Published: 06:00, 14 September 2021
Football fans loved the chance to return to the stands and terraces this summer after an enforced 17-month absence caused by coronavirus.
Boosted by vaccinations, inspired by Euro 2020, the fans have thrown themselves into supporting their favourite club again, enjoying the banter, songs, cheers and tears they’ve all missed so much.
A new book, Football is Better with Fans, by retired Kent journalist Tony Rickson, looks at what it’s been like for supporters without their traditional Saturday afternoon out.
Apart from the pandemic, the book also tackles other serious subjects such as racism, hooliganism, and this year’s European Super League fiasco.
But mainly it’s a light-hearted account packed with fans’ stories and anecdotes, many of which demonstrate it’s the camaraderie and shared interest that gives them as much pleasure as the football itself.
One fan is quoted as saying it wasn’t the game he missed during lockdowns so much as the away days with his mates and enjoying the first can of the day on the train at 10am.
The author spent his whole working life as a journalist with regional and local newspapers.
He has been editor of the Dover Express, Folkestone Herald, and Whitstable and Herne Bay Times, but also spent much of his time in sports journalism, and was group sports editor of 21 titles with Kent Regional Newspapers.
His previous book, Gooaal! The Joy of Football Celebrations, was also published by Pitch Publishing.
Football is Better with Fans was released on September 6 and is available from www.pitchpublishing.co.uk, as well as online and in book shops.