Praise for Saturday, 3pm: 50 eternal delights of modern football:
Each is a precision-tooled delight… even apparently obvious subjects are described with such lyricism that the everyday is routinely transformed into the sublime… here is a book that contains nothing but pure, unadulterated joy.
When Saturday Comes magazine
Delightfully written…countless little gems of recognition and satisfaction, many of them very funny… a lovely little thing.
The Daily Telegraph
A little bagful of stardust…each chapter is a little paean of praise, almost poetic at times, waxing lyrical as evidence of what makes the heart sing. A lovely package of observation and eulogy…it deserves to be widely read.
Many of the lyrical sweet nothings Gray whispers in your ear still survive…It might be small enough in size to slip into a stocking, but there’s nothing lightweight about a book that wears such a large heart on its sleeve(s).
Scotland on Sunday, a 2016 Football Book of the Year
A wonderful book. Arguably the football book of 2016.
Off the Ball, BBC Scotland
A warm, smiling celebration of football’s quirks, and of ours. Never mind how good a writer Daniel Gray is: what an eye he’s got. You’ll never watch a game again without liking some daft little moment and wishing you could share it with him.
Michael Grant, The Times
A wonderful, wistful read.
Oliver Kay, The Times
A sonnet to football, whimsical and deeply rewarding.
Stuart Roy Clarke, Homes of Football
A real midget gem of a book that fits perfectly into a jacket pocket for reading on the way to the match, or indeed during it if you’re an England fan.
Harry Pearson, author The Far Corner
A superb book…thoughtful, moving, lyrical, joyful.
Ian McMillan, poet, writer and BBC radio presenter
Gray beautifully articulates the pleasure offered by such pursuits as jeering passes that go out of play, listening to the results in the car, and spying a ground from the train window…his prose is exquisite…a physically slim but spiritually hefty treat.
Pitch & Page, Books of the Year 2016
An elegiac, poetic tribute to what there is to love about the game…This wonderfully bijou volume serves as a description of nothing less than a way of life.
Lovingly crafted prose-poetry…a wonderful antidote to the money-sodden excesses of the modern game.
Late Tackle magazine
I love this book, I had enormous fun reading it…a great book.
Matt Williams, Simon Mayo Drivetime show, BBC Radio 2
Really nicely written. A brilliant book. Romantic, very recognisable things.
James Brown, TalkSport
The author has compiled some wonderful things about our national game…I love this book. Wonderful. A delightful book.
A loveletter to nice things about football…fifty perfect little essays. A beautiful book.
I commend this book. Two pages are worth ten cliché-ridden football books. It evokes the nodal points of football memory.
Archie McPherson, BBC Scotland
Full of eternal delight. I loved it to pieces. Hymns that evoke the essence of the game. A fantastic book.
The Anfield Wrap
Praise for Hatters, Railwaymen and Knitters:
David Conn, the guardian
Oliver Kay, The Times
‘Gray brilliantly interweaves social history, modern day public and political life and, of course, football itself…Highly recommended.’
‘Superlative…The book is beautifully written; pessimistic and damning, yet joyful and full of love for the game…wonderful.’
When Saturday Comes magazine
‘A delight. It’s the kind of book, filled with astute observations of small details, that might just convince the most confirmed football sceptic why football has such a place in our culture….a book to savour and to make you think.’
‘Like a footballing version of Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island.’
‘A wryly-observed history lesson on lower league football and proper Englishness.’
‘[Gray] writes like Lowry paints. Superb.’
‘Among urban blight, his astute eye can pick out details that are funny, redeeming or both…Book of the Week.’
Bradford Telegraph and Argus
‘Superb…a shrewdly observed and at times caustic cocktail of social history and travelogue.’
Middlesbrough Evening Gazette
‘A story of towns, their people, their histories, their clubs, and a ruddy bloody great read.’
Love Middlesbrough blog
‘Daniel Gray does an excellent job of writing a football book that is about more than football.’
No Nay Never blog
‘One of our favorite books in recent memory. It is a unique title, one that is part travel journal and part football commentary…It is really quite brilliant.’
International Soccer Network
‘300 pages of great prose… a beautiful book about England, one worth reading.’
Staten Island Advance newspaper
‘A wonderful read and like some of the very best football books out there, the actual football is merely a footnote…Really enjoyable and beautifully paced, this is one to read and keep as in ten years’ time it could feel even more relevant than it does right now.’
In Bed with Maradona blog
‘It is perhaps obvious to compare Gray to Nick Hornby given the subject matter, yet the comparisons stretch beyond a passion for football… Beautifully written, nostalgic and reflective, this will also appeal to fans of Simon Armitage, Stuart Maconie and Tim Moore.’
Books with Bunny blog
‘Recognising the interconnectedness of town and team, Gray offers social histories of the places he visits for the weekend, coupling them with droll travel writing…a celebration of the game and where its roots and its guts lie… I heartily recommend you pick up a copy as an antidote to the cold cynicism that pervades the peak of the football pyramid.’
Praise for Stramash:
An excellent new book about the country’s smaller teams… [Stramash] captures the vague romance that still clings to the these ‘smaller’ Scottish clubs. It will make a must-read for every non-Old Firm football fan – and for many Rangers and Celtic supporters too.
