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Daniel Gray's latest book is 'Hatters, Railwaymen and Knitters: Travels Through England's Football Provinces'. It is published by Bloomsbury.
Author and historian Daniel is also the writer of 'Stramash: Tackling Scotland's Towns and Teams' and 'Homage to Caledonia: Scotland and the Spanish Civil War'. He has written features, opinion pieces, obituaries and book reviews for a wide range of newspapers and magazines, including theguardian, The Scotsman, The Sunday Herald and When Saturday Comes. He writes a monthly travel sketch column for The Leither magazine.
Daniel can occasionally be heard on radio, whether talking about Benjamin Disraeli on Radio Three or Raith Rovers via internet stations. He has filmed a number of pieces for Scottish television, including on STV's The Scots Who Fought Franco, for which he wrote the script. Daniel has addressed more than 70 audiences in the last couple of years, from local communist parties to the Edinburgh Book Festival.
Praise for Hatters:
'Gray brilliantly interweaves social history, modern day public and political life and, of course, football itself...Highly recommended.'
'Excellent. Quality and heartfelt football writing.'
David Conn, the guardian
Oliver Kay, The Times
'A delight. It's the kind of book, filled with astute observations of small details, that might just convince the most confirmed football sceptic why football has such a place in our culture....a book to savour and to make you think.'
'Superlative...The book is beautifully written; pessimistic and damning, yet joyful and full of love for the game...wonderful.'
When Saturday Comes magazine
'Like a footballing version of Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island.'
'A wryly-observed history lesson on lower league football and proper Englishness.'
'More than just a tale of sport, Gray's quest becomes a voyage of discovery...His humour and passion may well win over even the most reluctant of football fans.'
Easyjet Traveller magazine
'[Gray] writes like Lowry paints. Superb.'
'Among urban blight, his astute eye can pick out details that are funny, redeeming or both...Book of the Week.'
Bradford Telegraph and Argus
'Superb...a shrewdly observed and at times caustic cocktail of social history and travelogue.'
Middlesbrough Evening Gazette
'300 pages of great prose... a beautiful book about England, one worth reading.'
Staten Island Advance newspaper
'It is perhaps obvious to compare Gray to Nick Hornby given the subject matter, yet the comparisons stretch beyond a passion for football... Beautifully written, nostalgic and reflective, this will also appeal to fans of Simon Armitage, Stuart Maconie and Tim Moore.'
Books with Bunny blog
'Daniel Gray does an excellent job of writing a football book that is about more than football.'
Burnley No Nay Never blog
'Recognising the interconnectedness of town and team, Gray offers social histories of the places he visits for the weekend, coupling them with droll travel writing...a celebration of the game and where its roots and its guts lie... I heartily recommend you pick up a copy as an antidote to the cold cynicism that pervades the peak of the football pyramid.'
'A wonderful read and like some of the very best football books out there, the actual football is merely a footnote...Really enjoyable and beautifully paced, this is one to read and keep as in ten years' time it could feel even more relevant than it does right now.'
In Bed with Maradona
'One of our favourite books in recent memory. It is a unique title, one that is part travel journal and part football commentary...It is really quite brilliant.'
International Soccer Network
'A story of towns, their people, their histories, their clubs, and a ruddy bloody great read.'
Love Middlesbrough blog
Praise for Stramash:
'An excellent new book about the country's smaller teams... [Stramash] captures the vague romance that still clings to the these 'smaller' Scottish clubs. It will make a must-read for every non-Old Firm football fan - and for many Rangers and Celtic supporters too.' Daily Record
'It is not a look at the state of the game just now in borrowed tartan glasses or a shortbread tin view of an English tourist, it is more than that... The book charts Gray's visits to Ayr, Alloa, Cowdenbeath, Coatbridge, Montrose, Kirkcaldy, Greenock, Arbroath, Dingwall, Cumbernauld, Dumfries and Elgin and the chapters dedicated to each stop provide more than just a description of match action.' Scottish Football League Official Newsletter
'There have been previous attempts by authors to explore the off-the-beaten paths of the Scottish football landscape, but Daniel Gray's volume is in another league as he mixes social history with sharp contemporary observation (and measured wit) in the classic outposts of the game which, together, epitomise the character of football north of the border.' The Scotsman, Sports Books of the Year 2010
'As he takes in a match at each stopping-off point, Gray presents little portraits of small Scottish towns, relating histories of declining industry, radical politics and the connection between a team and its community. It's a brilliant way to rediscover Scotland, and some outstanding players who deserve to have been national legends but are now long forgotten.' The Herald
'...there is enough here to interest the casual reader, and if you're looking for a book that provides at least a flavour of life in the SFL and a bit of background to some of the social histories from which Scottish football and its teams grew, then this would be a reasonable place to start. And not only because of the lack of any other books attempting the same thing. When Saturday Comes
'...a great read, because Gray doesn't write about just football, he uses football as an excuse to explore the histories of small towns in Scotland. Employing the same research skills used in Homage to Caledonia, he digs up theoretically fascinating facts about towns like Arbroath, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. And they are fascinating, because he works these into a narrative of his visits to see the small town's football teams in action.
