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on 23 December 2016
If you've pinned your colours to the mast and regularly watch one football team, you'll surely see Nick Hornby's obsessions, passions and eccentricities in yourself like I did. Doesn't matter if you don't support the Arse. Even Spurs fans can enjoy this book!
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on 28 May 2001
An extremely intelligent, well-written and humorous description of the psyche of a football fan, the author. "Fever Pitch is an attempt to gain some kind of angle on my obsession." The obsession being Arsenal, or perhaps just the Arsenal ground, Highbury, as Hornby rarely attends away games. It is also an autobiographical romp from 1957-1991. Those who did not grow up in Britain during the 60s and 70s, or who are not familiar with football, or who are not interested in British society or football will probably (but not certainly) find this book hard to read and in many places boring. However, I think the book stands on its own feet as an investigation into a fan's obsession. The flashes of forthright honesty are as funny as Roseanne. Hornby is fascinated and frankly appalled by the selfishness and immaturity of his obsession, yet also mystified by it to the point of awe. "The truth is: for alarmingly large chunks of an average day, I am a moron" (page 2!) And towards the end: "Pete and I left around twelve, I guess, for a three p.m., Sunday afternoon kick-off, and got there just in time. It was an awful game, unspeakable, a nil-nil draw in freezing conditions�c and it was live on television, so we could have stayed at home. My powers of self-analysis fail me completely here; I don't know why we went. We just did." With such endearing writing, Hornby won me over. I also found his comments on the past, present and future of British (well OK, English) football illuminating - especially on hooliganism and disasters like Hillsborough. This was the first Nick Hornby book I read, and I definitely want to read more.
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on 27 November 2000
Regardless of any literary merit, in terms of its effect on British society this book has to be considered one of the most important books published in recent years. It's hard to remember now that when Hornby was writing this book, football fans were considered to be little more than potential hooligans, or the 'belching sub-humanity' portrayed in Bill Bruford's book 'Among the Thugs'.
'Fever Pitch' made it possible for the vast majority of 'normal' people who watch football, to 'come out of the closet'. Without that, none of the huge changes that have taken place in the way the game is perceived and consumed (for good and bad) would have taken place.
But given all that, what is 'Fever Pith' actually like to read? It's a fine book, packed with accurate observations about not only football, but also life in general. No-one could possibly not relate to the young Hornby's first intimations of human mortality (on seeing the victim of a heart attack, immediately after a Crystal Palace game,) his consideration of the basic human need for quasi-religous rituals which one hopes will influence events totally out of one's control, or the terrible Parable of Gus Caeser. Hornby's articulate prose style, full of self-effacing humour, makes every page a delight to read.
I've heard it said that even people without any knowledge of or interest in football can enjoy this book. My own experience is, however, that this is not the case. Another problem for potential readers is that, with the passage of time, even football fans will find it difficult to remember many of the key events (particularly the momentous 1988/89 season) around which the book is based. Finally, as someone who is not an Arsenal fan, I found Hornby's continual putting-down of his team ("I must be mad to support this lot" etc.) a little annoying. 95% of football fans would give almost anything for their team to be as successful as Arsenal.
Notwithstanding these points, I cannot recommend this book more highly. As the book says, football fans are not emotionally-retarded idiots. In their own way, they understand certain essential truths and experience emotions the rest of the world can have no idea of.
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on 14 August 2005
I received this book from a friend as a birthday present, who chose it because of its subject knowing I was a big football fan. Perhaps this was a rather misguided choice, though, as although Fever Pitch is based around Hornby's childhood (and early manhood) experiences of football, it is so much more than a run-of-the-mill football book. Its beautifully crafted life experience stories are, admittedly, set around key Arsenal matches in the 1980s, but if this were to put of non-football fans it would truly be a shame. Unlike many authors, especially in this genre, Hornby has a gift of true communication - throughout the book one gets the feeling of being with him as he searches for the purpose of his life, and the position of his hobby-come-obsession within that.
Although for non-football fans the match descriptions may seem dull and unappealing, they make up only a small percentage of the book and are included in such a way as to be intrinsic to the storyline rather than as an added extra to appeal to the terraces. It is in crafting this into his personal life that Hornby achieves his real success, and creates what many believe to be the best football book ever.
