one fotoball fan's fear of success
one football fan's fear of success
by John Crace
The feelings that come with the little bit of blue or white plastic that you occupy once every two weeks bring you are unfolded here in graphic detail. Each of our connections with the club comes in different forms and the coterie of his friends on away trips reflect the full range of Spurs fans. Some always pessimistic, those with an irrational hatred of one of our own players, those with an excuse to get out of a trip to Liverpool when things have turned bad. We can relate them to Spurs fans we are acquainted with.
Concentrating on the Champions League season of 2011-12, the author's attendance and the lengths he goes to merely to ensure he has a chance of being there, will resonate with Spurs fans. It was perhaps a good season to choose to write about, as it was the pinnacle that the club had been seeking for so long, but with it come a whole new set of anxieties and worries.
There are some bits of repetition in the book, but these do not detract from the agonies John goes through and because of that, we all feel for him. His meeting with his heroes, his despair as another game slips out of Tottenham's reach and another season of what might have beens. Many of us have been there.
Not content with following the team, John Crace is an inveterate collector. Not content with making watching Spurs an obsession, he makes collecting memorabilia about the club as one too. It is interesting to see his reasoning for making certain purchases and again, we might look at ourselves over having made the same thought process over bits of collectible material we have stashed away somewhere.
But this is not a depressing book. While John has his highs and lows away from football too, the book is a celebration of those who follow. Whether that is because they want to belong to something (a bit like a religion, I guess) or whether it is to use the spectating experience as a therapy session to release the primal scream inside us. And it's nice to know that it's not just the people who sit around me are really annoying. They seem to be all over.
John's relationships within his family are also dictated by football and for those of us with families, it will be a heart-rending moment when your child says that they don't want to support Spurs. How John gets around that and deals with his less than Spurs supporting friends who sometimes have to accompany him to the Lane, it is a conundrum that many of us have had to try to solve before.
Read this book and weep, because John Crace has, as the majority of us have, as we suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous (mis)fortune. Nobody said following Spurs would be easy ... but then nobody said it would be this hard. The book doesn't come with a health warning, but then neither does your season ticket.
Very well written and easy to read, it might not have you on the edge of your seat like a Third Round FA Cup tie against weaker opposition, but the feelings that Crace expounds in the book are ones that will be familiar and will make you feel that he might have been writing about you or people you know.
Marco van Hip
Back to homepage