Produced by Griselda Murray Brown. Filmed by Richard Topping. Edited by Oli McGuirk.
The Red Lion is a play about football. And sometimes I say in interviews it isn't. And I don't know why I say that. I'm being disingenuous. It is about football. But it's about lots of other things as well, the same way that Dealer's Choice, my first play, was about poker but about many other things.
I would say primarily, The Red Line is about the way people need to find mentors, need to find figures in their lives who they can believe in who will show them the way.
I'll just be a fella who's there for you. Won't need to tell anyone. Best not to.
Well, I think it's a bit of a political play. Because I think that's arguing that something went very wrong with England round about 1979, and that England has never found itself since. It's been an unholy mess.
I think that's particularly the case now with Brexit, which seems to me the dramatic conclusion of 1979. It's the place where Thatcher was heading, as it were.
We think you have heart, and intelligent. We believe you might be a footballer, a real one. We talk about kids like you, and we curdle with joy.
One of the main reasons people love non-league football is that it's local. The old tradition that you would support your local club has kind of slightly died out a bit in the last 20, 30 years as transport has got better, I suppose, and people want to support winning clubs.
Whereas in non-league, you really-- you walk to your local ground and support your local team. And I think that is part of it, is pleasure and charm. I couldn't write at all at this time.
So it was quite therapeutic, really, to spend two years looking after a football club. Because at least it was active, and I was interacting with people and doing something I passionately believed in.
I don't understand writer's block. I think really, it's a polite way of saying depression. And it was just a complete inability to write, a lack of desire to communicate, self-consciousness about my own voice in the world, feeling middle aged, feeling irrelevant. I'm not saying I don't still feel those things. I'm still middle aged and, largely speaking, irrelevant. But I kind of like doing it again.
I don't think football explains the world. I think it's a great metaphor for certain things. And I think there has to be a reason why it's the global game, why it's the game the world takes most seriously. And I think that's to do with it being a team game and a passing game.
Anyone can participate at any level and take pleasure from it. I think that's its beauty, is it's cheap.