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In the simplest of terms Outside Left is words & pictures about football & politics.


More precisely, Outside Left is the social media handle for Nick Davidson’s writing and photography about football and its intersection with left-wing politics.


Over a period of twenty years, Nick has written and contributed to several books about football. Of these, only Pirates, Punks & Politics (first published in 2014) achieved any modicum of success or recognition. It was The Independent’s Book of the Week, received good reviews in both FourFourTwo and When Saturday Comes. Over the last decade it has sold consistently well (for a niche book about left-wing football) and is currently on its sixth print edition.


Pirates, Punks & Politics enabled Nick to develop closer ties with FC St. Pauli, going on tour with the club twice to the United States in 2018 and 2019 and – more recently – playing a part in arranging FC St. Pauli 1. Frauen’s historic international friendly match with Clapton Community FC at the Old Spotted Dog ground in June 2023. More importantly, Nick has made many lasting friendships with fellow St. Pauli fans both in the district and around the world. His regular visits to the Millerntor still feels like coming home. Nick is proud to continue to donate his royalties from Pirates, Punks & Politics to the FC St. Pauli Museum - 1910 e.V. Other St. Pauli initiatives close to his heart are the FC Lampedusa St. Pauli refugee football team and the St. Depri mental health project.

It has been a decade since Pirates, Punks & Politics was first published. The years that followed have been perhaps the most tumultuous of the 21st Century. The world has unquestionably lurched to the right. Fascism is on the rise again; it has emerged from the shadows and garnered a sheen of mainstream electoral legitimacy. It is a decade that has given us authoritarian ‘strongman’ leaders from Trump to Erdoğan, Bolsonaro, Modi and Boris Johnson. It is also a decade that witnessed the biggest movement of displaced peoples in Europe since World War Two, a global pandemic, and the building of walls and fortresses to keep people out further fueling nationalism, racism and xenophobia. There’s a financial crisis that shows no sign of easing and – even more pressing – a climate catastrophe playing out in front of our very eyes despite our species' absolute refusal to acknowledge it.

What has this got to do with FC St. Pauli?


Somehow, a second division football club from Hamburg, Germany finds itself standing at the intersection of all these geo-political issues as a symbol of hope, defiance and opposition.  St. Pauli has history fighting fascism, racism, sexism and homophobia. That was the history documented in Pirates, Punks & Politics. But that fight is very much ongoing; it could be argued it is more vital than ever. And that’s where Forza Sankt Pauli comes in. In this latest book, to be published in Spring 2024, Davidson documents the role the club and its activist fanbase have played in the fight against this drift to the right. In a fucked-up world, St. Pauli encompass everything from symbolic resistance through the simple act of wearing a skull and crossbones on a t-shirt or a hoodie through to helping refugees find purpose and friendship through playing football or to providing a safe haven for activists inside the Millerntor Stadion during the G20 Summit in Hamburg. Make no mistake, St. Pauli remains as political as ever.

Forza Sankt Pauli documents these moments. It also covers perhaps the most seismic shift in football itself since the game gave up its amateur status and turned professional: the long overdue acknowledgement and development of women playing football. The book examines the history of the women’s football department at FC St. Pauli.

It is hoped that Forza Sankt Pauli will be as well-received as its predecessor and that it will serve as a record of the club’s involvement in the issues that have shaped both football and society over the last decade.

However, Outside Left is about more than just books about St. Pauli. That mix of football and politics also exists a little closer to home. Since the club’s foundation in 2018, Nick has become increasingly more involved with Clapton Community Football Club based in east London. To quote his youngest daughter, Charlotte: “He ducked under the barrier once” and now finds himself one of the unofficial club photographers taking pictures and writing blogs on a weekly basis. It is a passion that at times has become all consuming. But it is a passion that has rewarded Nick with some of his favourite memories in a lifetime of watching football. Nick now mainly focusses on documenting the incredible progress of the Clapton women’s first team – an insanely dedicated and talented group of players who have broken records in the FA Cup, won trophies and secured promotion in their short history.

So that’s pretty much it: words & pictures on football & politics (with the occasional bit of football related graphic design thrown in for good measure).

Oh, and the name Outside Left? Well, obviously it works politically, but it does have a bit of history too. Back in junior school in the early 1980s, Nick’s football ‘career’ began at outside left in the 2:3:5 formation favoured by the school caretaker who also managed the school team. Yep, we were playing 2:3:5 like it was still the 1950s! Nick thinks the only reason he got picked to play there as nobody else wanted to. It sure as hell wasn’t tactical as his left leg has only ever been good for standing on.


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