Hinterlands in perspective- the distant and the familiar

My second hinterlands book will be published this autumn but one may wonder why the title ‘Hinterlands’. The term means ‘an area lying beyond what is visible or known’. Non league football clubs are lying beyond what is visible to much of the mainstream press or media and are not recognised, except in passing. But they are visible to many. They are often much closer to people than premier league clubs. Manchester City for example are away from many housing areas.

But take a club like Marine whom I visited in February. So close to houses, shops, cafes and bars, to local business and to public transport and yet not known so much as the many out of town professional clubs. Burton Albion used to be very close to houses in that town but now not so much. Of course I recall a time when the big clubs were close to where people live, like Derby County with their baseball ground close to the back streets, whilst their pride park of the modern era is closer to other users of an industrial park. The clubs that are in the sense ‘hinterlands’ clubs,beyond what is visible or known, are right there under our ‘nose’ – how curious is that.

Maybe the local means less, but at the same time it means more. I go in search of what is not visible because it means more in a sense than the packaged entertainment of the premier league with the ‘same old’ distant yet known clubs, known to ‘us’ in the disney world of the premier world, remote to us in a physical sense. I want what is closer in the real sense, the streets we walk and live on- Hinterlands are curiously, strangely visible, more visible than we know.