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In Review: Nearly Reach The Sky

Filed: Monday, 12th October 2015
By: Staff Writer

Brian Williams
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"You know what it's like when your team scores - for a brief moment you enter a private world of ecstasy. That's fine when you're with your own kind, not so good when the people around you have got the ache because you have scored against their team..."

Ever since Robert Banks' 'An Irrational Hatred Of Luton' was first published back in 1996 - itself inspired by Nick Hornby's 'Fever Pitch' - a plethora of books written from a West Ham United FC fans' perspective have been published.

Some have been more successful than others, whilst some have veered into territory not entirely dedicated to football - specifically the popular sub-genre concentrating on various hooligan activities.

But Brian Williams' 'Nearly Reach the Sky', published by Biteback belongs very much to the former category - and greatly benefits from the author being a journalist by trade.

Williams' observations and witty humour help elevate the book above the standard 'I saw this and we did that' fayre - and having watched West Ham for nigh on 50 years adds credibility to his various stories.

However NRTS isn't just about light-hearted humour and general football banter, as there's a very poignant theme running throughout - that being the end of West Ham's 111-year occupation of the Boleyn Grond, Green St, London E6.

Like many West Ham fans, Williams understands the lure of the shiny new Stratford stadium but views departing the old ground with some trepidation.

And therefore many of his stories will have many an older Hammer getting a little misty-eyed as they recall their own personal recollections of the events recounted within.

The book is described on its back cover as "an anecdotal journey ... told with all the comedy, tragedy and irrationality fans of any team will recognise" - which is a fair summary of its contents.

And as a result, it's a book that means the reader doesn't necessarily have to blindly follow West Ham to appreciate its many tales of traversing the country in order to watch 22 men kicking an inflated pig's bladder around a field; it's a story that a fan of anyone from Newcastle to Newquay can pick up and enjoy.

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