Saye, 24, from Wiltshire in south west England, told the Observer he has been inspired by the success of books such as Tim Parks’ A Season With Verona and Pete Davies’ All Played Out (which was recently made into the film One Night In Turin).
Said Saye: “I’m going to be spending the whole 2010-11 season with Harbour View FC. These books both used the concept of following a team throughout the duration of a competition, and that’s what I too will be doing, but aiming to get closer to the team for a more ‘behind the scenes’ experience”.
He added: “My original thinking was to take a look at a side of football that people at home see very little of, away from all the money and commercialism of the game in Europe.
“I’m in Jamaica with this in mind, and because this is a country where football is extremely popular and one that holds a certain fascination for audiences back home,” said Saye, who is an Arsenal fan.
“Furthermore, there is a more unfortunate side to the country and the well-documented social problems it has. I’m interested in how sport can maybe play a role in smoothing out such issues, or indeed makes them worse. Because of all these things, Jamaica offers a fairly unique environment in which to study the face of football rarely seen in England,” said Saye.
As well as simply spending the season examining the progress of the Premier League, and in particular, Harbour View, Saye will also be watching the Reggae Boyz in action.
“I’ll not be working with them in anything like the same way as I will be Harbour View, but I intend to see all their home matches and follow them to the Caribbean Cup in Martinique and the Gold Cup in the US, assuming qualification,” he noted.
Over the course of the season he will be talking to players, management, officials and fans as well others not directly as involved in football in order to build as complete an image as possible of Jamaican football and society, and how the two interact with each other.
Saye will also study various sources to piece together an idea of the game’s history in the country and how it came to shape the present.
“The final book will be a journey through the season while studying all the above factors, as well as giving my account of my own personal experiences along the way,” he added.
“My stay so far has been great. Kingston has a worrying reputation abroad, but the more I see of the city, the more I realise it’s actually a fantastic place full of friendly people.
“It’s possible that’s a bit naive because I’ve not seen the whole place yet, but what I’ve seen has been great and everyone at Harbour View, especially Clyde Jureidini, has been absolutely brilliant in helping me find my way and settle in,” said Saye.