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32 Programmes
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 2 July 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you think 'normal life is sitting on your bed reading football programmes until three a.m.', then welcome to heaven. Using a programme collection to chart life's milestones is a brilliant idea to the footy mad amongst us.

Particularly in the early part of this book, the author splendidly weaves in anecdotes and the minutiae of a fan's life from 1964 to 2008. Even if you were a non-fan growing up in this period, you will have many laughs and cringe-making reminiscences; who else owned the fashion nightmare 'Budgie' jacket?

The premise began to fade as the story moved into the 1980's. The balance seemed to switch and there were more 'shots tipped over the bar by Crudgington' than autobiographical detail. I got the impression that I was reading match reports fom Mr Robert's 'Filofax'. This will still appeal to fans of Manchester United and Plymouth Argyle as the two most featured teams.

This was doubly frustrating as major events were taking place in the author's life which are condensed into mere passing paragraphs. However, Mr Roberts is not re-writing 'Fever Pitch'; he is an obsessive fan and this is about his obsession. A very enjoyable 'dip-in' read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 28 July 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Being a collector of various things myself, including football programmes (though to a lesser extent than Mr. Roberts). I knew I would enjoy this book.
Starting with his first football match between Fulham and Man Utd in 1965, it documents key events in his life and you can't fail to be won over with his passion for the subject! It is interesting to see how football changes during the documented time. The final 2 chapters are a lovely end to the book.
Recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2012
I was given this book as a Christmas present and it took me two days to read. It owes a lot to the Nick Hornby-era style of 'Fever Pitch', and whilst it is a shorter book than its famous predecessor it has the same depth and nostalgia.
The pitch (excuse the pun) is that Dave had to select 32 programmes to take with him when he emigrated to the States, leaving the rest of his collection of 1134 football programmes behind. He then describes each of matches in depth from which he has chosen his 32 programmes. The games stretch from 1964 until the present day; and his remarkable memory, allied to his meticulous notes, mean that you get a real sense of what it was like to be at each of the games. Some games are chosen for life-changing reasons (his first ever game, the first game that he attended with his wife), and others simply for quirks and oddities. The richness of football folklore in the Sixties and Seventies is addressed, and some insights that you will not find in the history books become apparent.
The nice thing about this book is that it enjoyable for fans of all teams. As Dave was a fan of Bromley, he did not follow one big team, and as a result a wide range of teams get a mention; including Leeds, Plymouth and Bury. There is something here for everybody. Despite a fanatical devotion to Bromley he appears to have been a genuine fan of all football.
There is a twist, and surprisingly football does not dominate all of his life, but you need to read up to programme 32 to find out.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2012
A wonderful book and one of the best football-related stories I have read in years.
And the main reason being that Dave's story is a mirror image of all football fans who have fuelled their obsession by working in unhappy crap jobs so they could stand on terraces up and down the country and support their favourite team through thin and thinner.
It's also a generational thing, as although I am a good 10 years younger than Dave, teenagers picking up the way-of-life curse of following their local team, will never experience standing alongside their fellow Bovril and cigarette smelling fans on crumbling concrete steps with weeds growing inbetween their toes.
They are more likely to be herded into the Lego-like cloned theatres of anti-atmopshere that are becoming the sterile homes of our football clubs in the present. At least now, they will have a good account of what they missed.
I too used to feverishly keep a big collection of programmes in protective plastic wallets as fanatically as any guarded trainspotter or stamp collector.
But I sold my soul a few years ago and flogged them to a local sports memorobilia shop to make more room for other stuff in my house. And, yes, just like Dave it was a sale linked to her who must be obeyed. I also thought it was a sign I was finally growing up as I reached my late thirties, but I was so wrong. I don't want to grow up and Dave, you have made me regret ever trying to foolishly pull off the pretence.
What have I done? I'll never get that collection back again, or at least have the consolation prize of just 32 Programmes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Dave Roberts is moving to the US. His long-suffering wife tells him he can only take a tupperware box full of the many, many programmes he has collected throughout his life.

Influenced by Nick Hornby (a cross between '31 Songs' and 'Fever Pitch', with a dash of Desert Island Discs thrown in), this s Roberts' second book. His previous work, 'The Bromley Boys' focussed on his local team and the love of his footballing life. In '32 Programmes' he selects the matches that define him, tying programmes together with key events in his life.

He does this well, with a thick vein of humour evident throughout the book, conveying the desperation and brotherhood that men (and women) find stood on a freezing winter Saturday, watching a team that you know will break your heart with only a cup of bovril to keep you going.

