The latest interview in our series looking at Creatives with a close affiliation with the world game sees us introduce James Roper, the Editor in chief and creative director of The Green Soccer Journal. Not just our favourite football magazine, but one of our favourite magazines full stop. The Green Soccer Journal merges two of our greatest loves, football and fashion! It’s a must have.
When did you first play or become interested in football/soccer?
Both Adam and I who started the magazine together are originally from Derby and it was just the natural thing to do at weekends. I started playing for my local team when I was around 8 years old. They didn’t have an under 10’s, so I was the smallest kid in the under 12’s.
What position did you play?
As I started to take a real interest rather than just trying to get into the team, I ended up playing in defence. I hated it and wanted to be out on the right wing crossing balls and scoring goals but I was actually a much better defender and captain.
Who did you support as a child? Do you still support that team now?
Birmingham City, always.
Did you parents play a big role in your interest in the sport?
They were never pushy parents when it came to me playing and they are in no way fanatical about sport, especially my mum! My dad was a season ticket holder at Birmingham when he was a teenager and I suppose I just followed suit. He did the usual Sunday morning routine of driving me (and as many kids that you can squeeze into a car) to all of our games. Most of their close friends today are the other parents who stood on the sidelines and watched us play every week.
Whats your finest memory of football (playing or watching)?
Where I grew up was very quiet and Green. I was a couple of miles away from where all my school mates all lived, so my brother and I would get home from school and head straight outside to kick a ball about for hours.
Who was your idol growing up?
Birmingham didn’t really have any players that you would call ‘idols’. Don’t ask me why, but one of the first shirts I owned was the Manchester United 1992 Yellow and Green lace up with Giggs on the back, so I must have thought he was a bit of an idol.
Who do you think is the best player in the world today?
It’s hard to say unless you have actually been to a game and seen them play live. I was lucky enough to watch Barcelona at Camp Nou last year and you can’t deny that Messi is very special.
Maradona or Pele?
I met Pele once and he was very nice to me so I will say Pele.
Messi or Ronaldo?
I love everything about Ronaldo. People moan about his ‘arrogance’ but if you are that talented, good looking and wealthy then you deserve a bit of self belief.
Whats been the biggest change in the sport since you were a kid?
As a kid you just play football for fun and take no notice of everything else that surrounds it. Since starting the magazine though I have become very wary of the dark side of the game and it’s always changing, mainly because of insane amounts of money that aren’t spent in the right areas.
Do you still play at all today? Where and when?
I play twice a week on local 5 or 7 a side pitches. We are in a new league on a Monday evening and it’s been a wobbly start to the season!
What were the biggest lessons you’ve learnt through football?
I think growing up in the midlands and supporting the same team as your family provides a common link no matter what any of you end up doing. I have lived in London for 8 years now and still constantly call my dad and brother to have a rant about football.
Are there lessons or things you have learnt that you have carried through into your life today?
When we started the magazine we had no idea if anyone would actually be interested. In fact it was the opposite and we now work with some amazing creative talent who are all obsessed with football and have become close friends. We don’t just turn up to shoots and get the job done for the sake of content, we all genuinely love what we are doing and want to produce work that shows the game the way we see it.