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Another Bloody Saturday By Mat Guy

Release date: 05th December, 2015
Publisher: Luath Press

List Price: £14.99
Our Price: £11.99
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During the fortnight immediately preceding Christmas, three different friends, sports fans all, one of whom is an ex-professional sportsman who played at international level, advised that they were no longer interested in renewing their respective satellite TV subscriptions. They had simply had enough of elite sport’s (particularly football’s) over-indulgence, its relentless, suffocating presence; each announced that they would be watching lower-league football, together with some rugby, from now on.

Anecdotal evidence perhaps, but there’s a sense that satellite television’s inexorable growth has been a less-than-satisfactory experience for fans – or should that be consumers – of the round ball game. Sky’s promotion of England’s top flight as the ‘world’s most exciting league’ is nothing more than a tiresome, if effective, example of marketing speak, a strapline with remarkable longevity.

Meanwhile, the steady influx of foreign footballers to these shores over the last two decades, a tiny handful of whom are genuine stars, has none the less, effectively ruined the national team’s chances of ever winning a major tournament. Anyone who argues that foreigners have been good for the England team needs their head examined.

Yet those of us who know that football existed before 1992 should encourage those poor souls who are unaware that they’ve been duped by a Stalinist-like re-writing of football history to read Another Bloody Saturday, the latest in a long line of worthy, heartfelt tomes dedicate to avoiding the Premier League’s bright lights and revealing that football exists beyond the gilded élite.

Mat Guy is much more interested in watching Bangor or Accrington Stanley than subjecting himself to made-for-TV displays of foreign mercenaries kissing their employers’ badge. Considering the author lives and works in Southampton, his dedication to exploring football’s unsung venues is impressive.

Guy concerns himself with real football, a game replete with fun, laughter, warmth, camaraderie and half-empty terracing. There’s never a Sky TV camera in sight, yet hundreds of thousands of people turn up to watch half decent, non-Premiership football every week and, perhaps just as importantly, to to share their thoughts with those around them. Mat Guy has written a paean to supporters who have renounced their allegiance to Super Sundays and Soccer Specials because they prefer the real thing to football’s manufactured glamour. Read this and it just might inspire you to cancel that TV subscription.

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