The Far Corner: A Mazy Dribble Through North East Football by Harry Pearson

I am not a football fan; but I spent my student days in the North-East of England. At the weekends, I explored some of the odder corners of the region – Blaydon, Spennymoor, Esh Winning, Tow Law, Crook, Quaking Houses, Pity Me, Washington, New York!

Many years later, a Geordie colleague, spotting that I had picked up the local way of referring to the major city in the region as “Newcassel” instead of “Newcastle” lent me this book. He was a football fan; indeed, he was a fan of non-League and obscure football clubs – the only person I’ve ever known to have a Cowdenbeath FC mug for his tea! So this book was meat and drink to him: to me, it was a step back in time some twenty or thirty years to my time in the North East.

Pearson writes with an eye for detail and an ear for accent, and I was transported. It is a book of raucous and sometimes robust humour, much in line with the area itself.

If things had turned out differently, I might have stayed in the North-East after graduating: but times were hard, we were heading for the “Thatcherzeit”, and a depressed area was about to get even more depressed. But I can read this book and again I am in the pit villages of County Durham (so very much like my native Derbyshire), sampling the regional beers (Vaux, Fed Special and McEwans’ 80 Shilling) and listening to blokes discussing the fortunes of Blyth Spartans. Proust for Geordies!

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