Scaffolder turned author scores goals with new book
Scaffolder John McNicoll with his book.

Just like a football club making its way up the leagues Scaffolders can also work their way through the ranks winning a higher standing in the industry as Grahame Anderson found out when he spoke to Scaffolder and Author John McNicoll.

Given the right formation of abilities, there’s every chance they can score a few precious victories along the way in terms of the end product. And if you think the sporting analogy doesn’t ring true take a closer look at scaffolder turned author John McNicoll who has three magic numbers on the brain – Four, four, two.

He explained: “I’ve been in the scaffolding industry for 25 years now, having started out as an apprentice on the YTS scheme in 1996. I now work as a contracts-manager at QFS Scaffolding Ltd, having worked my way up through various scaffolding abilities.

I’m a keen football fan and was one day given the opportunity to write a few articles by a website on Twitter called By Far the Greatest Team. I did this for around six to 12 months, casually writing in my spare time. I also contributed to outlets such as From the Stands, Give Me Sport, We Are the Busby Boys and

“When we were about to go into the initial lockdown in March 2020, I thought I may have a little free time on my hands and decided to start designing a web page to blog on. I wrote a couple of articles and then decided maybe instead I could write a dozen or so articles and join them together to make a book. And off I went. Trouble was, we never went into lockdown as Construction carried on. I had to try and write in the evenings after work and on a Saturday or Sunday morning, often spending hours sat at the dining room table typing away.

“I had made contacts on Twitter with an author and ended up sending some work for publication on his football website.  He advised me to contact Pitch Publishing, who specialise in sports literature. I offered my submission and was completely shocked when they replied with a thumbs up to get it done and sent over.”

The result is a book called ‘Ode to Four Four Two’, examining how the game’s simplest and finest formation was used by coaches in Europe and particularly England, to build iconic teams able to dominate both domestically and in Europe.

He added: “Formations have continually evolved since the birth of the game in the mid-19th century. From teams playing with four or five forwards, to the modern era of teams with just the one, arguably the greatest formation has been 4-4-2. Some of the greatest teams have lined up in this multi-functional system.

“Flick through the football history books and it is filled with teams like AC Milan, Manchester United, Liverpool, Leeds United and Barcelona, all enjoying glorious eras playing 4-4-2. But it isn’t just the elite end of the game.

You can purchase John’s book on Amazon by following this link.

This article was first published in the ScaffMag Magazine Issue 14