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As we go to press, Spurs are 25/1 to be crowned Premier League champions next May, odds which, four months ago, were quoted in three figures. By harvesting Tottenham’s not insubstantial resources, Harry Redknapp has created perhaps England’s most attractive football team, but it could all be a bit much for John Crace, author of Vertigo, who is used to his Tottenham team stumbling well before the finishing line.
For four decades, Crace witnessed a succession of false dawns and broken promises at White Hart Lane that would test the loyalty of any fan, but infidelity was not an option. His love for Spurs was a constant. Then Harry arrived, Tottenham suddenly started playing like a top team and Crace’s world was turned upside down. A very funny book capable of providing the perfect excuse for an exit when someone asks, “Shall we watch Sound of Music?”.
I am a football fan (season ticket holder at another London club) and looked forward to reading this. I've always enjoyed Crace's writing and having read Vertigo, I am still looking forward to more.
The title and blurb are very accurate but, there is a lot more than just that. Although this is a book about a committed Spurs fan's view of the 2010/11 season, including the Champions League run which threw out some startling results, it's not simply a book for Spurs fans, any more than Fever Pitch was only for Arsenal supporters.
The writer's affiliation in both books is just the lens through which the experience of the fan is described. The whole season is used as a frame on which the waxing and waning feelings of excitement, hope, fear and frustration - recognisable by any fan of any team of any sport - are played out in a highly personal, personable and wry style. Crace exposes a great deal of his personal life in the context of slightly obsessive fandom and readers used to his style of blunt honesty, wit and cleverness as a journalist will recognise the voice of the book. There are very evocative passages about what it means to be a tribe member that crosses football jealousies and rivalries, and equally engaging frankness about families, fatherhood and Crace's difficulty in looking on the bright side.