Football Writing Festival 2023: back for a ninth year

The Football Writing Festival returns to the National Football Museum for a ninth year, featuring more talks and greater value than ever before.

This year’s Manchester festival runs from Thursday 2 to Saturday 18 November, and features no fewer than eight in-person and online events – all included in the price of National Football Museum admission.

In addition to seeing all talks for just £13 (£11 for concessions), visitors will also gain access to the museum, enjoying unlimited entry to its displays and exhibitions for a full year. The festival is free for existing museum ticket holders and City of Manchester residents.

The museum has snapped up a host of top writers and journalists for November’s festival, including Adam Crafton, David Ornstein, Simon Stone, Carl Anka, Sam Lee and popular podcast Two Girls Talk Balls.

The headline evening talks focus on two of football’s hot topics: the increasing use of soft power in football, looking at the politicisation of the sport at domestic and European level, and the changing ecosystem of football’s increasingly expensive transfer market.

Daytime events will cover a range of topics, including the new WSL season, representation in the women’s game, the state of play in Ukraine, football in the First World War and a special event dedicated to Jack Leslie, taking place at Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park.

The full Football Writing Festival 2023 line-up can be found below. Tickets can be booked via the Football Writing Festival page by clicking here.

Please note that a valid National Football Museum admission ticket is required to gain free entry to the Football Writing Festival.


FWF 2023 landscape - Leslie

Jack Leslie: The Lion Who Never Roared

Tuesday 24 October, 7pm (@ Plymouth Argyle)

Matt Tiller, Richard Amofa

A talk at Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park on recent Hall of Fame inductee Jack Leslie, a Pilgrims legend who was the first Black player to receive an England call-up, only for it to be rescinded in controversial circumstances. This talk will also be available online in the days following the live event.

FWF 2023 landscape - Transfer

The Transfer Market

Thursday 2 November, 7pm

David Ornstein, Harriet Prior, Sam Lee, Shamoon Hafez

How has the transfer market evolved in recent years? Our panel dissects the changes within the football ecosystem that have enabled eight and nine-figure fees to become commonplace.

FWF 2023 landscape - Power

Soft Power in Football

Friday 3 November, 7pm

Adam Crafton, Carl Anka, Sanny Rudravajhala, Simon Stone, Molly Blackall

A lively panel debate around the geopolitical and increasingly controversial implications of football club ownership, both domestically and further afield, and the impact it has on the game.

FWF 2023 landscape - Hijabi

The Three Hijabis

Monday 6 November, 12pm

Amna Abdullatif

An insightful in-conversation talk with one of the founders of The Three Hijabis, discussing the origins of the project and the importance of an England team that is inclusive, anti-racist and representative.

FWF 2023 landscape - FWW

Football’s Great War

Monday 6 November, 3pm

Dr Alexander Jackson

The museum’s own Dr Alexander Jackson, recent winner of the 2023 Lord Aberdare Literary Prize, talks about football’s role on the battlefield and closer to home during the First World War.

FWF 2023 landscape - Ukraine

Ukraine: We Play On

Friday 10 November, 1pm

Andy Brassell

TalkSPORT and The Guardian’s European Correspondent discusses the impact of war on Ukraine, and the nation’s ongoing fight for both football and freedom.

FWF 2023 landscape - Two Girls

Two Girls Talk Balls Live!

Saturday 18 November, 11am

Tamsin Connor, Charlotte French

Join Tamsin Connor and Charlotte French for a chat about all things women’s football, analysing the start of the new Women’s Super League season and looking ahead to the Manchester derby.

FWF 2023 landscape - WWC

Breakout Stars of the Women’s World Cup

Online only

Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff

Journalist Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff looks back at the major talking points and fallout from the recent Women’s World Cup, exploring issues around mental health and identity within the game.