Book of the week: Falling for Football edited by Adam Bushby and Rob MacDonald


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The Independent Football

There may yet be hope for the printed word. Sales of e-books have gone into reverse, and while it would be foolish to deny the continuing march of online journalism, somehow the blogosphere seems a bit of a backwater these days.

I once told another newspaper’s internet-obsessed editor that I had come up with a ground-breaking invention: “It’s light, portable, you can read it anywhere, and the batteries will never run down,” I said. “I’m going to call it a paperback.” And here is one compiled by two enthusiasts who made their name writing a football blog. This collection of essays celebrates the moment the various writers’ passion for the game was first ignited, and the team that provided the spark. A mixed bag they are, too, in terms of both geography and achievements. Some of the usual suspects feature: Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United domestically; further afield, Brazil, Holland and Real Madrid. But there is also a strong showing from supporters of less feted clubs, with passion for the likes of Weymouth, the oxymoronically named Leicester Nirvana, the fictional Barnstoneworth United, and Lewes.

The chapter on Lewes illustrates a recurring theme, a disenchantment with the Premier League and money-obsessed owners who continually hike up ticket prices. Hardly an originally thought, but Stuart Fuller’s tale of how he walked away from West Ham, spending his season-ticket money instead on becoming part-owner of a struggling Isthmian League outfit who play at a ground called The Dripping Pan, is one of many powerful testaments to the joys of engagement with lower-league action.

Falling for Football is available as an e-book, but while you can save some pennies, you would miss out on the printed version’s elegant design. So go on, treat yourself.

Published in paperback by Ockley Books, £11.99