AWAYDAYS, a new film that depicts fashionable thugs of the football terraces, was partly inspired by the writer's brother.
At the end of the film, writer and producer Kevin Sampson puts an on-screen dedication to the memory of his brother, who died young in 1978.
"It was the classic big brother idolisation of his clothes, the way he wore his hair, the whole look which I tried to emulate, much to his irritation," explains the writer.
Awaydays is a rites-of-passage tale set among a group of football hooligans, at least one of whom comes to a sticky end.
Although Chris Sampson did not die violently, losing his life so young was no less tragic. He died in his sleep not long after going to university.
The film's inspiration was thus the fashion not the fighting, although it was a world with which they were familiar.
"It was an occupational hazard of being a Liverpool supporter in those days, which me and my two brothers were," says Sampson. "If you wanted to follow the team away you would routinely get attacked by home supporters.
From 1974 to 1984 it was an unfortunate by-product of the game but in terms of fighting I was a coward and never ran with the hooligans. I was just a close eye-witness.
"I was caught by the whole fashion thing, going to the game with a group of like-minded guys who dressed in an androgynous way. We were the start of the football casuals."
The music is another essential element of evoking the period and it's an area in which Sampson, once manager of Liverpool band The Farm, and his co-producer David Hughes, composer and former keyboard player with OMD, have some expertise.
"It was hugely important and it's the dynamic of the film. It was that whole new wave scene of Echo and the Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes in Liverpool and Human League and Cabaret Voltaire in Sheffield. It was a wonderfully productive time for New Wave."
Sampson's mention of Cabaret Voltaire (Nag, Nag, Nag features on the soundtrack) is not entirely gratuitous for he knows Sheffield well, having been a student in the city in the Eighties and indeed he wrote a novel, Freshers, inspired by his first year at the University of Sheffield.
Awaydays was Sampson's first published novel and he had hopes it would be filmed ever since it came out in 1998. "It came close to being developed by both Channel 4 and the BBC at some point and it felt like it was just around the corner," he reflects.
"But the defining moment came in 2005 when I had a bad accident in which I could very easily have died. It was one of those epiphanies when I asked myself what would be my most abiding regrets if I had died and one of them was I had never got Awaydays as a film off the ground.
"We set up our own company, Red Union Films, on the model of a late Seventies independent record label set up by one or two people with a passion for particular music," he continues.
"We embarked on an enterprise investment scheme with a target of 500,000 which is a pittance for a film. It took about 15 to 18 months but once we got over that – I think it was 518,000 – we went for it.
"We got a staunch Yorkshireman on board as director – Pat Holden – and then Michelle Smith, the casting director from This Is England, to find us our 'Pack Pack' of young actors."
Filming began in 2007 and since then Awaydays has been shown at international festivals. "It's gone around and people from Rotterdam to Buenos Aires to Seoul seem to have loved it which has taken me slightly by surprise," admits Sampson.
"It's a northern story and I didn't dare hope it might have international appeal.
"But the acid test comes on Friday when it is released in this country. It's make or break time because these days everything hangs on your first weekend."
Whatever happens, Sampson hopes this is just the start of Red Union Films but will it just be to make movies out of his own stories?
"As far as that goes, I am a film egomaniac," he laughs. "I was always interested in movies and screenplays before I became a novelist. But I hope I will be able to do both in future."
Sampson reveals he has a new novel almost complete – a Liverpool noir gangland story – "my first thriller".
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