By George - Hilarious Tales from Englands Most Fanatical Football Supporters
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Nick Hornby has been on this path since While this book wa I have been an Arsenal supporter for the past 12 years.
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- 10 Must-See Football Hooligan Films.
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While this book was written during the season, it is still the narrative of someone who has lived a fan's life for more than two decades. It is a thought which I dread, and yet one I know I will have to experience too. Fever Pitch does not tell me in any way that things would get better, infact it does the opposite; but what it lets me come to terms with is the fact that I will not be walking out of this relationship, that I am in it for the long term, and that I am not alone. Fever Pitch is a riveting book written from the heart by Nick Hornby who talks of the journey that Arsenal took since he started following the English football club, and how events on the field intermingled with events in his personal life.
Arsenal back then were not even as exciting as they have been post the book's publication, so it really must have been something to support the club then. Fever Pitch talks about the club's heroes and villains of those years, and it talks about the events that went around in the football world then, be it hooliganism or the Hillsborough tragedy.
But this book, as the author himself states, is not about the football as such, but its consumption. The turmoil that it can bring to a hardcore fan, the amount of significance it can assume for some, is something that can be mocked or respected. Nick Hornby asks you to do neither, nor does he care.
He writes about the way things are, not about how they should have been. He writes his narrative with ease, mixing it with moments of dark humour, while also dwelling on the serious issues.
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Fever Pitch is a book that should be read by any Arsenal fan. It should in fact be read by any sporting fan. The emotions in the narrative will strike a chord and make you nod your head repeatedly, for you have been there too I first discovered 'Fever Pitch' when I first discovered Nick Hornby years back - we read one of his novels for book club.
I got it at that time and have been waiting for the right time to read it. Last week when I was thinking of which book to read next, 'Fever Pitch' leapt at me. I thought it was the perfect time to read it, with the World Cup on. In the book, he talks about how his father took him to his first football matc I first discovered 'Fever Pitch' when I first discovered Nick Hornby years back - we read one of his novels for book club.
In the book, he talks about how his father took him to his first football match when he was around eleven years old and how by the end of the evening he had fallen in love with the game. The football team he fell in love with was Arsenal and in most of the rest of the book he talks about Arsenal's ups and downs over the next twenty five years, how he was part of it as a fan, how his life as an Arsenal fan was entwined with his life outside football and how during this same period he became a teenager, graduated from high school, went to college, had a girlfriend for the first time, how football affected his relationship with his mother, father, stepmother and half brother.
He also talks about what it means to be a loyal obsessive fan of a particular team. Hornby also explores the changes that have occurred in football from the time he started watching the game till the time he wrote this book. He also talks about many of Arsenal's important matches and some matches involving other English clubs.
The whole book is structured as a compilation of accounts of a series of matches through which Hornby explores the above themes. I loved 'Fever Pitch'. It is Nick Hornby's love letter to football, and his love for the game shines through in every page. There are beautiful lines and passages in every page which delight and warm one's heart. My highlighting pen didn't stop working.
Football is not my favourite sport - cricket and tennis are. I follow football only during the quadrennial World Cup. But while reading this book, I almost wished I was a football fan, an obsessive one. Though Hornby mostly talks about players that I haven't heard about the only known names I encountered were Bobby Charlton, Geoff Hurst, George Best, Paul Gascoigne, Gary Linekar, Pele, Johann Cruyff - as the book covers mostly English club football from to - the descriptions of those times, the players and the matches was so beautiful and vivid, that they transported me to those times and made me feel that I was watching the scenes that Hornby was describing.
When Hornby gushes about Liam Broady, I felt that I was there in the Highbury stadium watching Broady playing for Arsenal, making beautiful moves in an important match. Hornby's humour shines through in every page and there were many passages which made me smile and laugh. I wish I had read this book when I was younger. I would have become a lifelong football fan. It is the most charming, passionate book in football that I have ever read.
A football blog for the real fanatic fans
Maybe, not even football. It is probably one of the most passionate accounts of any sport ever written by a fan. It is a book I will be reading again. If you are a football fan, this is a must-read.
I will leave you with some of my favourite passages from the book. It might surprise those who have a rudimentary grasp of the rules of the game to learn that a First Division football team can try to play football without a player who can pass the ball, but it no longer surprises the rest of us : passing went out of fashion just after silk scarves and just before inflated bananas. Managers, coaches and therefore players now favour alternative methods of moving the ball from one part of the field to another, the chief of which is a sort of wall of muscle strung across the half-way line in order to deflect the ball in the general direction of the forwards.
