In our world of global superstar footballers, it’s easy to forget the grassroots of a sport where loyalty to a hometown club is often rock solid – and counts for everything. Even as local communities come under threat, football fandom still pulls us together. But why is this? What is the special magic that connects towns and teams? For many of us, the local club offers it all: passion, hope, heartache, drama.
And a sense of belonging. The town where we grew up and all the places we’ve lived are the bedrock of our lives, and memories of seeing the local team play are inextricably intertwined with our sense of place and identity. Steve Leach spends a year visiting the twenty towns and clubs that are special to him.
He celebrates the distinctiveness of these places, the fascinating differences between Lincoln and Leyton, Barrow and Birmingham, Macclesfield and Morecambe – towns and teams that may not be glamorous, but they are unique and, more importantly, they are home.