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Awaydays Paperback – 4 Mar 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (4 Mar. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099267977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099267973
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 78,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The first page of this excellent debut novel shows a map of Birkenhead featuring the Tranmere Rovers football ground, the train line to Wrexham and an arrow pointing to Chester. Not exactly the definition of chic? Well in 1979, it wasn't far off. Awaydays is about "The Pack", a gang of Tranmere Rovers Hooligans who terrorise those northern towns unfortunate enough to have a third division football team. But Awaydays is also about the implications of Margaret Thatcher's first government, the music of Joy Division and the Only Ones, youth unemployment, the explosion of heroin use, the rise of the casual street movement and what young people do when the world gets tough. The protagonist is caught between two worlds. Called Carty by the lads in the Pack and Paul by his family, he has nine O- Levels and acknowledges a tendency to "lay the accent on a bit thick when I'm with the pack, but I modulate it for all sorts of situations. I can go very posh indeed". When his worlds inevitably collide Carty is forced to making a life-changing decision. Should he stay or should he go? Take an Awayday and find out.

Review

"A superb debut novel" (Select)

"Nasty stuff, brilliantly told" (Guardian)

"Cheeky, entertaining, and in parts dangerous" (Loaded)

"A gritty novel...with wit and humour at every turn" (Maxim)

"An acutely observed story...it comes as a relief to read a rounded evocation of a time and a generation which has too often been reduced to cliches" (Independent on Sunday)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The review title is shamelessly lifted from the front cover of this superbly well observed piece, one sadly never replicated by Sampson in his latter works.
Birkenhead in 1979 was just as he describes, the post-punk lethargy and the beginnings of the Heroin influx which led to the Wirrals' Capital Town being re-named euphemistically "Smack City". The internicine wars between the WEBB (Woodchurch Estate Boot Boys") the Noctorum and Ford estate equivalents all set aside when Tranmere played away.
Sampson pulls off a rare trick in this,his first,novel, that of being able to evoke a real sense of the young Paul Cartys need to belong to "The pack" whilst simulaneously wanting to be his own man.Cartys journey is a metaphor for many young mens transition from boy to man only his route is a tad more extreme.
Sampson has also translated his Love for the period very well and the references to the Liverpool underground scene via probe Records and Erics take this reader almost literally back in time.
The Violence he describes is almost Gonzo, but I'll forgive him this because the context is correct, you see Sampson takes you to a point where these smartly dressed and stylish lads..well, you want them to win against their unfashionably dressed opponents with, well, style.

For fans of 80's youth culture this is a must have, for students of modern post industrial history this is a must have and for those who just love a fast moving gory youth piece, this is a must have.
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Format: Paperback
Nostalgia played a huge part in my enjoyment of this book - I grew up less than half a mile from Tranmere's ground, and whilst the main character was 19 in 1979, I was 16.
They say everyone's first novel is at least partly autobiographical, which possibly puts the bold Mr. Sampson in the Cowsheds (Prenton Park's home end at the time)at the same time as me.
Memories aside, the story is highly enjoyable, and offers a cutting and accurate insight into late seventies, lower division football hooliganism.
Sampson has an excellent ear for colloquial speech, and is able to put it on paper fluently (skills later developed to the max in 'Outlaws' and 'Clubland'. I laughed out loud at Paul Carty's outburst after his quickie in Vale Park ('Arr, hey! State of me kecks!').
Unashamedly macho, great fun.
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Format: Paperback
Yes there'a a million and one books writen by clumsy band-wagon jumpers glorifying 70s hooliganism they probably weren't involved in, but this is not one. Speaking from personal experience, the subtleties of Wirral boroughs and casual couture are absolutely spot on, betraying the author's encyclopaedic knowledge. With a fluent tone throughout, this is a short but fascinating book by a great young author.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book after recently seeing the movie broadcast on television. The movie tells of a young lad's desire to become a member of a football hooligan pack and befriends a guy called Elvis in the hope of finding a way in to join the group.
The book, however, concentrates more on the sport of football and the violence which follows the game around. So, while the two are linked, the views are from a different perspective and the book tends to jump about even though the chapters follow a calendar of days towards the end of the seventies, during the Thatcher years. For this reason, I recommend the book to anyone who enjoyed the film as it is not the bog standard movie novelisation but rather an expanded tie-in novel.
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By A Customer on 22 Aug. 1999
Format: Paperback
"Awaydays" captures everything it sets out to.If you were kicking around the streets at the time the novel is set in 1979,it will capture that certain nostalgic longing.If you were not,it will certainly capture the imagination.Paul and his mate "Elvis" have their late teenage years engulfed in footie,violence,music,girls and a liking for the "scally" sartor gripping Merseysides youth. Paul is torn between loyalty to his teams "crew" and a family life that he will have to work at,if it is to succeed.It is a tragedy in the waiting and mr Sampson delivers it with this brilliant story set against the closing of an ever changing decade.Still,don't just take my word for it,find out for yourself.
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Format: Paperback
The popularity of films like ''Green Street'' and ''Football Factory'', which depict football violence seem to have increased over recent years whilst the violence itself has been decreasing. This, combined with an increase in the number of ''true life stories'' type books means that those people who took part in this kind of behaviour can now talk about it more freely and to a wider audience. Although marketed as fiction, Kevin Sampson's ''Awaydays'' is one of the latest to fall into this category.

Paul Carty is from a fairly decent area of Birkenhead and shouldn't really be interested in going to football matches purely for the violence. But since his mother's death, he finds it easier to lose himself in a world of casual violence and equally casual sex than to face the home life he would have without her. He inhabits an area between the two worlds, feeling estranged from the family he still lives with, but never being entirely accepted by The Pack, Tranmere Rovers travelling fans, no matter how conformant his dress or how many opposition fans he fights.

The only person who seems to accept him is Elvis, the only other member of The Pack who doesn't seem to match the stereotype of a football hooligan. He not only experiences angst, but he also seems to know how to spell it. Whilst most of The Pack exist only to cause hurt to others, Elvis worries that his continued existence may cause hurt to himself. This not knowing how or even whether they fit in doesn't prevent them from enjoying the life to the full.

''Awaydays'' is six weeks in the life of Carty, in his dealings both within and outside of The Pack. It's written in the first person, from Carty's point of view, which helps give the story a lot more impact and immediacy.
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