Most, indeed all, football fans regret this. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we used to like passing, that we felt that on the whole it was a good thing. It was nice to watch, football's prettiest accessory a good player could pass to a team-mate we hadn't seen, or find an angle we wouldn't have thought of, so there was a pleasing geometry to it , but managers seemed to feel that it was a lot of trouble, and therefore stopped bothering to produce any players who could do it. There are still a couple of passers in England, but then, there are still a number of blacksmiths.
Complaining about boring football is a little like complaining about the sad ending of King Lear : it misses the point somehow, and this is what Alan Durban understood : that football is an alternative universe, as serious and as stressful as work, with the same worries and hopes and disappointments and occasional elations. I go to football for loads of reasons, but I don't go for entertainment, and when I look around me on a Saturday and see those panicky, glum faces, I see that others feel the same. For the committed fan, entertaining football exists in the same way as those trees that fall in the middle of the jungle : you presume it happens, but you are not in a position to appreciate it.
Sports journalists and armchair Corinthians are the Amazon Indians who know more than we do - but in another way they know much, much less. Football is a context where watching becomes doing - not in the aerobic sense, because watching a game, smoking your head off while doing so, drinking after it has finished and eating chips on the way home is unlikely to do you a whole lot of Jane Fonda good, in the way that chuffing up and down a pitch is supposed to. But when there is some kind of triumph, the pleasure does not radiate from the players outwards until it reaches the likes of us at the back of the terraces in a pale and diminished form; our fun is not a watery version of the team's fun, even though they are the ones that get to score the goals and climb the steps of Wembley stadium to meet Princess Diana.
The joy we feel on occasions like that is not a celebration of others' good fortune, but a celebration of our own; and when there is a disastrous defeat the sorrow that engulfs us is, in effect, self-pity, and anyone who wishes to understand how football is consumed must realize this above all things. The players are merely our representatives, chosen by the manager rather than elected by us, but our representatives nevertheless, and sometimes if you look hard you can see the little poles that join them together, and the handles at the side that enable us to move them.
I am a part of the club, just as the club is a part of me; and I say this fully aware that the club exploits me, disregards my views, and treats me shoddily on occasions, so my feeling of organic connection is not built on a muddle-headed and sentimental misunderstanding of how professional football works. This Wembley win belonged to me as much as it belonged to Charlie Nicholas or George Graham, and I worked every bit as hard for it as they did. The only difference between me and them is that I have put in more hours, more years, more decades than them, and so had a better understanding of the afternoon, a sweeter appreciation of why the sun still shines when I remember it.
What do you think about it? Jan 10, Megan rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Soccer fans.
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Shelves: soccer-and-sports , nonfiction , loved-it , bio-memoir , read-in-college. I just finished reading this book for the second time. The first time I read it, I probably would have given it five stars; something about the glimpse into Hornby's world enthralled me, but then I wasn't quite as familiar with the lifestyle of being a Premiership fan as I am now. Set up as a series of essays, Fever Pitch depicts the life of a man who is much, much more than a casual Arsenal fan, while much less than a "hooligan.
As I was reading, I found myself at times nodding in affirmation as he described his emotional state during key moments in his lifetime. At other times, though, his experiences and observations were foreign to me; since I am an American, for example, it is difficult for me to understand a lot the nuances between fan bases for different clubs which seemed second nature to him. As a result, I felt Hornby came off unintentionally judgmental during certain portions of the book, though I got the feeling that someone who has been an fan of footy in Europe for longer than I have could confirm some of the perceptions and, to an extent, stereotypes that he portrayed.
The book is very introspective.
Hornby is the main, and really the only character, though it is his relationship with his dad which drives the story in the beginning and his relationship with his girlfriend which drives it toward the end. In a sense, Hornby is discovering the depths of his own passion as you go along. There is a great self-awareness at play here, and at some points I felt like Hornby was describing me instead of himself. Jun 04, Rob rated it it was ok Shelves: nonfiction , memoir , modern-day. I came to Fever Pitch in a slightly roundabout way.
I'm seeing someone with a couple of Nick Hornby books on her shelf, and feeling I had read some rather poor books recently -- and that few of my ways to book recommendations were leading me to books I enjoyed of late -- I had been thinking of giving Hornby a go. I still procrastinated it for a while, but I was thinking fondly, recently, of my experience with Jonathan Tropper and I happened to see something online comparing the two.
So I l I came to Fever Pitch in a slightly roundabout way. So I looked up Hornby on Amazon's Kindle store, and resolved to sort by highest customer rating and read whatever bubbled to the top. I didn't expect it to be Fever Pitch , at least not once I understood that it wasn't a novel and was therefore not quite what I was hoping for.