After eight years of podcasting, BA Creative & Media Writing alumnus and stand-up comedian Jim Campbell's latest collection recently climbed to the top 5 of the iTunes album charts.
Classed by iTunes as an 'album', The Football Ramble Live in Manchester, Edinburgh and London is a collection of podcasts by Jim and his friends Marcus Speller, Luke Moore and Pete Donaldson, whose weekly podcast The Football Ramble, has risen to fame over the past eight years and now has a Facebook following of over 50,000.
"It's just four guys who love something that they also hate." Jim told Middlesex, "We all love football, but we're equally appalled by the ridiculous things that happen within the sport."
Jim joined The Football Ramble in 2007 on the show's sixth episode. Originally, and very true to its name, the show began as a 'ramble' about what had happened in football over the weekend. As the years have ticked on, however, the podcast has developed a running order that includes a series of questions for each host, and a round-up of domestic and European football.
The show grew in popularity and with the help of producer Doc Brown – himself a critically acclaimed comedian and actor – the team decided to make a move towards live performances. Their January UK tour sold out dates in Manchester, Edinburgh and London's 550 seat Bloomsbury Theatre in a matter of hours.
Talking about how it feels to have gained such a huge fan base, Jim said, "It's mindblowing! It feels like such an amazing achievement because we didn't start out with any particular plan."
The group's podcast now gets an average of 175,000 downloads a week, with the series of shows released during the 2014 World Cup achieving over a million. Their popularity also meant that during the 2010 World Cup the group were sponsored by Paco Rabanne to fly to South Africa and do their trademark podcasts.
On top of his podcasting successes, Jim has also established himself as a stand-up comedian, whose talents have got him jobs including writing for Russell Howard's Good News.
Although he had always been passionate about comedy it wasn't until a classmate at Middlesex secretly booked Jim a spot at a show some friends were putting on, that his stand-up career took off.
"It was so tough." Jim said, remembering his first show, "I had to follow a performance poet, who had done quite a traumatic show, and I didn't get any introduction or explanation. Then when I got on stage I dropped the microphone."
But despite the rough start Jim loved performing, and after a few years of establishing himself, and being a finalist in awards including the 2009 So You Think You're Funny competition, he was able to make a living from his act.
"I wanted to work out what I wanted to do while I was at university." Jim told Middlesex, "I didn't originally have a plan, but it all became clear at Middlesex."