FOOTBALL fans in the Borders are in for a treat tonight Tuesday November 14 as Gala Fairydean Rovers Community Trust host an event entitled ‘Concrete Dreams’ celebrating the Listed stand at Netherdale.

Daniel Gray, one of Britian’s leading football writers will be bringing his unique blend of humour and sporting observation to the club house.

Gray is the author of a number of critically acclaimed books including ‘Stramash: Tackling Scotland’s Towns and Teams’  and ‘Saturday 3PM.’

He also hosts the cult ‘When Saturday Comes’ podcast and edits the Scottish football periodical ‘Nutmeg.’ 

Daniel’s latest work ‘The Silence of the Stands’ – recently longlisted for the prestigious William Hill Prize – sees him explore the impact of Covid restrictions on the game and the fans who bring it to life, including a visit to Netherdale during an easing of lockdown.

The author has a long-running love affair with the club, having first visited in 2015 and later being invited to officially open a new seating area in 2021 after the purchase of seats from his childhood club York City’s condemned Bootham Crescent stadium.

Book Week Scotland, now in its twelfth year, is an annual celebration of books and reading that takes place across the country in November. During Book Week, people of all ages and walks of life come together to share the joy of reading.

Together with Scottish Book Trust's curated programme, partners deliver hundreds of unique, exciting events and activities that celebrate the transformative power of reading. They are joined in this celebration by Scotland’s authors, poets, playwrights, storytellers and illustrators to bring a packed programme of events and projects to life.

Daniel will be joined at the event by Galashiels man and Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award Winner 2023 Craig Aitchison who will read some of his poems inspired by the years he’s spent watching and coaching football at Netherdale.

The event is being organised by football equalities charity Nil by Mouth and Gala Fairydean Rovers Community Trust and starts at 7pm. Light refreshments will be provided.

 Daniel said: ‘When I saw Netherdale, it was love at first sight as it’s just such a beautiful and unique venue to watch football and I’ve had so many good afternoons and evenings at the club since then.

“When I visited as a journalist to cover a game during Covid restrictions I was amazed to see a man who had brought a ladder so he could see over the fence to cheer on the team.

“ I write about him in the book and really hope he can come along on the night so I can present him with a specially signed copy for services to football. Book Week Scotland uses literature to bring people together and celebrate community and I’m delighted to have been invited down to share another evening with the good folk of Galashiels who always go out of their way to make my family and I so welcome when we visit.

“ Every year hundreds of football fans and architecture students make their pilgrimage to the stand and I hope we will be able to capture the essence of this wonderful theatre of concrete dreams on the 14th November.’

Nil by Mouth Director Dave Scott said: ‘There are fewer warmer welcomes in Scottish football than the one you receive at Netherdale and we are delighted to be able to support this event in conjunction with Gala Fairydean Rovers Community Trust.

“Towns need teams and we hope that as many people as possible take the opportunity to enjoy a free event that celebrates sport and place. 

“Daniel is someone who sees the world through kinder eyes and his writing is always laced with amazing little observations about football and life and in Craig Aitchison we have a local boy and rising poetry star performing. It all points to a good night under the lights at Netherdale."