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Up There: The North East, Football, Boom & Bust (Paperback)


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‘Brilliantly written, thoroughly researched, warm, passionate and funny.’ Harry Pearson, author The Far Corner 

‘An exhaustive and excellent new book about football in the North East.' Newcastle Chronicle

'Excellent and long overdue.' When Saturday Comes

'Carefully researched and thoughtfully structured, Up There is also very well written. Walker is highly skilled at combining the best aspects of short-form journalism (anecdotal details, insightful interviews, concise scene-setting) with a more literary eloquence. ...The style feels perfectly suited to the subject matter, a rather bleak kind of beauty.' Of Pitch & Page

Pages: 302pp. Size: 196mm x 128mm. ISBN: 978-1-909245-34-1. Publication: 22 July 2016.

Featuring a new 2016 update that takes in the two years since the hardback edition, Up There is an examination of football in North-east England, how it came to matter so much and why it matters still despite a formidable lack of success.

Featuring exclusive interviews with Niall Quinn, Sir John Hall, Aitor Karanka and Sam Allardyce among many others, Up There looks at the major North-east clubs’ modern history and also at the culture, industrial and sporting, which saw the game rise to such prominence in the region.

With the local economy altered forever by the removal of shipbuilding and coalmining, Michael Walker asks how the economy and geography of the North-east affects its football clubs and grassroots. In the past a coalmining background provided a torrent of talent, from Bob Paisley to Bobby Charlton, but where is that managerial and playing talent today?

Part travelogue, part social history, part sporting investigation, Up There rediscovers and threads together some of the personalities and events that helped define a region.


Michael Walker first arrived in the north-east as a student in 1984. Ten years later he returned as a football reporter for The Guardian. He has been there ever since working also for The Observer, The Independent and Daily Mail. In 2006 he was commissioned by The Irish Times to write a season-long series on Sunderland, then Irish-owned and with Roy Keane as manager. Those articles formed the germ of the idea of this book.

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