Being one of the small percentage of the population who doesn't profess to like (or, really, understand) football at any level, I thought this might be a challenging read. My one attempt at travel off the beaten track in Scotland also ended in defeat, in the form of being refused service in a corner shop & eventually abandoning a miserably damp caravan holiday in the Highlands.
So I was surprised to find myself hypnotised by this book, to the extent that I devoured it in less than a week. Not only does Gray manage to describe on-pitch action in an involving and frequently hilarious fashion, but his adventures off the pitch are informative, heartwarming, affectionate and (again) deeply amusing. The author resists the traditional English urge to point at the Scots and mock their love of disgusting beverages, lank-haired comics and vacillation between radical politics and opiated myopia; instead, this book is a brilliant exploration of small town Scotland's rich and fascinating history, and how the non-Old Firm football teams have both reflected and influenced this.
If you are in any way interested in football, Scotland, history, left-wing politics or just amusing tales about ketchup delivered in a high-pitched Scottish accent, this will be an informative and enjoyable read.
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