We Are Tottenham and history repeating

The first book I wrote, alongside my long-time writing partner Adam Powley, was called We Are Tottenham. Through interviews with fans and the story of the 2003/04 season, it tried to show what supporting a football club was all about through the eyes of the fans, and to show that a football crowd was composed of very different individuals.

Hunter Davies, who wrote the book The Glory Glory Game that played a large part in influencing Adam and I to become writers, liked it and thrilled us by agreeing to write the forward. Tottenham fans liked it too. In fact the book was so popular that it sold out. The workings of the book trade being what they are, our original publishers wouldn’t do a reprint. But we kept getting asked.

So, in 2013, when the copyright reverted to us, we published an updated version of the book – with a new chapter catching up with as many of the original interviewees as we could find – as an ebook. But still people asked if a new, printed version of the book would ever be made available. And now, we are happy to say, thanks to the wonders of print on demand, it is. That 10th anniversary edition of We Are Tottenham can now be obtained as a paperback via Amazon, as well as via your Kindle or handheld device as an ebook. More platforms than a glam rock band’s shoe cupboard, see.  Continue reading “We Are Tottenham and history repeating”

Taking Our Ball Back: New book out now

Taking Our Ball Back coverI’ve got a new book out. Called Taking Our Ball Back: English Football’s Culture Wars, it’s an anthology of writing on the business of football and the culture of football supporters. The material is drawn from the regular blogs I write for New Statesman online, and articles I’ve written for a number of specialist football publications including the Football Pink, Thin White Line and In Bed With Maradona. Plus there’s some original material.

I’ve published it myself, so the book is available from Amazon as an ebook for £3.04 or, something I’m trying for the first time, a print on demand paperback for £6.97.  Continue reading “Taking Our Ball Back: New book out now”

Spurs fans with long memories required

Do you know any fans who actively supported Spurs in the 1930s, 40, and 50s? Or are you one of those fans? If so, Alan Fisher and I would like to hear from you. I’m working with Alan – author of the essential Tottenham On My Mind blog – on something that’s aiming to gather first hand memories of supporting the club from all those years ago. We’re interested in the day to day experiences of being a fan, in what the club meant to people and symbolised in those days, in why it attracted the support it did, where from and how.

And if there’s anyone who goes back further than the 1930s, we’d certainly like to hear from you.

If you want to know more, please get in touch with me at martincloake@mac.com or Alan at alan.fisher@gmx.co.uk and we will get back to you as soon as we can

Goals are a bourgeois concept

This picture sums up much of the appeal of non-league football. Fans of Wingate and Finchley pose outside Dulwich Hamlet’s Champion Hill ground before the Isthmian League Premier Division game on 5 April 2014. For me, it says so much about the real spirit of football fans, rather than the overwrought, marketeered faux ‘passion’ we’re sold these days.  Continue reading “Goals are a bourgeois concept”

Crowdsourcing a future for Spurs

Yesterday’s post on gathering ideas for repairing the damage done to Tottenham Hotspur attracted a lot of support, a lot of sharing on social media, a lot of positive energy. I was not the only one thinking along those lines either. Just one example was an excellent post with some concrete suggestions from Paul Johnson on The Fighting Cock website. Without getting too ahead of ourselves, it’s possible to detect a potential turning point.

I’ve had a lot of very kind and thoughtful offers of help from individuals too, and if I haven’t replied it’s only because of time constraints. But it all proves the point that there are plenty of people out there willing and able to make a contribution. I think it’s important to make a few points now, partly to keep the conversation going, and partly to stop any false avenues opening up. Again, what follows is honestly held personal opinion. Continue reading “Crowdsourcing a future for Spurs”

Let's connect. Let's do something. What kind of club do we want Spurs to be?

When I posted At Spurs, The Future Is Round, I expected the response to be split between those who agreed, and those who would say it was just more doom and gloom overreaction. I’ve been surprised. The overwhelming majority of responses suggest a very large proportion of Spurs fans have lost faith in where the club is being taken by the current board.

There are some who still counter with the argument that it’s all an overreaction, that we are better off than we were 15 years ago, that we don’t know when we’re on to a good thing. And it is possible, in places, to detect overreaction and unreasonable demands. But much more comment has been along the lines of some very well-thought out posts by some of the most widely-read Spurs bloggers. I’d point towards three in particular; the measured work of the always perceptive Alan Fisher on Tottenham On My Mind; the blog by Mark Butcher on The Fighting Cock website, and a couple of very honest pieces by Greg Theoharis on Dispatches from a Football Sofa. And something Greg said prompted me to write this.

He said: “As supporters of this club. Let’s connect. Do something. What kind of club do we want to be?” I think that’s a question all Spurs fans can usefully apply ourselves to. I know that, already, some readers will be raising their eyebrows. Here we go again, another call to arms, more naive expectation that us mere mugs can change anything. But bear with me. I’m talking about something potentially more solid than dusting off the Sack the Board banners. Continue reading “Let's connect. Let's do something. What kind of club do we want Spurs to be?”