So historical detail combines with the day-to-day, as when he writes "[a manufacturer's] family would later gift the town the museum in which I now stood, being tutted at by a curator for allowing my mobile phone to erupt", and it's this approach that keeps the book moving pacily along, before we even get to the football. As for that, if you've ever wanted to know why Arbroath FC are called the Red Lichties or why Tommy Ring and 'Vodka Vic' are legendary in some postcodes, this richly researched and humorously written book is for you. 4/5.' The Skinny
'Why do the Gers and Hoops have retail outlets in the capital? Why do buses depart for Glasgow on a Saturday morning from every corner of Scotland?
Gray's book is a splendid attempt to answer these questions, and more besides. The author has done it the hard way, too, by actually turning up for games in Alloa, Coatbridge, Greenock, Kirkcaldy, Elgin and, yes, Dingwall. He has been to see where we live, or once lived. The result is sociology at its best, which is to say eminently readable...
His book should be required reading for anyone who elects to prattle on about this sport's "grassroots"... Stramash may turn out to be a memoir of the way we were, and an epitaph.' Ian Bell, The Sunday Herald
'I defy anyone to read Stramash and not fall in love with Scottish football's blessed eccentricities all over again... Funny enough to bring on involuntary, laugh out loud moments. It's a good book to read if you want to disconcert your fellow Scotrail commuters.
An admirably accessible introduction to Scottish football, our footballing heritage and our rich social history.' Scottish Football Blog
'A very readable book, striking the right balance between history and gossip. 5/5.' Beyond the Bandstand: Stranraer FC programme
'Gray presents his story as half national football profile-half Edwardian travelogue...his railings against the identikit high-street are laced with pithy humour and wry observances. And somehow, he always manages to find something witty, endearing or beautiful even in the most deprived post-industrial back-waters...However interesting and entertaining the vignettes of the towns and their characters are, his evocations of an almost lost footballing world are beautiful, poignant and usually quite funny...a splendid kind of football book.' backpagefootball
Praise for Homage to Caledonia
'Important and powerful' Tony Benn
'Told through the words and experiences of those who were there, this meticulously researched and beautifully written book is simultaneously heart-breaking and uplifting.' Maggie Craig
'Daniel Gray has done a marvellous job in bringing together the stories of Scots volunteers... in [this] many-voiced, multi-layered book.' Scotland on Sunday
'[Gray] has organised a complex story into a well-constructed and compelling narrative. He can write - his prose is unfussy, fluent and warm. Best of all, he has squared the circle of producing accurate history while retaining a deep respect for the men and women who people it... moving and thought-provoking.' The Herald
'Excellent... highly effective.' The Scots Magazine
'A new and fascinating contribution.' Scottish Review of Books
'Excellent... a rigorous, well written and entertaining assessment of Scotland's contribution to that chapter of European history.' Holyrood Magazine
'Book of the week... Gray deserves applause for shining a light on a lesserknown aspect of the nation's character of which we should all be proud.' Press and Journal
'A very human history of the conflict emerges.' Scottish Field
'The latest addition to a line of excellent books detailing the efforts of British men and women in Spain.' Morning Star
'An excellent book I would recommend to anyone with an interest in the Civil War.' Scots Independent
'Tells the story of those in Spain, but also of the tremendous effort of the Scots at home to raise funds to provide vital food and medical supplies.' Daily Record
'Much of the testimony in this important book is new... What is most impressive is the way in which the different characters involved carry the reader along with them. From its pages, the voices of the ordinary Scots who volunteered to fight fascism ring out loud and clear... in no other book will you find yourself closer to them, or more inspired.' International Brigades Memorial Trust newsletter
'Daniel Gray skilfully weaves the words of the Scottish participants in Spain's struggle for democracy in this excellent and timely book.' The Citizen
'Gray weaves a complex, yet highly accessible and personalised narrative...[his] work offers unique insights into the complexity, passions and ultimate tragedy of this conflict.' Scottish Labour History Journal