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The Farther Corner By Harry Pearson

Release date: 10th October, 2020
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

List Price: £16.99
Our Price: £13.10
You Save: £3.89 (22%)
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More than twenty-five years ago, Harry Pearson wrote The Far Corner, one of the very best football books ever published.

Last year he wrote a sequel, The Farther Corner, an equally impressive examination of the beautiful game in the form of his account of the 2018-19 season. But this is no standard, diarised review capturing the disappointment of a 3-1 home defeat or the euphoria of an unexpected comeback. Instead, Pearson’s tale is beautifully structured and handsomely peppered with flinty observations regarding life and politics.

The book’s opening scene features an exchange between two men on a bus en route to a ground (destination unknown) for the first day of the season. It’s August, but cold and wet (this is the North East), weather which reflects the supporters’ mood. Both wonder why they continue to put themselves through this ritual. One suggests that chemists should sell patches similar to those which prevent people from smoking; his suggested version could stop people from going to watch football matches. Their team manager is deemed as useful as “an ashtray on a motorbike.” You’re hooked.

Like many genuine supporters, Pearson is desperately unhappy with top-flight football’s blatant commercialisation as personified by the Premier League. He quotes a number of depressing statistics (the average age of Premier League fans is now ‘pushing fifty’), but also notes a discernible, finance-inspired power shift. Where once clubs such as Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Sunderland could compete with and were deemed bigger than the likes of Chelsea and Spurs, the northern trio have become also-rans.

Lest this review gives the impression that The Farther Corner will make you miserable and depressed, it should be added that there are considerably more laugh-out-loud moments in a book imbued with warmth and humour.

For example, noting that his last visit to Newcastle Benfield had featured full-frontal nudity when a player was forced to remove his underpants (read the book), Pearson returns for an FA Cup Preliminary Round tie against Stockton Town. The contest sets the tone for The Farther Corner in which Pearson frequently sounds like a terracing version of Les Dawson at his very best. Who else would describe Easington Colliery v Ashington as the El Working Clasico”?

If the return to work or dry January are already inflicting untold misery, give yourself an emotional boost – buy this outstanding book.



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