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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, encapsulates the importance of the beaautiful game in defining our nation
Gray visited towns and cities across England in the 2011-2012 season, examining their relationships with the local football teams. From Burnley to Carlisle, Crewe to Leyton, Hatters, Railwaymen and Knitters explores the diversity of England and the relationship between a local team and the town they are part of. More than purely a book about football, this is a history...
Published 11 months ago by K. L. Beeden

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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Prepare to be bored...
Read the reviews, on here and in WSC - thought i'd have a blast on the book as it sounded like a no brainer...

This was mind numbing & at the best of times. It just comes across as made up twaddle (he talks utter rubbish - his tone is not what I'd expect from a 30 year old) - his take on Middlesbrough & Sheffield in the first 2 chapters left me wondering that...
Published 6 months ago by Chalk da Bomb


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, encapsulates the importance of the beaautiful game in defining our nation, 2 Aug 2013
By 
K. L. Beeden (uk) - See all my reviews
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Gray visited towns and cities across England in the 2011-2012 season, examining their relationships with the local football teams. From Burnley to Carlisle, Crewe to Leyton, Hatters, Railwaymen and Knitters explores the diversity of England and the relationship between a local team and the town they are part of. More than purely a book about football, this is a history lesson, a social commentary, a declaration of love for the beautiful game. Gray's acute observations will resonate with football fans such as the summing up of the anticipation of visiting a new ground with the phrase 'may nothing stop the feeling a first visit to a new ground gives'. Portrayals of towns and the characters who reside there alongside both footballing and local anecdotes will amuse and inform in equal measure.

It is perhaps obvious to compare Gray to Hornby given the subject matter, yet the comparisons stretch beyond a passion for football. Wry observations of the quirky behaviour of football fanatics and a dry underlying humour appear to be Gray's fortes, making Hatters, Railwaymen and Knitters a highly readable and entertaining piece. Beautifully written, nostalgic and reflective, this will also appeal to fans of Simon Armitage, Stuart Maconie and Tim Moore.
9/10
*review originally published on [...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wry look at England and football, 29 Aug 2013
By 
Bantam Dave (Bradford, UK) - See all my reviews
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Daniel Gray is very much a proud Englishman but having been exiled in Scotland for over ten years he realises he needs get to know his homeland again. Rather than just simply travel around England he chooses to utilise his love of football and visit the grounds of clubs that had a significant season during the year of his birth, 1981. Ignoring the mega Premier League clubs he goes the homes of twelve teams from the lower echelons of the football pyramid, to places like Carlisle, Burnley, Luton, Middlesbrough and Newquay. As well as attending a match Gray also casts his eye on the town, relating what he finds to the football club and to England in general. For example, in Middlesbrough he looks at the death of industry and in Luton at attitudes towards race and its divisions.

This is a fascinating book and one that is difficult to categorise. It is not a football book as such - this is evidenced by the fact that Gray never names players in his accounts of matches watched - nor is it a travelogue or a social history; it comfortably straddles each of these, coming together to make a really interesting read. I enjoyed Daniel Gray's writing style; he is drily amusing (I like his line about Tesco becoming so big that they may enter their own team in the Olympics) and informative but he is never overly critical, preferring to write about the upside of what he found on his travels rather than dwell on the downside.

A previous reviewer has suggested that this book may appeal to fans of Simon Armitage, Stuart Maconie and Tim Moore; whilst I can see his point, to me this book more closely resembles the work of that brilliant writer, Harry Pearson. I believe that like Daniel Gray, Pearson is a native of Teeside. Is there something in the air around there that helps produce good writers?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like football, history, football history and politics? This is for you..., 30 Sep 2013
By 
T. C. Hogg "tom57173" (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Dan Gray's latest book surpasses his earlier football travelogue/polemic "Stramash" with a wide ranging and geographically diverse wander through various levels of English football. As before in his warm-up based in Scotland, he effortlessly segues between football, local history and politics and in some cases a combination of all three. All of this is deftly delivered with good humour, affection and some astute observations about the state of England (in both senses).

