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The Faber Book of Soccer

Book: (London: Faber, 1992)

From the Introduction:

'My own 'could-have-been' story takes several small-hours to relate, and I can't any longer remember how much of it is true. I can detect, though, as I look through the final contents of this book, an outline of my own fan-autopsy: early on, Glasgow Rangers and Scotland, an exile's passion sustained by my Scottish aunt's weekly mailings of the Sunday Post. I kept a Rangers scrapbook and dressed my Subbuteo men in blue but I'd only ever been to Ibrox twice. How was it that, pre-girls, the only time I ever got that dry in the mouth was when I heard the chap on the radio say, 'Scottish League, Division One'? It didn't last. After seeing the Spurs 'double' side of 1961 thrash Rangers at White Hart Lane, I discovered that I had corruptly switched my loyalty to Tottenham and -- well, not to England, exactly, but to that handful of players that Spurs seem so good at getting hold of: players who are too good to fit happily into the England 'set-up': Greaves, Hoddle and now Gascoigne.

'These, I confess it, are my hang-ups and, in compiling this panoramic football-fest, I swear that I have done my best to keep them under some sort of control. All the same, it will be pointed out, I'm sure, that I am readier to pay homage to Bertie Chapman than to Bertie Mee. Well, maybe so, but even impartiality has limits, does it not? On this at least, I'd guess, most soccer fans are likely to agree.'

Gazza Agonistes

Book: (London: Bloomsbury, 1998)

Gazza Agonistes, by Ian Hamilton Prefatory Note:

'The bulk of this book first appeared in 1994, under the title Gazza Italia. Its first appearance, though, was as an article in Granta magazine, where it was called Gazza Agonistes, a much better title, in my view. I have added to the original a lengthy postscript, bringing the action up to date and I have made a few small changes to the Gazza Italia text. I have been sparing, though, with hindsight. After all, this is a fan's eye-view of Paul Gascoigne -- and fans, as we know, are expert at reassembling dashed hopes.'

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