Chesterfield comedian seeks support for book about struggling New Mills AFC
A comedian is urging people to support his debut book about a struggling Derbyshire football team once branded 'the worst in England'.
Carl Jones, 32, from Wingerworth, near Chesterfield, spent last season following North West Counties side New Mills AFC following their relegation from English football's eighth tier.
Winless: My Year With Football's Ultimate Underdogs takes a light-hearted, fan's-eye view behind the scenes at life in the depths of the football league ladder as the semi-professional team bounce back from relegation and damaging headlines.
Speaking on the launch of a crowdfunding project to promote the book, Carl said: "I've always had an affinity with 'the underdog' and that's what first attracted me to New Mills.
"I was gigging in the town in the autumn of 2015 and checked to see how the local football team were getting on.
"It was clear at that stage that they were in for a long season."
New Mills would go on to draw three and lose 39 games as they suffered one of the worst seasons recorded at any level of English football.
Winless picks up where the previous season left off.
Carl added: "It was clear that the club were hesitant about allowing me in to follow them at the outset - they'd suffered from a lot of negative publicity and allowing a stand-up comedian through the doors might have seemed like an invitation for that to continue.
"I made it really clear that my aims were to tell the real story behind the headlines of a club at the heart of the local community.
"Teams at this level are simply unsustainable without the tireless dedication of volunteers and loyal fans.
"This book is their story."
Having started out as a stand-up comedian in 2011, Carl has performed on BBC radio and recently spent time in the writers' room for BBC Radio 4's The News Quiz.
His popular football website The Underdog Blog - where he followed struggling sides through each round of the FA Cup - was the catalyst for writing his first book, which attracted the attention of online publishers Unbound.
Carl said: "Crowdfunding struck me as a really great way to get this book to its audience.
"Football is a shared national passion and nothing demonstrates that more than our love of non-league where football can be found in its purest form.
"This book is as exciting and funny as it is heart-warming and inspiring and provides a time capsule of a club persevering through adversity to build a brighter future.
"It's been a pleasure to be a part of and I'd love to share it with as many people as possible."
Pledges towards the limited first edition of Winless start at just Â£10 which includes each pledger having their name printed in the back of the book as a supporter.
To find out more, visit https://unbound.com/books/winless