1st Edition

Football in Fiction A History

By Lee McGowan Copyright 2020
    184 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    184 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Football in Fiction represents the most comprehensive historical mapping and analysis of novels related to association football (soccer). It offers a theoretically informed field guide, a scholarly cartography of football fiction’s uncertain – and until now – only partially explored terrain.

    Combining an extensive search for texts with up-to-date academic research, journals, surveys, catalogues, and reviews the book demonstrates a topographic perspective of the field  – one that captures and establishes its breadth, depth, and distinctive identity. The book uses and adapts two distinct reading models of abstraction, in conjunction with closer textual analyses. Together they assist in realising a set of demonstrable conventions, outline a taxonomy of fictive types, establish the genre’s current state of play, and advance the football novel as a form with its own literary history and traditions.

    This book is a valuable resource for those studying and researching in the areas of the social and cultural aspects of football, sports fiction, sports writing, creative writing, and literary and genre studies. Furthermore, related industry professionals will find this a fascinating read, particularly football writers, fans of the sport, and those interested in sports history and cultural phenomena.

    Introduction: A long ball game

    1. Before Fever Pitch: A true history of football fiction

    2. Current form: The contemporary landscape of football fiction

    3. Line-Markings: The topography of football fiction

    4. ‘Rules for the simplest game’: Conventions of the football fiction genre

    5. Two halves: Differentiation between adult and young adult football fiction

    "Play the whistle!": A conclusion of sorts

    Appendix: They think it’s all oeuvre… A catalogue of football fiction


    Lee McGowan is Researcher at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Besides critical football studies in women’s football and football fiction, his research focuses on generative narratives and community engagement. He is currently researching the social history of Australian women’s football. 

    "a pioneering work that should be considered an initial step in the exploration of a relatively unknown landscape for the sports historian." – Daniel Alsarve, Örebro University, idrottsforum.org