- No.5 in the Top 10 Sports Books The Independent 15.12.03
The Fan - Hunter Davies
- Nick Pitt, The Sunday Times, Top Ten Sportsbooks of the Year, 30/11/03
"This collection of football pieces, first published in the New Statesman, is witty, opinionated,
full of the marvellous obsessions of the educated fan. Davies, a follower of the once-super
Spurs, wears his cleverness as lightly as his disillusionment."
The Fan-tome Menace
- David Sue, City Life, Manchester 12.11.03
Author Hunter Davies waves the red card to football prejudices.
Argues Davies: "Football fans are united at being football fans across the globe. You can
go anywhere in the world and not speak the language, but if you say 'David Beckham', people
will have a connection with you. I like to think when I'm going to a match, I'm communing with
the millions of people who've followed football since it was invented."
The genius of Davies' prose is very much down to this everyman touch. The Fan is, one of those
rare excursions into fanish idolatry that works despite its subject, not entirely because of
it. In-between sharp and humorous observations about England's numerous managers, the influence
of Sky TV and Beckham's haircuts, Davies doles out tales of his everyday homelife, making this
as much an account of the sports lover as it is the sportsman. It's a formula that works brilliantly.
Much like that other great chronicler of football and popular culture, Nick Hornby, it's Davies'
humoursoaked and human way with the quotidian world that makes The Fan such an addictive work.
He concludes: "The way I write there's very little actual information about the match and more
about the experience of being a football supporter how I got to the match, who I met, what I
drank, the atmosphere, the crowd's songs. Papers like the Daily Mail are far too interested
in pointless statistics for their own good. I like to think my concerns are the concerns of
ordinary fans, not sub-editors who never go to a game."
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