An Ordinary Spectator: 50 Years of Watching Sport

An Ordinary Spectator: 50 Years of Watching Sport

John Rigg


A warm and engaging memoir of half a century's attendance at sports events in Great Britain.

  • ISBN 9781781320051
  • Published Jun 2012
  • Paperback
    244 x 170mm (432 pages)


It is August 1961 and a 6 year-old boy, sitting on his father’s shoulders, is watching a rugby match in south Leeds. He is immediately hooked on the experience of the sporting event, viewed live and in the flesh…

… fast forward to August 2011. A man in late middle age is watching another rugby match.

John Rigg has been an ‘ordinary spectator’ – not only of rugby (league and union), but of football and cricket and a range of other sports – for 50 years.

This book is a warm and engaging memoir of half a century of sports spectating – rugby (union and league), cricket, football and a range of other sports – from Yorkshire to London to Scotland via New York and Sydney (and Minsk!). It is from the perspective of 'an ordinary spectator' paying his way in the stand or on the terrace.

Through its 'Seven Ages of Watching Sport', the book aims to be far more than a simple 'I was there' catalogue of sporting events – major and minor – over the last five decades. Rather, it offers some perceptive insights into what we derive from sports spectating, why we are continually drawn back to watch time and time again, and – from an individual’s perspective – what watching sport tells us about ourselves.

Awards for the Book

An Ordinary Spectator came second in the Adult Non-Fiction category of the 2012 The Wishing Shelf Awards.

It has also been named a finalist in the Memoirs (Other) category of the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins