How I wrote first book about Harrogate Town's rise to English Football League by superfan Dave Worton
A new book charting Harrogate Town’s historic rise to the Football League has been published by the club’s best-known ‘superfan’ - and it's in local shops just in time for Christmas.
For The Love Not The Glory tells the story of Dave Worton and his daughter Molly’s adventures following the team he loves over the last four years on their journey from National League North to the English Football League for the first time in their history.
A weekly columnist in the Harrogate Advertiser, Dave’s illustrated book is a compilation of the articles he has written for the paper on Harrogate Town since February 2016 with new sections written during lockdown during the club's history-making 2019-20 season which ended in glory at Wembley Stadium and promotion to the English Football League.
The Harrogate Advertiser talked to Dave about how he came to write the book and what he thinks of the current season.
What is the book about?
Dave Worton: "It’s the story of following Harrogate Town, with my daughter Molly, over the last four years on their journey from National League North to the Football League for the first time ever in their history.
"It’s a compilation of all the weekly columns I’ve submitted to the Harrogate Advertiser over the last couple of years, with a little bit of additional writing thrown in."
What is the earliest entry?
Dave Worton: "The first chapter begins with our experiences from Saturday 20th February 2016 , the first match my daughter and I attended."
How long did it take to compile/write?
Dave Worton: "It’s taken two years to write the columns every week, and I had no intention of writing a book when I was submitting them to the Advertiser.
"However, a good friend of mine sowed the seeds of a book, when he stated how much he liked the columns and the interaction with my daughter in them, and said that I should consider publishing them.
"Then lockdown happened, I was working mainly from home and saving travelling time, and found I had the time to sit down and start to think about putting a book together.
"I had over 60,000 words already written and they were already cataloguing a historic time at the club.
"The question was, when would be the best time to publish? This was all prior to the play-off matches, so winning at Wembley made a great ending to the story.
"Once this happened, it was the perfect time to publish. It took me about two months to write additional material, design and lay out the book."
Did the club support the creation of the book?
Dave Worton: "No. I told no one, outside of my family that I was doing it until it was well underway. "However, Matt Kirkham, the club photographer, very kindly gave me permission to use around thirty of his photographs for free.
"The club is also going to be selling them. It’s a complete DIY effort, except for my proof-reader friend, some of the photos, and the physical printing."
When did you go to your first Harrogate Town match?
Dave Worton: "Tuesday evening, 29th November 1988, Harrogate Town 5 Accrington Stanley 2 in the HFS Loans League Cup.
"I wasn’t a fan, I used to come on the train from Headingley and watch the occasional evening match, if my boyhood team Wolves weren’t playing, and if there was nothing better happening anywhere else.
"The start of my journey with Molly, and our conversion into full-time fans, began on Saturday 20th February 2016 with a 5-0 victory over FC United of Manchester.
"I took Molly because it was a pound in for kids. She wasn’t even into football and went because she had nothing better to do.
"She came out with a £10 scarf, asking when the next match was, and we’ve attended ever since. So much for my cheap day out."
What was it like to be able to go and watch them in person for the first time this season with a crowd last Saturday at home against Forest Green Rovers?
Dave Worton: "It’s great to be back at our second home. It’s not the football experience we know and love because of all the covid restrictions in place, but needs must, and it’s a small step back to normality hopefully.
"We’re still not allowed to travel, and probably won’t be this season. Fingers crossed for next season."
How do you think the rest of the season will go?
Dave Worton: "I’m confident that we will find enough to stay in the Football League, although it’s going to be tough. Mid-table would be success in my eyes.
"But I desperately want us to be in the Football League still at the end of the season, so we can get to see the team at all these grounds next season in the flesh.
"That should be all the incentive the players need! The vaccine can’t come soon enough."
WHERE TO BUY DAVE'S BOOK
'For The Love Not The Glory' book by Dave Worton is available at www.ledastraypress.bigcartel.com, from the Harrogate Town online shop, Books For All on Commercial Street in Harrogate, Oatlands and Pannal Post Offices and Castlegate Books in Knaresborough.
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