Achieving the Goal

Ian Hamilton writes:

For years – since boyhood, really – I’ve seen myself as an above-average soccer bore. At my peak, I would happily hold forth for hours about the rugged terrace-time I’d served, at Feethams, White Hart Lane, the Manor Ground. And when it came to the archival stuff, if you could spare the time, well, so could I. ‘Name three of the Spurs’ double side’s reserves,’ I’d say, or: ‘How many of the 1964 West Ham cupwinning team had names beginning with a B?’ Or it would be: ‘Pick an XI in which every position is taken by a Gary. I will start you off. Gary Bailey in goal. Gary Stevens right back. Now you carry on.’

(LRB 25 January 1996)