Hello, and welcome to Unexpected Deilirium, a collection of writing on the history, culture, governance, finance and often rank incompetence of football.

Why subscribe?

Good question. So here’s my answer, and it’s as honest as it can be.

My name is Ian. I live in Worthing in West Sussex. I am a single father of two with children aged 5 and 7 (I have them five days a week, they spend their weekends at their mother’s).

Because of this, I feel that my best outcome in terms of being able to manage work with my parental responsibilities is to freelance, and write this Substack. So this is one of my main money-makers. It’s kind of terrifying, but it’s the decision that I have taken. I am also looking at alternatives, obviously (when you’re at this level of financial insecurity, your working hours effectively become 24 hours a day, seven days a week), but I have to drop off and pick up my kids from school every day, and I both have to and want to spend quality time with them. Self-employment gives me the critical flexibility to live my life at my own admittedly unusual tempo.

I wrote Twohundredpercent for years. It won awards. I was with F365 for almost two years, and I was not released because of the quality of my output. I can also be found—occasionally, but I’m hoping more regularly—in the pages of the venerable When Saturday Comes. So here I am, doing everything I can to ensure that, through a combination of this and freelance work from home, I will be able to scratch enough of a living to get by. I don’t want to have to move from this area, where renting is affordable on a relatively low income and the kids are settled at school. My older kid is seven years old. The house we live in now is already the fourth place he’s called home, and this just…isn’t good for him, or either of them. They deserve the security I want to be able to offer them.

So that’s why I need you to subscribe, and it’s why I’ll be so hugely grateful if you do so.

Here’s how this works, then. This place essentially runs to a timetable. On Mondays, all subscribers (and anyone who clicks the link) gets a review of the weekend’s football. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, everybody gets a regular-sized piece on whatever has piqued my interest over the previous couple of days. On Thursdays everyone gets a long read, usually on shenanigans going on somewhere or other.

Ideally, I’d like to get back doing more of the investigative work that I was doing on Twohundredpercent a few years ago, but it’s time-intensive and the amount of time I have free for it will be dependent upon how many people are subscribed here. If it does turn out to be enough to support me and the kids on its own, then that’s what I can do. It would get fresh content more than once every day. It would become what Twohundredpercent would have been had it ever been a full-time site.

We’ve also started recording a podcast again, the first episode of which became available Friday 16th June. We’re producing one a week, and once every four weeks they’re a free-for-all, with the rest being subscriber-only. Podcasts take a lot of time and effort to edit and put into place, but we do feel that it’ll worth be it and again, if it’s anything like successsful, we may have space for others, too. If you may be interested in SPONSORING this podcast, then do please get in touch.

It’s called You Couldn’t Script This, and it’s a combination of two of the loves of my life; association football and extremely obscure and often not very entertaining television shows and movies. We’re going on a deep dive mission to try and work out whether anybody has actually ever got anywhere close to summoning the spirit of football in television drama, comedy, or other fictional representations. I’ve already watched an entire series of something so bad that my eyeballs almost leapt from their sockets and tried to strangle me with my optic nerves. If it sounds like I’m going for the sympathy vote here, it’s because I genuinely do believe I earned it, and it’s not often you’ll find me saying something like that. Seriously. I’ve seen some terrible things.

I also understand that times are hard, and that some of you may not be able to afford to pay for a full subscription. I’m looking into ‘pay what you can’ options now, but if you can’t pay anything at all then do drop me a line by email or—ideally, since I will check that more often—Twitter DM, I can gift you a free one. I understand that being ‘financially embarrassed’ is, well, embarrassing. You don’t have to explain yourself to me and I certainly don’t need proof of your situation. But I would ask that you’re honest with me. This is, after all, my job.

But I trust my audience over that. Just for the record, I need you to subscribe for free to do this, because I have to have a subscription to upgrade. I assure you that this isn’t some sort of weird data-gathering exercise programme. And many thanks to the person who (inadvertently) gave me the idea to do this. You may not even see it, but if you do happen to be reading this and thinking it could be you, it probably is.

How subscribe?

There are buttons all over the place on here which should direct you to where you can subscribe and set up a paid subscription. There’s even one at the bottom of this. Payments go through Stripe, which so far as I’m aware—and such is my nature that reader, I Googled them—is a perfectly reputable payment platform. Subscriptions cost £5 a month or £50 a year, or you can send me whatever donations you wish. There are always ways. I also have a Ko-Fi, for those of you who enjoy tipping. As mentioned above, sponsorship of the podcast is available. If you’re interested in that, please do drop me a line.

I would like to contact you; how can I do this?

The best way to get in touch with me is via Twitter Direct Message. My Twitter account is right here.

But not everybody reading this will have access to Twitter, so I have a work-only email address now, and you’ll be able to get me there, too: iankingfootballwriting@gmail.com.

Subscribe to Unexpected Delirium

Writing on football culture, history, finance and more.


Ian King

Freelance writer, journalist and copywriter.