Today I was sent the commission for the January 2017 edition of the Soccer 360 magazine, the print publication to which I have happily contributed to for three years with distinction. But there was a problem. For the first time since I began, except for occasions where I had made myself unavailable, I was not assigned an article.

Let me first begin by making it clear that this has nothing to do with my writing ability, but merely a reflection of the fact that putting this particular commission together proved to be massively problematic for the magazine editors. My writing has always received strong feedback and a prominent position within the finished product.

As the magazine is published every two months, one of its most important aspects is the need to be ‘timeless’ and not to refer to current issues at the time of writing. That, along with the fact that the January/February edition is the period of the football season where talking points are at their most scarce, made sure that ideas for feature articles didn’t present themselves easily.

The commission I received today is the shortest I’ve ever seen by a long chalk, and sadly there was no space for me to be included. There are of course, numerous other writers and several others have missed out too, while perhaps it was felt that not many of the articles assigned were suited to my style of writing.

While I am obviously disappointed to have been sidelined until the New Year, I am very understanding and always appreciative of being given the opportunity to write for a magazine with such outstanding production values. My latest article will be published later this week, which will allow me to take pride in my work.

And to be truthful, the absence of a feature article provides me with an opportunity to focus on other things, such as the book (non-fiction) that I’m currently in the process of writing, as well as this blog. There is also the small matter of trying to find a new administrative job – preferably at the university where I currently work, as my current fixed term contract comes to an end in mid-March.

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