Suited more specifically to such die-hard, OCD football fans than either of Hornby's books (both of which have a wider audience), Roberts is an engaging author whose passion for football of all levels comes across easily in his works. He makes it enjoyable and entertaining.

Simply, if you have a real football fan in your family...buy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 December 2011
because if you'd allowed your husband to take 64 programmes then I could have twice the fun. If you read Dave Roberts' previous offering, Bromley Boys, then you know what to expect. If you haven't then this is a book full of warmth, humour & obsessive attention to detail. However, as this is essentially his autobiography through the medium of matchday programmes you get much more. Roberts' humour comes through the mundane aspects of life. In fact he appears to go out of his way to highlight those dull bits of his obsession - almost revelling in the fact that girlfriends seem bored by things he (& the average football fan) find interesting. It's no coincidence that this book was shortlisted for the "William Hill Book of the Year" & actually won the "Four Four Two" magazine "Football Culture Book" Award for 2011.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
IMAGINE loafing in your favourite armchair, old mates around, beers and bites on hand, humour high, watching and discussing re-runs of memorable football matches.

Sounds good, doesn't it? Well it's not far off what you get with Dave Roberts' delightful homage to the Beautiful Game, and the part his life has played in it. The simple premise...he's got to whittle his lifetime collection of match programmes down to 32...is probably cobblers, but it allows him to relate the story behind each one.

So we have a book full of the joys, miseries, near-misses, hopes, failures and fun of life, in this case a football obsessive's, but it's one we can all find something to identify with.

A heart-warmer, people. Up there with the best of `em.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 August 2012
Have rarely enjoyed a book so much. The concept of the programmes providing the chapters is a simple one and a very effective. It moves the narrative easily onwards towards its poignant and touching finale.

If I had a criticism, it's too short. The chapters sometimes race by - although this could have been my reading of them - and also only having 32 programmes as a framework meant it couldn't last as long as I would have liked without some padding. There is no padding.

As well as a well-told human story it's also a great evocation of a footballing era that is long gone, with some of the characters Dave Roberts sees back then now legendary. None more so than Denis Law...

Well worth anyone's time and money.
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VINE VOICEon 22 April 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is brilliant, I couldn't put it down. The tale of a man confronted with discarding the major part of his collection of football programmes. He had 1,134 programmes but could only take enough to full a Tupperware box his `cruel' wife said.

He eventually chose 32 programmes and this is the story of why he chose each programme.

I am not a football fanatic but this was a fascinating story of a man and his love for football; how he changed over the years from being a fan of tender years to a grown man able to `face facts'.

I did wonder why his wife was so mean to him - did she have a collection of something she took? Or perhaps she was mean to herself as well and disposed of loved things. Never having moved to another country to live, I guess I can't imagine how much stuff we love has to be discarded.

When he originally started collecting programmes, he would buy two - one to write on and one to keep pristine. He started off keeping those programmes which were financially valuable but eventually kept only those which meant something to him. The story of why he loved the programme of a particular match is fascinating. The quiet joy of reading the names of men I have enjoyed watching on Match of the Day - Frank McClintock, George Best, Malcolm Allison to name but a few. But also included are the tales of racism at matches - noting is hidden.

Buy, read, enjoy and then pass on to someone who doesn't understand why people like football!

Review by Shirleyanne Seel.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Essentially this is Dave Roberts' autobiography, but if you're thinking "Dave who?" don't worry, it's not a celebrity autobiography.

Instead it's the story of how a man, born around 1955, grew up to have a warm obsession with football, and the way in which obsessive game-watching and programme-collecting developed and changed from pre-teens through to adulthood. Like "Fever Pitch" that it has already been compared to, it's a tale that football-mad men might relate to, and everybody else might find endearing or charming in a way that may help them understand why people can get so excited about a ball being kicked round a pitch.

It's also interesting to see how football itself changes so massively from the 60s through to the 80s. At the beginning there's a strong feeling that this is "jumpers for goalposts" grass roots football, and it changes into being a major multi-billion-pound business right in front of Roberts' eyes.

There's a lot of humour in here too. As a twenty- and thirty-something advertising executive Roberts clearly had more money than sense and ended up on some fairly wild cross-country adventures, the stories of which he tells well. This is not the story of a man who went to the same football ground week in week out; there are games from around the world recounted here.

The last few sombre chapters, about 'growing out of it', serious illness and more, round it all off beautifully and with more than a hint of sadness. A really interesting read and all too short.
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