Fever Pitch, by Nick Hornby

Autobiographical account of Hornby's obsession with Arsenal FC.

I'd read this ages ago but it's always on the shelf at the library so I thought I'd take the hint and listen to it as an audiobook. Incidentally, the CDs were pretty badly scratched - what do people do with them?

What I remembered - funny and convincing descriptions of life as a football fan. It sounds like he's talking ironically when he explains how his feelings for Arsenal are so all-consuming, but I think the point of the book is that he's not - he really does feel that way about the club.

It feels a little bit dated now - the book was written in 1991 (I think) so there's nothing about the premiership - I think it would be interesting to hear Hornby's views on the money that's in football now, and Sky's influence. As it is, he is fairly critical of the way the club treats its fans, and the way the FA manages things.

The thing I remembered from when I'd read this before was Hornby's description of having a girlfriend who shares his obsession. While on the face of it this might sound like a good thing, it quickly becomes clear that it has definite down-sides: who'll stay at home to look after the baby on match days? What right has she to feel proud of an Arsenal cup win when she's not spent ten years going to hundreds of matches and putting up with miserable performances?

The other chapter that stuck with me this time was his description of how a long-term relationship ended at around the same time as Arsenal losing a manager (or some major event like that) and how the two events became co-mingled in his mind, and how the Arsenal situation felt as important to him as his personal tragedy, even though, rationally, there's no comparison. (I need to quote him, but I can't find my paperback so I can only try and remember the section).

It was worth re-reading. I know nothing about Arsenal and I really enjoyed it.

Completed : 18-Feb-2010 (audiobook)

[nickoh] [2010 books] [books homepage]