Synopses & Reviews
English but estranged in Scotland, Daniel Gray is about to turn thirty. Like any sane person, his response is to travel to Crewe, Carlisle and Luton. Hatters, Railwaymen and Knitters is an attempt to seek out the England of today through the lens of its football clubs. Small teams and towns, Gray argues, made the country great and matter now more than ever. Taking twelve teams who had notable seasons in 1981, the year of his birth, Hatters, Railwaymen and Knitters is part-football book, part-travelogue and part-love letter to the bits of England that often get forgotten.
In Middlesbrough, his own childhood team, Gray examines the concept of supporter loyalty and identity. Is football all some of us have left to cling to in a land where the industry that bound the people of towns together has gone? In Watford he muses on the existence of a North-South divide. In Sheffield, a city of bitter derbies, he examines rivalries in football and what they say about our country. In traditionally-wealthy Ipswich he ponders the ownership of football clubs past, present and future. Via such places as Chester, Burnley, Bradford and Carlisle, this is a whistle-stop tour of the outer reaches of the football league that aims to answer big questions about Englishness.
For fans of Harry Pearson's The Far Corner or Stuart Maconie's Pies and Prejudice, this is a book that brings the real England vivdly jumping off the page.
A wry and gently humorous tour of the outer reaches of English football.
About the Author
Author and historian Daniel Gray is the writer of Stramash and Homage to Caledonia. For a short period in the early 1990s he was the finest left-back in his village, once marking Gordon Strachans youngest son, the one who didnt become a footballer, out of the game. A Middlesbrough supporter, Daniel began attending football matches in 1988 and has never recovered. He has worked in a psychiatric hospital, a library and in television and politics. He loves staring out of train windows and lives in Leith with his wife and daughter.