But don't forget, this book isn't just about Arsenal, or even football, but about how a young Londoner grows up, and learns to live his own life. A heart-warming tale, not to be overlooked.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 July 2016
Nick Hornby’s account of his fanatical support of the Arsenal football team rightly attracted the praise of literary critics on its publication in 1992 and, as a book that I have reread on many occasions since, it has lost none of its perceptive qualities (particularly around the male psyche) and very little of its relevance. As a contemporary of Hornby, I did wonder whether the man still follows his team with quite the same degree of ‘life or death seriousness’ (my own interest in football having waned over the years) and he makes plenty of pertinent points around the changing nature of the game going into the 1990s (the advent of all-seater stadia, the rising cost of admission and, hence, the changing social demography of the crowd). Whatever, the book is still packed full of moments of hilarity (and, given the nature of the obsession, tragedy!), often, of course, derived from the obsessive, blinkered, masochistic maleness of his passion. If I had to pick one highlight from the book it would be Hornby’s analysis of what makes for a 'perfect’ match (from a spectator’s perspective), ditching the possibility of free-flowing football on a gloriously sunny afternoon, in favour of dodgy refereeing decisions, muddy pitches, sendings-off, player punch-ups, missed penalties, noisy crowds and (of course) goals (preferably, your team coming from two goals down to win). It’s still magical stuff!
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on 7 June 2014
One of the best books I have ever read and -believe me- I've read many in my life. It deals with a fan's life, but it is about human beings in general. Nick Hornby's ability to dig into his own obsession is almost worth while of a psychology essay, without dismissing the pleasure of reading though.
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on 29 January 2014
I am a football fan and a Nick Hornby fan so I was very curious to read this book. Football fan surely love it but I think also people who aren't should read it! It's a nice trip into an amazing sport and shows how all football supporters should behave...
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on 21 July 2004
This book is amazingly intuitive. Nick Hornby has been there and done that so far as genuine football supporting goes. He assesses in a surprisingly rational way (for one so irrational at times) both the benefits and the destructive nature of obsession. Although this book is based around the games of Arsenal (and a brief flirtation with Cambridge United) it says a lot more about human nature (and Charlie George's haircuts) than the tactics of George Graham! This book could save thousands of people from heartache if it was handed out to people entering relationships where only one partner is football obsessed! If you have a partner who baffles you with their shouts and screams and moods every Saturday afternoon between August and May - this book will help you to understand that they are the ones who need help - you will learn to pity and support them in their affliction. If you are one of those people who shout and scream and have moods every Saturday afternoon between August and May - you will learn that you are not alone. Read this book!
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on 15 January 2011
...but already I find myself nodding, chuckling or smiling in agreement and acknowledgment at a lot of the experiences Hornby writes about.

I won't deny I'm pretty obsessed with football, but frankly this book would go down well with anyone who lives/has lived/wants to live in Britain, because there's a lot of people living here who are secretly, and sometimes not so secretly, exactly like this!
I think it would also go down well with any long suffering wives of season ticket holders as a delve into the mindset of their other halves!

A damn good, generally light hearted piece of work by Hornby that it's very easy to begin to relate to, and then before you know it you're sucked in and you've ploughed halfway through the book before you know what's happening - for me, that's the sign of a good book - absorbing, and one the reader can relate to. Don't think about it, buy it!
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on 12 January 1999
Having never really played or watched soccer (or football as the rest of the world calls it) until this past summer's World Cup (and, despite being an American, of Welsh descent, been absolutely crushed when England lost to Argentina), I found this book to be delightful. It was the third Nick Hornby book I read (I highly recommend High Fidelity) and I found its story of a lifelong passion--or obsession--to be well-told. The book made me far more interested in soccer and I watch whatever bits and pieces we get over here of Man U. and Liverpool and Arsenal. It's amazing how much more passionate and violent British soccer fans are as compared to American fans of any sport; Hillsborough is unthinkable here. But I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who has ever loved a sports team and to anyone who is unfamiliar with the sport of football, non-American style.
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