In 2010 Daniel Storey started his own blog because he loved football and he loved writing.
Ten years later and with absolutely zero journalism qualifications to his name, Storey has risen through the ranks to become one of the most well known and respected journalists in football.
He has written books on Paul Gascoigne, Sir Bobby Robson, Eric Cantona and Neville Southall and scooped a top award just a handful of years after becoming a full time journalist.
All that in ten years is no mean feat for someone who until the turn of the 2010s was a law and accounting graduate who worked in sales.
“I fell into it purely by accident really,” admitted Storey, who at the time of talking in October hadn’t been to a football match in months to due to the pandemic.
“I was the last in a generation of people who were able to kind of start from nothing, and I just got lucky breaks.
“I was doing normal work then I started a blog, did a bit for Football 365 and became one of three people working there, and it still has three today.
“It did feel like a dream come true really, and I got into the industry almost subconsciously because I liked writing but never considered is an option for a job.
“As a freelancer you’re always worried someone will tap you on the shoulder and tell you get a real job, because it isn’t a serious job.
“So you just try and carry on as long as you can.”
Storey’s first break in the industry was a full time job at Football365, a website littered with funny, long, interesting, opinion and in depth stories.
The website is like nothing else on the market, and has led to Storey going in to contribute to BBC, BT Sport, the top national newspapers and many other news outlets.
He credits 365 with giving him the freedom to write what he wanted and to launch his career further and become a fixture on the list of top journalists in the country.
After just two years he scooped the Football Supporters Federation Football Writer of the Year, but at times admits to feeling like very much an outsider in the industry.
“There were columns we did about other pieces in the press in the MediaWatch column and you would get some funny looks in press boxes from other journalists,” added Storey.
“Sometimes, I don’t know whether it was just me being paranoid but because of my background and stuff I did feel like a bit of an outsider, and people saw me as very lucky to have gotten where I did.
“However I worked hard and was true to myself.”
Storey’s first love of football came from when he and his mother were season ticket holders at Nottingham Forest.
His fascinating story of his first steps into the world of football he believes helped him in his eventual calling to be a football writer.
But there is one thing, from those early days as a fan, that he continues to miss.
“Without getting the small violin out you do miss just being a fan,” admitted Storey.
“My parents split when I was three and me and my Mum were season ticket holders and I loved it.
“When you are a reporter you don’t look at games as a fan, you look at them in a very different way, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Just two years after his full time break into the world of sports journalism on a full time basis, Storey picked up his first accolade.
And he admitted that for writers awards like these a lot of the time are meaningless but they do indicate that you are doing something write.
“You sort of realise that, hang on a minute I must be doing something right,” added Storey.
“A successful sport writer, and any writer is only successful if people enjoy what they are reading, and that gives you confidence and it gave me confidence.”
As well as producing top story after story for the various publications across the country, Storey has played a hand in some of the most interesting football books of the last ten years.
He helped raise £40,000 for the Bobby Robson Foundation through a book he penned on the former England boss.
He has also written books about Paul Gascoigne, Eric Cantona and recently finished working with Neville Southall on his publication.
“I have a lot of family who are from the North East and I wanted to write about Sir Bobby because of how humble and kind he always was despite all the flack he used to get,” said Storey.
“His foundation is a remarkable place and to raise £40,000 will probably always be the thing I am most proud of in 30 to 40 years time.
“I’ve always been interested in real human interest stories and the other side of players and managers.
“So that is why I did the Gazza book, and I think fans are interesting in the human interest thing too.
“People can get a kick out of a well written match report, but more so out of a human interest piece.
“And Harper Collins books asked me to write Neville Southall’s new book, which was an honour.
“As well as football, he is passionate about mental health and social injustice and hasn’t just done a bit of charity work, he has immersed himself in it.
“Any minute spent in his company is worth ten away from him, and he is a very deeply thoughtful person and a fascinating man.”
Like many journalists in the era of social media Storey has been the target of abuse online, but more for people having a difference of opinion rather than a prejudicial issue.
One led to a death threat and one story led to a scary incident with the person within his story.
He added: “I am not a big target for abuse but others are for reasons other than a difference of opinion, and I have a lot of sympathy for them.
“I have had a death threat on Twitter, but its on Twitter which sometimes is an extension of real life so I’m quite good letting stuff from the cesspit go over my head.
“A couple of years ago I did a story about a guy who was selling this model called my football club, and people purchased shares in it and then they could make decisions about the club.
“It looked dodgy from the off and I had a message from someone else who said he had seen the guys car near his house, and he had money to find out where we lived.
“It was a bit worrying. It all went silent and people didn’t get their money back, but later on I was told he knew where I lived.”
Storey, now ten years on from that blog began the journey to somewhere even he had never thought about, believes the industry is very different to what it was a few decades ago.
Gone are the days of setting targets to reach a national paper in say five years time.
Now Storey, who is among the elite of sports writers in the country, just wants to keep the thousands of other aspiring journalists off his back and continue to do the job he loves.
“I’d be lying if I’d sold my career as this Hollywood script, except for when James Richardson did the forward for a book,” added Storey.
“The job is all encompassing and you take every week as it comes because you look over your shoulder and there are thousands of people who would like to do this job.
“And they will be able to do this job if I stop to admire the view.
“So you carry on and in the grand scheme of things I’m a football writer and people enjoy what I do.
“It isn’t a serious job, it is just a job that I am very lucky to do.”