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‘Simply magnificent.’ Mail on Sunday

A massive audience in sitting-rooms, parks and pubs watched England in the 2018 World Cup. Yet as Duncan Hamilton demonstrates with style, insight and wit in Going to the Match, watching on TV is no substitute for being there.

Hamilton embarks on a richly entertaining, exquisitely crafted journey through football. Glory game or grass roots, England v Slovenia or Guiseley v Hartlepool, he delves beneath the action to illuminate the stories which make the sport endlessly compelling.

Along the way he marvels at present-day titans Harry Kane, Mo Salah, Kevin De Bruyne and Paul Pogba, reflects on sepia-tinted magicians Stanley Matthews, Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Charlton and Pele, and assesses managerial giants from Brian Clough and Jose Mourinho to Arsene Wenger and Gareth Southgate.

The odyssey takes Hamilton from Fleetwood to Berlin, via Glasgow and a Manchester derby, making detours into art, cinema, literature and politics as he explores the game’s ever-changing culture and character.

The result, like the L.S. Lowry painting that inspired the book, is a football masterpiece.

Reviews

Hamilton is steeped in the history and traditions of football and communicates his knowledge lightly and with wit and intelligence. Above all, though, this is a fan's-eye view that brilliantly expresses the passion that millions like him, in pursuit of happiness and belonging, feel for the beautiful game. Simply magnificent.
Mail on Sunday