The incredible life of an entrepreneur with a rock and roll life and booming brand, Max Cooper is a man who has done it all with football at his core. Enjoy this extract from his feature in SoccerBible Magazine Issue 11.

Maximillion Cooper’s office is a 10,000 square foot penthouse in London’s Ladbroke Grove. Okay, it’s also his London pied-a-terre when he’s not in the country house with his famous rapper wife and his kids, so it comes with plenty of art, pinball machines, pool tables and a collection of motorbikes, one of which used to belong to Steve McQueen. From here he organises the legendary Gumball 3000 which takes an eclectic group of the world’s rich and famous 3000 miles across the globe on a different route every year. Add to that his film company and clothing brand, and you might not be predisposed to liking Maximillion because, let’s face it, he has it all and he really knows how to party. But you can’t help falling under his spell. Prepare to be jealous.

The Gumball brand is at such a madly good level now. Would you trade it to be a football player?

I definitely wouldn’t trade it now because it’s enabled me to do a bit of everything I like, but when I was still sixteen I wanted to be a footballer. It would have been nice to play a little bit more than I did but when I left home and went to Saint Martin’s, football ended. I didn’t have the chance to play properly and I tried to avoid playing Sunday league for fear of getting my legs broken, so no, I love Gumball and I wouldn’t trade.

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So you also had all this creative energy. What did you study at Saint Martin’s?

"Generically fashion but also communication and promotion. I went into Saint Martin’s for a combination of reasons. I was going to do Anthropology and Archaeology at one of the Oxford Colleges but when I was in the Upper Sixth I was asked to model for a fashion brand. So I ended up doing random shoots for everyone from Dolce & Gabbana to Ralph Lauren. From 17 to 25 I did a lot of men’s runway shows and the odd fashion campaign. So I was suddenly in this fashion environment and my other interest was street culture, so I changed my journey to this party London fashion scene. I never really had a desire to design women’s wear, which the course was known for; I was more interested in sport. Art and sport were what I was good at. Not much else."

"I grew up in Middle England. I lived in Staffordshire until I was ten and then in a village near Worcester. When you’ve grown up in that environment and then suddenly you’re in London at fashion parties full of beautiful girls, it’s a taste of a different world, a different life, I hadn’t been on an aeroplane until I was 16 then at 17 I was on a flight every two weeks and I probably have been since."

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So how did it feel to suddenly be a part of that extravagant party lifestyle?

"It was just surreal. My closest friends are still friends from back then. When we finished our A Levels I brought a few friends to stay in London and we went to a hot nightclub at the time called Brown’s. It was my birthday and the place was full of models and musicians. I knew the owner already and my model agency had got me a table. I happens that I share my birthday with Prince and Prince was there! He found out it was my birthday and invited us to join him and his friends. So I was with my mates from Worcester and we were hanging out with Prince. That was the contrast. I have friends from home who’ve joined me on the rally as my co-driver."

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Tell us more about your skate background...

"My dad’s an artist and as I kid growing up in Staffordshire I wanted to come up to London every couple of weeks. So we’d stay in a flat with other artists in Islington. I remember skateboarding from walking through the South Bank with my parents as a child. That skate culture hadn’t hit the countryside and I was intrigued by it. When I was about ten I got a BMX for Christmas and that was a game changer for me. BMX hit a peak in the UK in the early 80s. Magazine culture was also hugely influential on me. I bought an American BMX and skate mags and the people in them became heroes of mine. They dressed cool, they looked different. I wanted to move to California. I got pretty good at tricks on my BMX and got sponsored so I did the odd tour. Then when I was about 15 everyone migrated to skateboarding and I was sponsored by a few brands like Converse and Swatch. That was from the age of 15 until about 20. I’d be lying if I said I still skate but I still love it."

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Did you end up in California through skateboarding?

I did go on a couple of tours there through sponsors when I was about 16. I stayed in touch with that world a bit and years later I was part of a TV show called Jackass with a bunch of friends. One of them ran a cool magazine called Big Brother and one of the writers on it was Johnny Knoxville who can’t skate. So he made a video where he put a load of Playboy magazines up his shirt and got someone to shoot him. He didn’t die, obviously, and that video was huge. As a result of that he went on a couple of shows talking about it, he got an agent and ultimately MTV offered him a deal. So that was my circle of friends. They had a contract for a series but then the MTV executives decided it was too dangerous and they had no insurance for it. But they figured out that they could do it in England so they all came and stayed in my flat and the whole of the first series was pretty much filmed here. That was the same year I started Gumball and by 2001, Gumball was going alright, so we did a Jackass Gumball special, with the guys coming on the rally. It was great that we were building our careers at the same time. Jackass was huge for me in those early years. It was before the internet. In 2001 Jackass was the most watched show in America, more than the MTV awards, more than anything. The Gumball special was an hour long and we weren’t a brand at that point, just an event. But for that whole film the Gumball logo was in the corner of the screen, so when I went to the States later that summer, just after it aired, I had a car with the logo on the bonnet and people were shouting, “Gumball! Jackass!” everywhere went. Suddenly we had some real recognition.

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Where did your love for Chelsea come from?

I lived near Stoke and my dad’s from Wolverhampton, so as a kid I’d go and see Wolves. Everyone at school was Wolves, Villa, Liverpool or Manchester United. I guess because my dad used to bring us to London at weekends and I was the only kid at school who did that, I just had this love for London. When I was playing at school, if I was in goal I’d be Peter Benetti and if I was a striker I’d be Peter Osgood, and that was different from all the other kids. They were all Kevin Keegan. But bright lights and big cities interested me from an early age. I didn’t mind going against the grain. When I was a skater and a BMXer that was different from all my football friends. Most skaters didn’t like football.

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Read the full feature in SoccerBible Magazine Issue 11. Available in stores and online now.