When Dave Roberts relocates to the USA, his wife informs him that they can only take what is 'absolutely essential'. Packing his collection of football programmes (1,134 of them - football fans are sticklers for statistics), Dave is aghast to be informed that the programmes do not fall into that category. He must whittle down his treasured archive to only what will fit inside a Tupperware container the size of a Dan Brown hardback.
32 Programmes tells the story of how Dave made the selection of his most important programmes, and how the process brought back a flood of nostalgia for simpler times. As the sights, sounds and smells of those 1,134 football matches return, the choices Dave makes reflect the twists and turns that life takes. Finally, with just hours to go before the flight, the container is full to the brim. One more programme will be added to the collection - one that Dave never thought he would see and which means more to him than any other.
32 Programmes is the story of youthful football obsession, crushes on disinterested girls, rubbish jobs and trying to impress skinheads. But most of all, it is the story of a man's life and loves, of family, friends and football.
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A little gem... a brilliant way to reflect on his love affair with football - Daily Telegraph
Very funny in wry, Nick Hornby-esque fashion... This memoir will gain a lot of fans - Independent on Sunday
Remarkable... A book that every woman should study, for the unique insight it offers into the impenetrable enigma of the male mind - Daily Mail
A brilliant idea nicely executed, it's certainly the funniest sport-related read this Christmas - Independent
A wistful evocation of the author's early life told through a vast accumulation of football programmes he was forced to cull - Guardian
Imagine loafing in your favourite armchair, old mates around, beers and bites on hand, humour high, watching and discussing re-runs of memorable football matches. Sounds good, doesn't it? Well, it's not far off what you get with Dave Roberts' delightful homage to the beautiful game, and the part his life has played in it... A book full of the joys, miseries, near-misses, hopes, failures and fun of life, in this case a football obsessive's, but it's one we can all find something to identify with. A heart-warmer - Book of the Week, Sunday Sport
Hugely enjoyable, poignant book... Dave Roberts' wonderful series of tales explain why every one of the programmes made it into the box; each is infused with a mixture of touching reminiscence or laugh-out-loud anecdote - Birmingham Post
Deliriously enjoyable... utterly engaging - The Bookseller
Nostalgically warm in its tender recall of the way things used to be, this is a book for the true football follower, whose life has been shaped by the game and doesn't mind admitting it -
Wonderful, hilarious and moving. 32 Programmes is not just a football memoir but a delicious slice of the 1960s and 1970s, a razor-sharp and achingly evocative social history. This brilliant memoir will resonate with all of us who have ever supported a football team, listened to music and fallen in love. - Charlie Connelly, author of Attention All Shipping
I loved this book. If you know a man in his forties or fifties, please give him this book - John Inverdale
A funny, charming and heart-warming tale of obsession - Western Sunday Independent
I fail to believe that anyone who reads Dave Roberts' new book 32 Programmes cannot relate to his thinking as a football fan. It traces his life as a football fan through 32 chapters in his life, going into the bitter-sweet details of growing up in the 1970s and '80s via 32 football matches. Building on and around his first book, The Bromley Boys (soon to be released as a film, no less), Dave introduces us to his career, his attempts to find a soul mate and finally in a twist his life changing circumstances that will have you reaching for a tissue. If you read one new book on your holidays this summer, choose this one. And then you try and detail 10, let alone 32, games that mark the milestones in your life - The Ball is Round
Entertaining, heart-warming and expertly executed, this book is certain to strike a chord with anyone who's ever loved the game. Engrossing and enjoyable... funny and charming - Two Banks of Four
An entertaining read, rich in nostalgia and reminiscent of Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch, this offers an insight into the power of obsession and how the beautiful game has changed. Moving and amusing - Sport magazine
About the Author
Dave Roberts has been one of those annoying bike couriers, a security guard, a Civil Servant, a KFC chef who was fired for trying to steal a sample of the secret recipe, and a train driver - all before reaching the age of twenty. After that, he settled for a career in advertising, which was eventually cut short by illness, but not before accidentally winning a Silver Lion at Cannes. He now writes books, which all seem to have a theme in common: obsession ...