A PUBLISHING company has raised more than £30,000 through a crowdfunding drive to help maintain and improve a popular football podcast.

Glasgow based Backpage Press, which counts books on the likes of Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo, Chelsea striker Diego Costa and Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola in its catalogue, has worked with journalist Graham Hunter since the launch of his The Big Interview podcast in April.

The show is essentially an in-depth interview with a well-known figure from the world of football typically lasting up to one hour.

Already Mr Hunter, originally from Aberdeen but now an expert in Spanish football who is based in Barcelona, has talked to figures such as former Manchester United defender Gary Neville, Rangers and Liverpool legend Graeme Souness and current Scotland national team boss Gordon Strachan.

The show is attracting around 100,000 listeners per episode.

Now Backpage, which produces the show, and Mr Hunter have turned to crowdfunding to help ensure the venture is financially viable for at least the next 12 months.

They are also looking to increase the frequency of the broadcasts and are eventually aiming to have a weekly show.

They had hoped to raise £30,000 through the Kickstarter platform in 30 days to pay for things such as travel, accommodation and equipment but have already exceeded that total.

The campaign, which has attracted more than 900 backers and raised in excess of £32,000, runs until November 18.

Depending on how much backers pledge they can receive incentives ranging from signed books and invitations to exclusive parties to a trip to the Nou Camp with Mr Hunter to watch Barcelona play.

Mr Hunter said: “We’ve been staggered at the response so far. It is hugely encouraging that we have found an audience who like to hear in-depth interviews with people who are passionate about the sport we all love.”

Martin Greig, one of the founders of Backpage and a former sports journalist at The Herald, confirmed a deal has been struck with global broadcast network ESPN to feature the podcast on its website and social media channels.

Mr Greig said: “Our listenership is growing with every episode. As well as securing vital funding, the KickStarter campaign has led to business opportunities and connected us with people who can help us achieve our aim of making the show the No.1 football podcast in the world.”