Another football season has begun and to celebrate Biteback Sport are thrilled to publish two fantastic new books. An exploration of the culture of the game, We Ate All The Pies and a classic account of one fan’s obsession with his club, An Irrational Hatred of Luton, these books are every football fan’s must-reads this season!
“Two words guaranteed to make any piece of writing worth reading: John and Nicholson... even when you don’t agree with him you sort of wish you did. In fact, you wonder if you even agree with yourself anymore.” Sid Lowe, The Guardian
Football is weird. Damn weird. Why do we love it so intensely? Why are millions of us utterly obsessed by it? Why does it occupy so many people’s minds so much of the time? It is a kind of drug or some sort of hypnosis. It’s not just a ball going into a net. Hell no. Have you watched football? A lot of it is so boring it can make your eyes melt.
From food to booze, to TV, to merchandise and into the psychology of the national identity, John digs deep to find answers and in doing so creates a unique, funny, warm and thought-provoking excursion into our football lives, told in his trademark off-beat, passionate and irreverent style.
“Somewhere in a parallel universe there is another Robert Banks, who is a season ticket at Manchester United and is a highly successful novel writer and adored by everyone of the world, regardless of football, religious or racial denomination. But is he happy? You bet the hell he is.”
But Robert Banks is not that man. Since childhood, he has been obsessed with West Ham United Football Club. A team of persistent and historical underachievers. After all, the only thing West Ham ever brought home was the 1966 World Cup, but that doesn’t count, apparently.
Originally published in 1995, An Irrational Hatred of Luton fast became a cult classic amongst Hammers and football fans in general. Spanning twenty years of matches home and away, it contains some of the most sublime writing on football and the irrational nature of fandom ever committed to paper.
Laugh out loud funny, and almost devastatingly poignant, An Irrational Hatred of Luton is an odyssey through the world of a committed football supporter. A real-life Fever Pitch, and with a Hornby-esque deftness of tone, Banks’ book shows how intricately in the life of a true fan, football interconnects with the everyday.
Banks’ friendships, relationships, work, emotions of joy and despair all take place against a backdrop of claret and blue. Then Saturday comes and he watches his team get thumped again. This is a compelling and hilarious journey into the nature of obsession.