Daniel Gray: Extra Time

A collection of lyrical sweet-nothings whispered to late goals, local radio commentators, referees falling over and 47 other reminders of why we love football.

Despite its flaws and excesses, modern football is still sprinkled with simple yet beguiling delights. In his previous book Saturday, 3pm, Daniel Gray captured many of them. Now he is back with a further 50 short essays of prose poetry dedicated to the game’s charming, technicolour minutiae.

From club lottos to undeserved wins, and from pitch-invading animals to the roar after a minute’s silence, Extra Time is another romantic celebration of football fandom and its shared joys, habits, eccentricities and peculiarities. It is a salute to keepers going forward for corners, match balls landing on stand roofs and goals scored in quick succession.

These chapters offer a gleeful antidote to disillusionment with modern football, VAR and all. They are reminders of why we care and justifications for our devotion. Each warmly evokes this sport’s blessed capacity to offer escape and diversion. Let us share the delight once more.

The CFB verdict

An incredible read about the game that we all love. It immediately reminds me of what it was like when we could watch live football on a Saturday and share anecdotes like this on the way to or from the game.

The thrill of a Saturday is more than just watching a game of football. It’s meeting up with friends, going on supporters buses and the smell of the food vendors as you approach the stadium. Buying the match programme, settling into your seat and hearing that rush of noise as your team emerge looking for an ever important three points. That is Saturday 3pm. That is why we love football and that is what we as football fanatics desperately need back in the routine of our lives.

Published by Callum McFadden

Football CFB founder. Freelance football writer & broadcaster of over 300 interviews with professional players and managers across all levels of football.

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