Generation Game

One Football Club, One Family and a Century of Obsession

Author’s Note

Generation Game is my first book, published in spring 2019 following years of research, false starts, hair tearing, changing circumstances and rewrites galore. Originally solely a family memoir about football fanaticism, I was forced to face and include a child-abuse scandal that has embroiled my club, Crewe Alexandra, since late 2016.

Suddenly I was challenged: could I, a loyal lifelong fan, continue to support a club so tarnished?

That was the agonising dilemma after Barry Bennell, Crewe Alexandra’s youth coach from 1985-92, was convicted of abusing junior players at the club and sentenced to 30 years jail in 2018. The search for an answer became part of the broader story I had already embarked on – trying to understand my family’s obsession with the club and the light it shone on football fanaticism.

This quest was triggered by a fear that my football fixation was threatening a new romantic relationship. A mid-life crisis had left me drifting, alone and childless after a series of failed relationships, stirred only by such crucial news as Crewe’s team selections, transfers and groin strains. My obsession had deepened since the club’s transformation under Dario Gradi, the long-serving manager from 1983-2007. Gradi had turned the perennial fourth division losers into a much admired club that reached England’s second division, producing internationals such as David Platt, Neil Lennon, Robbie Savage, Danny Murphy and Dean Ashton. Just as Gradi had transformed the club, could I transform myself and make this relationship work?


So I investigated the forces that compelled my grandfather, uncle and myself to become such fanatics. Grandfather Harry’s experiences in the First World War trenches, childhood traumas, family rifts and bonds – all emerged as playing a part.

The resulting family memoir moves from 1877 to the present day, and from Crewe to California, on its route to the heart of football fanaticism. It tackles the psychology of fans, their eccentricities, joys and tribulations, and hopefully might make other supporters look at their own passion afresh.

* Anyone who wishes to purchase the book but cannot access, please contact me directly at


Generation Game ended with me awaiting the Sheldon report, the FA’s investigation into child abuse in the sport, including events at Crewe Alexandra. I hoped this document would answer many questions and perhaps enable me to rekindle my lifelong passion for the club, which had been diminished by the scandal and Crewe’s response to it. In early 2019, however, I knew the report might be a long time coming and decided not to wait before publishing. When it finally arrived in 2021 it did indeed provide answers – as well as prompting radical change at the club. Its findings were similar to what I had surmised in the book, but its repercussions would have provided a happier ending. So READ HERE for what, in an ideal world, would have been the final chapter…

"A very moving and captivating read.  They say the sign of a good book is if you don't want to put it down - and I devoured it in one sitting."

The Guardian

"A touching and intriguing football fan memoir. Inspired by a new love, and horrified by a child abuse scandal at his club, Morris plunges back through the history of his family and its town to understand 100 years of pain, loss and devotion."

Author of Brilliant Orange and Those Feet

"At times painfully honest, including about Crewe's child-abuse scandal, Morris admits to using football to hide from bereavement and sorrow much as did his grandfather, damaged by the first world war. This book is as much about male English emotional repression as about football."

Financial Times Summer Books, Best Holiday Reading 2019

Contact Charlie