Burnley super fan features in new photo book Life’s a Ball 90’s

A number of football fans need no introduction to many around the UK.

Sunday, 18th July 2021, 7:45 am
Updated Sunday, 18th July 2021, 7:46 am
Sean Dyche and Dave Burnley

In Burnley that fan is arguably Dave Burnley who, before the pandemic had missed one Clarets match since 1974, since finding out two hours before kick-off that the game at Newcastle United, postponed six times, had been rescheduled.

That was the only game he had missed since Ipswich Town away in January 1969.

Based in Stoke on Trent, Dave - who changed his surname from Beeston to Burnley by deed poll in 1976 - doesn't drive, but has cycled, walked, hitch-hiked, and slept rough - catching pneumonia - to ensure he has watched the club all over the globe, including friendlies in Singapore, the United States, Italy, Germany, Austria and Norway - before the Europa League tour two years ago took in Scotland, Turkey and Greece.

Indeed, he once scored twice after coming on in a post-season game in Mallorca against a Magaluf Waiters XI!

And he features in a new photobook by Zak Waters, which launched last month - a look back in time to the 90's fanatical football supporter - called Life's a Ball 90’s.

The photobook takes a nostalgic and affectionate look at diehard football fans in the mid 90's.

It is a book of two halves:

The first half consists of photos and interviews with 25 of the most impassioned football fans you are likely to meet.

Fans such as The Copeland Nutter (Rangers), Tango (Sheffield Wednesday), Billy Bluebeat (Chelsea), Vinnie The Parrot (Celtic) and Frank Sidebottom (Altrincham) and many more.

The second half is all about Groundhoppers, a group of like-minded people (men mostly) who Tyneside-based newspaper The Journal described as "the train spotters of British football".

The Groundhoppers in this book visited football grounds in the Northern League - it didn't matter who was playing (they didn't support a particular team), they were fans of football in the purest sense!

They were also fans of the grounds on which the game was played and they had their little rituals - some liked (had) to touch all the corner posts, some would log every pass in every game they watched and so on.

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