It is not a look at the state of the game just now in borrowed tartan glasses or a shortbread tin view of an English tourist, it is more than that… The book charts Gray’s visits to Ayr, Alloa, Cowdenbeath, Coatbridge, Montrose, Kirkcaldy, Greenock, Arbroath, Dingwall, Cumbernauld, Dumfries and Elgin and the chapters dedicated to each stop provide more than just a description of match action.
Scottish Football League Official Newsletter
There have been previous attempts by authors to explore the off-the-beaten paths of the Scottish football landscape, but Daniel Gray’s volume is in another league as he mixes social history with sharp contemporary observation (and measured wit) in the classic outposts of the game which, together, epitomise the character of football north of the border.
The Scotsman, Sports Books of the Year 2010
As he takes in a match at each stopping-off point, Gray presents little portraits of small Scottish towns, relating histories of declining industry, radical politics and the connection between a team and its community. It’s a brilliant way to rediscover Scotland, and some outstanding players who deserve to have been national legends but are now long forgotten.
…there is enough here to interest the casual reader, and if you’re looking for a book that provides at least a flavour of life in the SFL and a bit of background to some of the social histories from which Scottish football and its teams grew, then this would be a reasonable place to start. And not only because of the lack of any other books attempting the same thing.
When Saturday Comes
…a great read, because Gray doesn’t write about just football, he uses football as an excuse to explore the histories of small towns in Scotland. Employing the same research skills used in Homage to Caledonia, he digs up theoretically fascinating facts about towns like Arbroath, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. And they are fascinating, because he works these into a narrative of his visits to see the small town’s football teams in action.
So historical detail combines with the day-to-day, as when he writes “[a manufacturer’s] family would later gift the town the museum in which I now stood, being tutted at by a curator for allowing my mobile phone to erupt”, and it’s this approach that keeps the book moving pacily along, before we even get to the football. As for that, if you’ve ever wanted to know why Arbroath FC are called the Red Lichties or why Tommy Ring and ‘Vodka Vic’ are legendary in some postcodes, this richly researched and humorously written book is for you. 4/5.
Why do the Gers and Hoops have retail outlets in the capital? Why do buses depart for Glasgow on a Saturday morning from every corner of Scotland?
Gray’s book is a splendid attempt to answer these questions, and more besides. The author has done it the hard way, too, by actually turning up for games in Alloa, Coatbridge, Greenock, Kirkcaldy, Elgin and, yes, Dingwall. He has been to see where we live, or once lived. The result is sociology at its best, which is to say eminently readable…
His book should be required reading for anyone who elects to prattle on about this sport’s “grassroots”… Stramash may turn out to be a memoir of the way we were, and an epitaph.
Ian Bell, The Sunday Herald
I defy anyone to read Stramash and not fall in love with Scottish football’s blessed eccentricities all over again… Funny enough to bring on involuntary, laugh out loud moments. It’s a good book to read if you want to disconcert your fellow Scotrail commuters.
An admirably accessible introduction to Scottish football, our footballing heritage and our rich social history.
Scottish Football Blog
A very readable book, striking the right balance between history and gossip. 5/5.
Beyond the Bandstand: Stranraer FC programme
Gray presents his story as half national football profile-half Edwardian travelogue…his railings against the identikit high-street are laced with pithy humour and wry observances. And somehow, he always manages to find something witty, endearing or beautiful even in the most deprived post-industrial back-waters…However interesting and entertaining the vignettes of the towns and their characters are, his evocations of an almost lost footballing world are beautiful, poignant and usually quite funny…a splendid kind of football book.
Praise for Homage to Caledonia
Important and powerful
Told through the words and experiences of those who were there, this meticulously researched and beautifully written book is simultaneously heart-breaking and uplifting. Maggie Craig
Daniel Gray has done a marvellous job in bringing together the stories of Scots volunteers… in [this] many-voiced, multi-layered book.
Scotland on Sunday
[Gray] has organised a complex story into a well-constructed and compelling narrative. He can write – his prose is unfussy, fluent and warm. Best of all, he has squared the circle of producing accurate history while retaining a deep respect for the men and women who people it… moving and thought-provoking.
Excellent… highly effective.
A new and fascinating contribution.
Scottish Review of Books
Excellent… a rigorous, well written and entertaining assessment of Scotland’s contribution to that chapter of European history.
Book of the week… Gray deserves applause for shining a light on a lesser known aspect of the nation’s character of which we should all be proud.
Press and Journal
A very human history of the conflict emerges.
The latest addition to a line of excellent books detailing the efforts of British men and women in Spain.
An excellent book I would recommend to anyone with an interest in the Civil War. Scots Independent
Tells the story of those in Spain, but also of the tremendous effort of the Scots at home to raise funds to provide vital food and medical supplies.
Much of the testimony in this important book is new… What is most impressive is the way in which the different characters involved carry the reader along with them. From its pages, the voices of the ordinary Scots who volunteered to fight fascism ring out loud and clear… in no other book will you find yourself closer to them, or more inspired.
International Brigades Memorial Trust newsletter
Daniel Gray skilfully weaves the words of the Scottish participants in Spain’s struggle for democracy in this excellent and timely book.
Gray weaves a complex, yet highly accessible and personalised narrative…[his] work offers unique insights into the complexity, passions and ultimate tragedy of this conflict. Scottish Labour History Journal