Playing football has always been a big passion of mine. When we lived in London, three times a week tended to be the norm. Since moving to the countryside near Oxford, I've cut back to twice – one match and one training session.
I suspect that my devotion to the game has something to do with the nature of my work. Football is a kind of therapy, an antidote to the solitary and cerebral sides of a writer's life.
It's far more than that, though. It's also a passport to a place where class, colour and creed don't count. All you need is a ball and a flattish patch of ground.
At 45, I'm haunted by the prospect of age or injury bringing my playing days to a close. That moment can't be too far off, and I dread it.
The Information Officer, by Mark Mills, whose first novel The Whaleboat House won the Crime Writer's Association for Best Novel, is published by Harper at £7.99