Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

By Nick Hornby

This can be a e-book approximately id, belonging, obsession; approximately afternoons within the riding rain and sour chilly and excellent, unforgettable objectives; getting your head learn in Hampstead and punched at Highbury; the astonishing talents of the gods of soccer and leaving your female friend mendacity fainted at the terraces simply because Arsenal are approximately to attain. It's concerning the moments of ecstasy in a single man's existence. And his discomfort. And it's concerning the basically actual query there's: Which comes first, soccer or existence?

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Is it like this everywhere? I know that in the past the Italians have greeted their boys with rotten tomatoes at the airport when they return from overseas humiliations, but even that sort of commitment is beyond my comprehension. ‘I hope they get stuffed,’ I have heard Englishmen say on numerous occasions in reference to the England team. Is there an Italian or Brazilian or Spanish version of that sentence? It is difficult to imagine. Part of this contempt may be related to the fact that we have too many players, all of indistinguishable dingy competence; the Welsh and the Irish have very little choice when it comes to putting out a team, and the fans know that their managers simply have to make do.

When Czechoslovakia went one up in Brazil’s opening game, David Coleman observed that ‘all we ever knew about them has come true’; he was referring to Brazil’s sloppy defence, but the words are those of a man whose job it was to introduce one culture to another. In the next eighty minutes, everything else we knew about them came true too. They equalised with a direct free kick from Rivelino that dipped and spun and swerved in the thin Mexican air (had I ever seen a goal scored direct from a free kick before?

In a desperate and percipient attempt to stop the inevitable, Dad quickly took me to Spurs to see Jimmy Greaves score four against Sunderland in a 5-1 win, but the damage had been done, and the six goals and all the great players left me cold: I’d already fallen for the team that beat Stoke 1-0 from a penalty rebound. 68 On this, my third visit to Highbury (a goalless draw - I’d now seen my team score three times in four and a half hours), all the kids were given a free Soccer Stars album. Each page of the album was devoted to one First Division team, and contained fourteen or fifteen spaces in which to glue stickers of the players; we were also given a little packet of the stickers to start our collection off.

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