Round Britain in Search of Non-League Football Nirvana
A brilliant evocation of non-league football and its diehard fans as Dave Roberts follows his beloved Bromley FC and rediscovers a country he has not lived in for 35 years.
Dave Roberts was, for once, almost lost for words as the news sank in. Perennial underachievers Bromley, in the vertigo-inducing fifth tier of English football? It was the greatest achievement in the club's 130-year history and, by extraordinary coincidence, Dave had decided to spend the next 12 months in the UK, after an absence of 35 years, deciding whether he and his wife Liz could live there. And what better way to explore modern day Blighty than by following a roadmap based on the fixtures in the Vanarama National League? It was like the ultimate package holiday; well, for Dave at least.
Home and Away takes Dave - and occasionally Liz too - the length and breadth of the land on a journey of discovery, with Bromley games thrown in. So from the White Cliffs of Dover and the English Riviera (Torquay) through the timeless charm of the Cotswolds (Forest Green, Cheltenham) to towns steeped in history (Lincoln, Chester), faded seaside resorts (Southport, Barrow) and fallen giants of the game (Grimsby, Wrexham, Tranmere - OK, pushing it there), the season unfolds, and the ultimate 'home or away' decision approaches.
Against the odds, the season also proves not to be full of the endless disappointments football fans are conditioned to expect. Unfancied Bromley are on a mission, they have a man called Moses up front, and the promised land of the Football League might not be beyond their capabilities...
“A glowing testament to the camaraderie and inclusiveness of supporting a team lower down the football pyramid. Everyone is welcome in this uplifting book that celebrates the happiness to be found in reconnecting with your friends, your team and your home.”
When Saturday Comes
“Pure gold... A brilliant book that all football fans can relate to.”
“A wonderfully warm-hearted book, which gives the beautiful game a good name.”
“Funny, well-paced, engaging and at times touching. It's a personal book for Dave. At first glance it looks like a book about Bromley's first season in the Vanarama National league, but dig a bit deeper and other themes emerge. Without oversharing, Dave gives us an insight into his emotions not just about his team, but about the feeling of home, family and hope. In summary: buy this book.”
Thin White Line
“Endearing and engrossing... what this book does beautifully is affirm that the enjoyment of football isn't so much about the game or the result, it's about the journey we, as supporters, take in the process.”
The Football Pink
“A timely celebration of non-league football... provides a great antidote to sport as big business.”
“Football books can be a mixed bag, but Dave Roberts really hits the target with Home and Away.”
The Non-League Paper
“A cracking, beautifully-observed pilgrimage.”
“A really good read. You don't have to be a Bromley fan to enjoy it.”
Vanarama National League
“A great read for anyone who loves football.”
The Ball is Round
“Roberts perfectly captures what it is to follow your team and the lengths that fans go to in order to get their football fix. And from these journeys it can be seen how Roberts' writing has been compared to Bill Bryson, with wit and warmth.”
“If ever there was an author that could capture the love for the non-league game then that man is Dave Roberts.”
The Non-League Magazine
“Getting the tone just right, the author's good humour shines throughout... there's a fresh-eyed quality to his observations.”