James Brown (editor)

James Brown (born 26 September 1965[1] in Leeds) is a former journalist, author, radio host and media entrepreneur. His debut book Above Head Height: A Five-a-Side Life,[2] was published in 2017 by Quercus, and achieved positive reviews in the Guardian,[3] The Australian[4] and The Daily Telegraph.[5] A renowned Leeds United diehard, Brown also co-hosts The Late Tackle[6] on Talksport with comedy writer Andy Dawson, of Athletico Mince fame. In addition to his media profile, he is the owner of Sabotage Times – a music, football and culture website – and the Sabotage Agency, which has provided content for such brands as Scotts, Carling and Adidas.

Early careerEdit

In 1985 James Brown was a contributor to the alternative newspaper Leeds Other Paper. In 1986, following work on his fanzine Attack on Bzaag, Brown was hired as freelance features writer for Sounds; from there he soon joined the magazine NME. In 1991 Brown became the manager of Fabulous, a rock band composed of various NME journalists.[7] After leaving NME, he wrote features for the Sunday Times magazine.


In 1994, Brown launched the magazine Loaded, which became an early example of the modern "lads' mag" format. Brown won the British Society of Magazine Editors' "Editors' Editor of the Year" award for his work on the title.[8]

In a 1997 Independent interview, Brown expressed pride in his accomplishment in beginning Loaded, stating, "The facts are there. I started the most influential magazine in Britain in the last 10 years and made my last company millions and millions and millions of pounds after an outlay of virtually nothing, and I've got something like six or seven major publishing awards."[9]


In 1997 Brown left Loaded for the British edition of GQ. He launched the Man of the Year Awards and hired the then-unknown chef Jamie Oliver to write the food column. Brown parted company with GQ in early 1999 over what were termed "philosophical differences", having featured Field Marshal Rommel (shown in a photograph sporting a swastika band on his uniform) on a list of "The Most Fashionable Men of the Century."

Later careerEdit

After leaving GQ, Brown launched his own company, I Feel Good, and subsequently acquired Viz, Fortean Times and Bizarre magazines from John Brown Publishing for £6.4m.[10]

He created the magazine Jack in August 2002[11] IFG was sold to Dennis Publishing for £5.1m in 2003[12] after the company's losses doubled to £1.1m year on year and film title Hotdog was sold having failed to reach break-even.[13] Speaking in 2010, Brown said he had "made a lot of mistakes" at IFG and felt "a bit embarrassed about how little I had made of the opportunities I had created."[8] In July 2004, Dennis wrote off its investment in Jack and closed the title with paid-for sales stagnant at less than 28,000 copies.[14]

In 2007, he was hired as editor in chief of the free-to-air TV channel Sumo TV, saying he had plans to push the genre of "spectacular voyeurism." The channel was briefly moved into the Adult, Gaming and Dating categories before refocusing on content provided by Psychic Television.[15]

After selling IFG, Brown worked across the media. On television he appeared with Gok Wan in Miss Naked Beauty and a participant in Channel 4's Extreme Detox. He also helped create Flipside TV[citation needed] and co-produced over 50 episodes before the show was bought for Channel 4 and then Paramount.

Brown was appointed as consultant editor-in-chief at Sport Media Group, a part-time post, in November 2007.[16] In January 2008 Barry McIlheney was hired by Brown as the new editor-in-chief.[17] The two men were responsible for a relaunch of the Daily Sport and Sunday Sport newspapers in April 2008.[18]

Brown also presented and co-produced I Predict a Riot for Bravo, a ten-part investigation into the history of civil disorder, and regularly appears as a pundit on the BBC's art shows Newsnight Review and The Culture Show. In 2010 he oversaw the relaunch of the Sky Sports Magazine.

In May 2010, Brown launched the website Sabotage Times to focus on music, sports, fashion, travel, TV and film.

Since 2010, Brown has made frequent appearances in the media, both on the radio for talkSPORT's popular show The Warm Up, hosted by Brown, Johnny Vaughan, and Gavin Woods, and as a guest panellist on Alan Davies' show As Yet Untitled, broadcast on Dave. He is also an active business speaker, and took the stage alongside figures such as Kofi Annan and Al Gore at the Leaders in London summit in 2007.[19]

In March 2019 Brown was appointed as Editor-In-Chief of FourFourTwo magazine.[20] In August 2019 Brown left FourFourTwo after less than six months.[21] It was later reported that Brown had made offensive remarks about Tottenham Hotspur player Son Heung-min.[22]


  1. ^ "Father of lads' mags still loaded with ideas" The Guardian (24 August 2007). Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  2. ^ James Brown – Above Head Height – Quercus.
  3. ^ Brown, James (4 March 2017). "Football: the bond that lasts longer than many marriages". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Escape is all about the ball". 17 March 2017. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  5. ^ Brown, James (17 December 2015). "Goodbye, my five-a-side friend. I won't forget our strange and special bond". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  6. ^ "The Late Tackle". talkSPORT. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  7. ^ http://heavenly100.net/archive/biogs/biog_fabulous1.html[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ a b "James Brown on his new digital venture", The Guardian (13 September 2010)
  9. ^ Tim Hulse "James Brown: the Latest Edition", The Independent, 5 October 1997)
  10. ^ "James Brown buys Viz to take it off top shelf", The Guardian (26 May 2001)
  11. ^ "Jack the mag hits target", BBC (28 August 2002)
  12. ^ "James Brown's publishing dream ends", The Guardian (2 May 2003). Retrieved 17 September 2009.
  13. ^ "Brown sells Hotdog", The Guardian, 21 January 2002
  14. ^ "Jack folds after sales stagnate", Marketing (21 July 2004)
  15. ^ "Loaded founder eyes 'spectacular voyeurism'", The Daily Telegraph (24 October 2007)
  16. ^ Chris Tryhorn "James Brown takes role at Sport titles", The Guardian, 6 November 2007
  17. ^ Stephen Brook "Zoo founder joins Sport papers", The Guardian, 14 January 2008
  18. ^ Stephen Brook "Daily Sport unveils £1m redesign", The Guardian, 21 April 2008
  19. ^ David Teather "Father of lads' mags still loaded with ideas", The Guardian, 24 August 2007
  20. ^ "James Brown appointed as Editor-in-Chief of football brand FourFourTwo". Future. 6 March 2019. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  21. ^ "Lads man pioneer James Brown leaves FourFourTwo after six months as editor". Press Gazette. 28 August 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  22. ^ "English clubs make deals with 'Vampire Kangaroo'". The Times. 6 September 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2019.

External linksEdit

News itemsEdit