There was a full house ‘under the lights’ at Netherdale in Galashiels on Tuesday 14th November as Nil by Mouth promoted the ‘Concrete Dreams’ event as part of Book Week Scotland.
The event brought together one of the UK’s most loved football writers Daniel Gray with one of the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writing Award winners Craig Aitchison in celebration of the joy that football brings to people’s lives.
Daniel’s latest work ‘The Silence of the Stands’ – longlisted for the prestigious William Hill Prize – explores the impact of Covid restrictions on the game and the fans who bring it to life, including a visit to Netherdale as a journalist to report on Gala Fairydean Rovers matches during an easing of lockdown. During the event he read passages from the book and was even reunited with the ‘ladderman’ he observed on one of his media visits to Netherdale in 2021 who was immortalised in the book owing to his efforts to hitch a ladder over fencing to watch the game.
Craig read a number of new poems written especially for the evening, inspired by his many years watching, and volunteering for, the club which included tributes to his long-suffering teammates at Tuesday night five a sides as well as reflecting on the club’s listed concrete stand.
Book Week Scotland, now in its twelfth year, is an annual celebration of books and reading that takes place across the country in November. During Book Week, people of all ages and walks of life come together to share the joy of reading. Together with Scottish Book Trust's curated programme, partners deliver hundreds of unique, exciting events and activities that celebrate the transformative power of reading. They are joined in this celebration by Scotland’s authors, poets, playwrights, storytellers and illustrators to bring a packed programme of events and projects to life.
Nil by Mouth have been participating since 2015 and hosted events in Glasgow, Irvine, Barrhead, Kirkwall and the Scottish Borders with hundreds of people taking part. The events also provide the charity with an opportunity to talk to grassroots football fans about its work tackling sectarianism in sport.
‘Concrete Dreams’ was made possible thanks to support from the Scottish Book Trust and the Gala Fairydean Rovers Community Trust and we would like to thank them, the performers and all of those who came along to help make such a memorable night.