There are a good number of laughs, a couple of tears wiped away and the usual sad feeling at the end when you realise that there's no more left to read.

If Dan had the stamina (and if he didn't live in Leith) this would work as a monthly feature in one of the Sunday supplements. Except they'd be too metropolitan to even think about covering football.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great read, 26 Aug 2013
Travel meets local history meets football with plenty of laugh out loud moments along the way. Gray brings a warmth to the proceedings and his sharp eye and attention to detail make this a really great read. Highly recommended for non-football fans and lovers of the great game alike.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 24 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Hatters, Railwaymen and Knitters: Travels through England's Football Provinces (Paperback)
Not so much a book about football as a book about England and Englishness in general viewed through the prism of the beautiful game. Daniel Gray claims to be a cynical northerner but actually writes a very warm hearted and thoroughly entertaining piece of work. Highly readable and recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fine read, 22 Jun 2014
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I can offer Daniel GRAY no higher praise than compare him favourably to Harry Person, a northern writer who ploughs a similar furrow. Daniel's love for his subject shines out from every page. This is. Book that I know I will re-read within a year.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended., 23 May 2014
By 
Richard (Melton Mowbray) - See all my reviews
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This might be considered an esoteric book at first sight, relating as it does to towns and their football teams, but readers should persevere, as Gray is a witty and perceptive writer and his book rewards you many times as you go through it.
He laces the commentary with knowledge and research on both football and local history but what is most enjoyable throughout is his writing style, which is clearly being honed as book follows book, and often the wit makes you laugh out loud.
I heartily commend this and his other work to all, and I write as a PG Wodehouse aficionado and collector. Can there be higher praise?
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5.0 out of 5 stars There's more to football than EPL, 23 Jan 2014
By 
Martin Batchelor (oxford,england) - See all my reviews
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A journey through England, well observed, interesting and amusing, taking in towns and football clubs that may have seen better days but still have character and identity. It stands well in comparison to Bill Bryson.
I really enjoyed the book, and would thoroughly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking journey through England, 12 Jan 2014
This review is from: Hatters, Railwaymen and Knitters: Travels through England's Football Provinces (Paperback)
The book is a lovely look at both the forgotten corners of English football and at England and Englishness.
The writer weaves a narrative that provides all the details you need about the selected clubs, but then underpins this with a look at the reasons the clubs exist and matter, and what they reveal about England in the 21st Century.
A brilliant book highly recommended for anyone who doesn't buy into the Sky Sports hype of there only being a few clubs that matter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt and warm: an ode to proper football, 13 Dec 2013
This review is from: Hatters, Railwaymen and Knitters: Travels through England's Football Provinces (Paperback)
Several years ago, after much soul searching, I abandoned top flight football and embarked on a quest to rediscover my love of the game through the medium of the lower leagues. Gary Megson, then manager of my first love Bolton Wanderers, had just thrown away the chance to reach the quarter finals of the UEFA cup by playing a weakened side in Lisbon. You see, finishing fourth bottom of the Premier League, thereby avoiding relegation, was deemed success. The chance to win a major European trophy for the first time in the club's history was an inconvenience.

Five years on and I'm watching Rochdale AFC of the Fourth Division. And I'm loving it. Standing behind the goals, visiting football grounds that I've not been to for years and not having to take out a second mortgage for the pleasure.

In his travels through England's football provinces, Gray draws the same conclusions as I did about Premier League football and its Sky Sports, Russian oligarchs and the baleful Gary Neville. The football I fell in love with - and what I enjoy being part of every weekend - is a world away from the sanitised "product" we see on the television.

In Gray's book there are plenty of history lessons and laughs along the way, together with heartbreak and sombreness in the pages about the Bradford City stadium fire. And you'll cry tears of joy when you read about the fan-owned Chester City FC.

Heartfelt and warm about the towns and football clubs he visits, Gray even manages to make Luton sound attractive.

A perfect gift, Gray's book is a must-read for all football fans and anyone interested in English social history and politics.
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