Fever Pitch is the most insightful and well-spoken look into the mindset of the sort of football fan so obsessed with his club that it penetrates nearly every aspect of his life and consumes his thoughts nearly every waking moment. In other words, the sort of fan that many of us can very easily relate to and connect with on a personal level.
Nick Hornby identifies himself as an obsessed Arsenal fan early on in the tale, and tells a delightfully entertaining and often humorous story of how it affects his personal relationships, his inability to differentiate between his own successes and failures in life, and the achievement and downfalls at the club, and just how closely Arsenal's ups and downs correlate with his own in his life.
Most importantly, Fever Pitch reveals just how vital of a role football played in dealing with deep personal issues that came from life-changing events such as his parents' divorce and maintaining a relationship with his father in following years.
If you can relate to such things as constantly lying to those close to you when they ask "what are you thinking about" because you know it's just plain silly to always answer the question with "football," then you will love this book, no matter what club you happen to support (I support Tottenham and by default loathe Arsenal, but still found it relevant and entertaining).
Sometimes, when I let this dreamy state take me over completely, I go on and back, through Anfield '89, Wembley '87, Stamford Bridge '78, my whole footballing life flashing before my eyes.
"What are you thinking about?" she asks.
At this point I lie. I wasn't thinking about Martin Amis or Gerard Depardieu or the Labour Party at all. But then, obsessives have no choice; they have to lie on occasion like this. If we told the truth every time, then we would be unable to maintain relationships with anyone from the real world. We would be left to rot with our Arsenal programs or our collection of original blue-label Stax records or our King Charles spaniels, and our two-minute daydreams would become longer and longer until we lost our jobs and stopped bathing and shaving and eating and we would lie on the floor in our own filth rewinding the video again and again in an attempt to memorise by heart the whole the commentary, including David Pleat's expert analysis, for the night of 26th of May 1989 (You think I had to look the date up? Ha!) The truth is: for alarmingly large chunks of an average day, I am a moron.
Also recommended: force-feeding Fever Pitch to your loved ones, so that they can more closely understand just what you're going though in your football-obsessed life, and perhaps be a little more cautious with you when your club inevitably endures another heartbreaking and trophy-less season that leaves you functionless for perhaps a bit longer than what's socially acceptable.
[Hornby, N. (1992). Fever Pitch. New York, NY: Riverhead Books.]