The story of one man's life told through the prism of his father and grandfather's love of football.
'Without football,we were strangers under the same roof. With it, we were father and son.’
Longlisted for the 2012 William Hill Sports Book of the Year, Hamilton tells of how he was inspired by his father's devotion to Newcastle United and the heroes of yesteryear, such as Jackie Milburn, Bobby Charlton and Duncan Edwards, Hamilton recreates a distant, bygone age and charts the progress of post-war British football to the present day. From the hardscrabble 1940s and the ‘never-had-it-so-good' 50s, right through to how the dowdy-looking First Division of the 80s transformed itself into the slick, money-driven Premiership that is so familiar to us today. Hamilton writes about the some of its most sublime players, from George Best to Lionel Messi, and some of its most respected managers, from Bill Shankly to Sir Alex Ferguson.
But at the heart of The Footballer Who Could Fly, is Hamilton’s exploration of the bond between father and son through the Beautiful Game, and how football became the only live connection between two people who, apart from their love of it, were wholly different from one another.
From the two-time winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year comes a personal and affecting story that beautifully captures one of the most important three-way relationships in a man's life. Father and son and football.
“Spellbindingly evocative ... an unforgettable homage not only to his father but to his flat-capped generation of ye grand olde days of thud and mud and Saturday's teatime urban gloaming.”
“Pitch perfect … This marvellous and affecting book, which is about love and fatherhood and history and manners as much as it is about football … Hamilton is a first-rate pen-portraitist.”
“Hamilton wrote two of the best sports books of recent years, on Brian Clough and the cricketer Harold Larwood ... a fine collection of vignettes ... make this another winner.”
“Hamilton takes us on a hugely enjoyable nostalgia trip...a moving depiction of how football can bind together a family.”
“The book is sincere and deeply honouring of Hamilton’s father as well as dead greats such as Lawton, Shankly, Jackie Milburn, Duncan Edwards and Bobby Moore...”
“Hamilton brings football home...heart-crackingly nostalgic ... eye-wateringly evocative.”
“A beautiful, heart-cracking memoir by a sublime writer”