Fever Pitch


Football, or soccer to use the American spelling, was invented by the devil with the sole intention of tormenting me personally. The same is true of people who talk about football, books about football and films about football. Nick Hornby wrote a novel called Fever Pitch about this abominable pastime, which, to add insult to injury was then turned into a film. Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to interview Mr Hornby and to see how he might go about trying to exonerate himself. Invariably, I always imagine that during the interview both Hornby and I speak in verse (with extra servings of enjambment). Here is one hypothetical encounter:

A.R.: Is the film called Fever Pitch

Because the experience of watching it

Is like having malaria?

N.H.: No,

It is called Fever Pitch

Because it is exciting

And because I did

A pun

On football pitch


A.R.: What is it


N.H.: It is about a man

Who loves football

More than life itself.

A.R.: Why?

N.H.: I didn’t think

About that.

A.R.: Do you love


More than life itself?

N.H.: Sometimes

A.R.: Is that because

Your life is


And obscene?

N.H.: No. I live a very

Fulfilled life,

Thank you.

A.R.: Prove it.

N.H.: I can’t

A.R.: What else

Happens in

Fever Pitch?

N.H.: The man

Lets his dog

Starve to death


He is watching

A football game


A.R.: What else?

N.H.: His team loses

So he shouts

At his mum


A.R.: Then what happens?

N.H.: His team wins

So he exclaims ‘Heil Hitler!’


A.R.: Then what?

N.H.: He finds

A magical football

Shirt that enables him

To play like George

Best. He is Headhunted

by Manchester United.

Much humour

And drama

Arises therefrom.

A.R.: Really?

N.H.: No. I

Made up that last bit

To make the film

Sound more interesting

Than it actually is.


4 Responses to “Fever Pitch”

  1. Nobody Says:

    I think the most Baptistique thing about the Fever Pitch movie is that the featured sport was changed from football to baseball.

    Cricket to baseball would at least be conceivable, but the thorough dissimilarity between soccer and baseball makes it sound more like an Agorophobic fantasy of the ultimate Hollywood adaptation than an actual studio decision. I hope this means we will soon be seeing the untold history of Milk on the big screen.

  2. johnlebaptiste Says:

    There was an English adaptation too, with old Fitzwilliam Darcy himself playing the deranged principal character. I’m told.

    I know what you mean about the dissimilarity. It would have been best if they would have changed it to polo or showjumping and called it ‘Horse Fever’. I’d see a film called ‘Horse Fever’

  3. oldrope Says:

    I have a copy of Horse Fever on DVD that your mum lent me down the boozer last Friday. To be honest there were stains all over the disk and my player struggled with it. Given that the box had an X on it, I can only assume it was exempt from classification and therefore of some sort of educational value.

    Also, at the risk of being labeled a pedant, you have confused the plot of Fever Pitch with High Fidelity. An easy mistake to make since Hornby used exactly the same words in the same order for the ‘novels’ and so I imagine the films are remarkably similar. Not that I have read or watched either (or all four)

  4. johnlebaptiste Says:

    That wasn’t my dear old mum, that was a Norman Bates-esque projection of your own mind. You know, Norman Bates, from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

    Oi, Old Rope. When are you going to make good on your promise to the readers of this blog and write an entry for it. We’re waiting with baited breath that no amount of Listerine can dissipate.

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