Andy Fury interview
Hebburn funny-man Andy Fury has released a book. We didn’t want to feature it due to it not having much to do with comedy, but he pestered us enough that we relented. Having first told the story as a stand-up show, we sat down with Andy for a reluctant chat about it, which promises to be a tale of “friendships, football and pointless drives to Crawley.”
Come on then, tell us about this book…
It’s basically about me and my mate Mark, we decided a few years ago that we’d like to do something a bit daft. We were at a Hebburn Town game and decided it would be quite fun to follow the FA Cup from the start of the competition all the way to the end. So we’d choose a team in the first round, when anyone is allowed to enter, and follow the winner of that game to the next round. Then the winner of that game into the next round, and so on.
So it’s nothing to do with comedy then. I’m just thinking of this site…
No, not at all, I’m just very persistent. I’ll be doing the same with the Shields Gazette too, they’re just not likely to be as sniffy as you or insisting I go to see them. I mean, the fact that I’m a comedian is covered though, it had to be. I put my career on the line on more than one occasion by pulling gigs with promoters just so I could go and watch fixtures like West Auckland Town vs Skelmersdale United. I’ve tried to avoid naming names when it comes to comedy, but yeah, it’s certainly mentioned. It would have been impossible not to.
Be honest – was it just some excuse to watch loads of football matches for free?
No! Not at all. I did laugh though – we got loads of press while we were doing it. Back page of the Whitby Gazette and everything! There was an article on the South Shields Gazette’s website about us one week and we seemed to infuriate someone. He criticised us for being two free-loading parasites and hoped we struggled for tickets later on. The truth is we didn’t ask a single person for freebies and never even expected it, we paid for just about every match we went to. A couple of clubs offered us complimentary tickets but we never asked and it wasn’t until we got to games further afield that we reluctantly accepted.
So is the book all about football?
No, not really. In the end it’s about two friends driving around the country, arguing and bickering and bumping into different weirdos. I’ve written a stand up show about the adventure as well and the feedback seems to be that people who hate football have enjoyed it more than people who love it. I’m not sure what that says but hopefully the book will have the same sort of wide appeal. But there’s no denying that football takes up a decent percentage of the content!
Come on, sell it to people who don’t like football…
Erm, we visited the set of Brookside?
Erm, that’s it really. We sat in the car and ate some chips, then got out and took some photos of each other, then felt uncomfortable as they’re actual houses now and the residents seemed a bit, I don’t know. We saw curtains twitching and felt a bit of an atmosphere. So we left.
Sounds like a riveting chapter. We’ll look forward to that one!
The one after that is probably better. Me and Mark had a massive falling out ahead of Arsenal vs Everton, like a proper serious argument. We’ve been mates for maybe 15 years but suddenly it all went quite dark and threatening and genuinely quite worrying. You’d best read the book to get the full story, but I think it’s little things like that which make it far more than just being about football.
So apart from being full of friendships ending and the residents of Liverpool harassing you, are there any lighter bits?!
Loads, yeah. Despite all of that, we did have a real laugh when we were doing it. Some of the people we met at the non-league grounds were real characters. Mary Hail is a lovely old woman in her 70s, proper acerbic but also full of warmth at the same time. She’s supported Tow Law since she was about 14 years old, so she’s been going to games maybe 60 years. We asked her why and she just said there was nothing else to do in Tow Law!
Brilliant! You said you’d written a stand-up show about it. Where can we see that?
We’re just finalising dates at the moment. I’ve done a couple of previews of it and have a couple more work in progress shows booked just to make sure that it’s all okay. But the plan is to take it to each of the clubs we watched play during the cup run, followed by anywhere else that would like us to visit! The dates will all be on my website, andyfury.co.uk, in the next week or two. And I’ll hassle you again once they’re out, I’m sure you’ll enjoy that.
And the book?
It’s available via Amazon at the moment as an eBook. I’m cashing in on the lucrative post-Christmas market! There’s a foreword by Pavel Srnicek which is a bit bonkers and almost worth the money alone. The plan is to get some hard copies made for when we go out to clubs with the stand up show but really, I just want as many people to read it as possible. I’m dead proud of it and just want to show it off. I’ve set the price really low, £2.99, so that it’s affordable, and nobody feels ripped off buying that and then a hard copy if it is eventually released. It costs about the same as a pint and it’s a proper book, really long and that. I’m really excited to see what people think of it.