It’s not every day that a book goes on sale which really encapsulates what it means to support a football team. The most famous one is perhaps Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, where the author relates Arsenal’s success and failures to his own personal life.
Up until this point, there has been very little to rival this 1992 bestseller, despite several attempts to imitate the above, using other football clubs in place of Arsenal. It’s therefore refreshing to pick up a copy of “Here We Go Gathering Cups in May”, a book written by seven hardcore Liverpool fans, recounting various European Cup final adventures that they undertook.
One of the excerpts is written by playwright Dave Kirby, who COS recently caught up with to hear his thoughts on the publication and all things Liverpool. He explained how HWGGCIM came about:
“My mate Nicky Allt, author of the LFC best selling book, ‘Boys from the Mersey’ came up with the idea. He wanted a unique format of seven authentic, diverse scouse voices. Each author was cherry-picked by Nicky and I with a prerequisite that they must have been to the final that they were writing about (no third voices) and that their stories were cutting-edge…no nicey, nicey shite.”
Cutting-edge is certainly the way to describe it, especially when you read about Kirby’s desperate attempts to raise enough money for his trip to Rome in 1977. This was of course Liverpool’s first European Cup triumph and, for the author, the five-day round trip from hell was more than worth it to see the mighty Reds win the trophy.
“Thousands of Reds made the trip by train without any change of clothing, no food or drink and no sleeping facilities. The trip is often referred to in Liverpool as ‘the five day nightmare’, which it would have been if we’d have lost the match – but for me…winning ‘Big Ears’ for the first time turned the nightmare into a magical dream and epic adventure.”
The other contributors to the book also tell some fascinating tales, while you may recognise some of the names involved. Author Kevin Sampson has the tough job of covering the Heysel disaster, Farm singer writes a fantastic account of Rome in 1984, while John Maguire and Tony Barrett’s stories of Istanbul and Athens will appeal to the younger Liverpool fans.
The book is published by Canongate Books Limited and should be available at all good bookstores (along with the likes of Amazon online). Even Everton fans will be gripped by the seven stories, while the red half of Merseyside will enjoy the nostalgia trip provided by “Here We Go Gathering Cups in May”.