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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 mirrors
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...
Published on 8 Jan 2012 by Bernie Friend

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Autobiographical footy nostalgia
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...
Published on 2 July 2011 by Officer Dibble


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 mirrors, 8 Jan 2012
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This review is from: 32 Programmes (Paperback)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight into a collector!, 28 July 2011
By 
Mr. P. J. Cooper - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 32 Programmes (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Autobiographical footy nostalgia, 2 July 2011
By 
Officer Dibble (Zummerzet) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: 32 Programmes (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for football nostalgia, 29 Dec 2012
This review is from: 32 Programmes (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 25 April 2012
This review is from: 32 Programmes (Paperback)
The wonderment of your first match, the joy of winning, the misery of loosing, the pain of long trips home on the back of defeat. No if's, no and's , no but's this is the best football book I have ever read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shame it wasn't 64, 8 Aug 2012
By 
N. H. Ferguson (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 32 Programmes (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Damn you Mrs Roberts, 26 Dec 2011
By 
This review is from: 32 Programmes (Paperback)
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
3.0 out of 5 stars The post-Hornby universe, 19 Dec 2011
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This review is from: 32 Programmes (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Roberts has his own voice, but he clearly paddles in the wake of Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch. But what was crucially important about that book was that you didn't really need to be interested in football per se to appreciate it - it was about an obsession, of the sort we all have. I'm not sure that someone who doesn't appreciate the romance of mid-70s mid-week mid-table goalless draws would really be drawn into the story of 32 Programmes. And the Man U adulation loses a star, as far as I'm concerned...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superbly crafted read, 27 Nov 2011
By 
S. Phelps "bristolskyblue" (bristol) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 32 Programmes (Paperback)
This book is a real page turner - superbly crafted throughout with an excellent memory for detail. If I could have rated it six stars I would have - thoroughly recommended - I ended up bringing home my collection of Coventry City programmes from 1979 to the current day as a result - I wish Dave all the best in the short list for the William Hill Sports book of the year - fully deserved.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Saturday-Afternoon Fever Pitch, 22 Nov 2011
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This review is from: 32 Programmes (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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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