In the latest in our series on the future of sport, we look at those who are changing the way we consume football – from the YouTube team with 2m fans to the clubs with squads of e-footballers
In a scruffy prefab at West Ham United’s training ground a bunch of unlikely lads are being primped and primed for a glamorous photo shoot. They are trying out three new kits, sponsored by Umbro, in preparation for a tour of the US. Midfielder James Stevens has lost around 50lb over the past year – he’s only 17 stone now.
Skinny balding winger Faisal Manji, who works as an investment adviser, has become something of a sex symbol in recent months. Faisal and James play for a team called Hashtag United, which is basically a bunch of old schoolmates, some of whom couldn’t get in their local Sunday League teams, with a few luxury add-ons (two ageing semi-professionals).