed to boost performance.

So don’t miss our exclusive chat, set against a very amateur showdown between Goal and Opta members of staff in the heart of Leeds, where James’ love affair with the beautiful game began.

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