In order to be prepared as good as possible for the Euro2008 a friend offered me this wonderful book. It is a kind of autobiography and Hornby describes how he became a
football addicted fan of Arsenal, how football influenced his life, his career and his thinking and how mad irrational devoted true fans are. In a very revealing way, the author analyses himself, general fan behaviour, and the world of professional football not without pointing at the darker sides of football like racism, hooligans or clubs that become engines to make money. Though it could be argued that someone who is not interested in football at all would ever read this book, the author gives the interested reader a good clue what football, what being a real fan is about: Devotion, unconditional, ungrateful, self-scarifying devotion.
To be honest, I did not know any of all the Arsenal players Hornby mentions. This may be linked to the fact that my interest in football started by the time the book finishes. The book is also quite messy as the author does not stick very strictly to the chronology. But when he describes passionately an excellent pass, a great move from the goal keeper, or a perfect goal, you almost see it happen.
What I found fascinating are the contradictions Hornby points out: to go to a match though it doesn’t have any influence on the championship anymore or to hope and to be loyal to your team though you have been disappointed a 100 times. And though football is far from influencing my life as strongly as Hornby’s, I understand how it feels when your team is loosing game after game, or winning unexpectedly or finally triumphing over all its enemies. And that is why I had a lot of fun reading it.