Five sports writers worth reading
The thing about sports writing is that there’s a shitload of it out there, and most of it is complete garbage. I call it “down the pub syndrome”. In the past, semi-literate sports hogs would reserve their moronic ramblings for down the pub. Not anymore. There are enough “user content” sports sites out there that any old Mexted who wants to spit bile about Sonny Bill can easily get his hastily arranged scribblings published in a sports blog (or student magazine).
Here are five sports writers who are actually worth reading:
Martin SamuelSamuel tackles the big issues in British sport at the Daily Mail. He mostly talks about football, but he'll offer his definitive opinion on whatever comes up. In 2008 he received his own “big money transfer” from The Times, and is now one of the best-paid sports journalists in the world, with a reported base salary in excess of £400,000. Samuel never sits on the fence. He’s so forthright that he’s almost a caricature of an opinionated columnist, but is nevertheless an entertaining read when he gets an oversexed and underperforming footballer in his sights.
Read him on: Dailymail.co.uk, which is also your #1 site for Kim Kardashian sightings and TOWIE minge.
Spiro ZavosI am less a fan of Zavos himself than I am a fan of his website, “The Roar”. If you want to read an Australian perspective on anything at all, “The Roar” is the place to go. “The Roar” publishes both professional commentators and (edited) user-generated content, making the site’s content particularly prolific. The most interesting parts are usually the writers’ opinions on New Zealand sport, especially the Warriors and Sonny Bill. Zavos is probably the most accomplished writer on the site, but I prefer some of his less restrained contemporaries.
Read him on: theroar.com.au. Get involved in an argument in the comments section.
Hayden MeikleHayden Meikle is the sports editor at our beloved ODT. The ODT cops plenty of shit around the Critic office, and for good reason. The newspaper is terrible. Have you ever read “The Wash” or “Memory Lane”? That shit is so dire it makes you actually want to read D-Scene. The one redeeming feature is Hayden Meikle's “Back Page” in the weekend sports section. The national and international sports news snippets with a local-yokel flavour are the perfect accompaniment to a drizzly Saturday morning.
Read him on: A Saturday morning, with a cup of tea and a mild hangover.
Greg HallIf sports writers were film stars, Greg Hall would be Don Cheadle. Hall has plugged away in the background for years without ever getting the A-List recognition his luscious prose deserves. Hall blurs the line between hipster, nerd, and jock, and is a convincing facsimile of all three. He inexplicably idolises Morrissey-quoting ballsack Joey Barton. If you haven't heard of Greg Hall yet, you will very soon. This kid's going all the way to the top.
Read him on: squarefootball.net and whatculture.com, nestled in amongst the unreadable comic book reviews.
Bill SimmonsThe original American “sports guy”, Bill Simmons pioneered sports writing from the fan’s perspective. His lengthy sports columns combine pop culture, unashamed sports nerdiness, and lucid opinion with his standard helping of wide-eyed glee. But that doesn't mean he's afraid to take his idols down a peg or two if required – Simmons has one of the most acidic tongues in the business. When you read Bill Simmons, you get the impression that he is a man delighted to be doing what he does. His newest project grantland.com is a sports nerd's wet dream.
Read him on: Grantland.com, it's really good.