"Profoundly moving, brilliantly written and beautifully observed, this is a Fever Pitch for our times, a wonderful antidote to the ills of modern football and a reminder of the power for good the game still wields." – Oliver Holt, Chief Sports Writer, The Mail on Sunday

Football may not really be a matter of life and death, but A Love Letter to Football is the story of how the beautiful game can provide joy even in the most difficult of times.

In 2016, Mark Davies was diagnosed with a rare and incurable blood cancer. A lifelong supporter of Middlesbrough Football Club, his devotion to the club and passion for a game so cherished by billions of people has been essential in helping him navigate the uncertainty of diagnosis and treatment. It’s been a fundamental part of his life in other ways too, from dealing with depression to fatherhood, not to mention some of the trials and tribulations of life’s broader challenges.

This honest, funny and entertaining account of a life-changing experience, love for a football club and the way the game has been a bedrock throughout his life underlines that football may not be more important than life and death, but the joy and ecstasy it can bring – even for a Middlesbrough fan – really can help when times are hard. 

More than a book about football, A Love Letter to Football is an antidote to the excesses of the game. It provides hope and inspiration to anyone facing the uncertainty and fear of cancer and seeks to raise awareness about the blood cancer Myeloma. It describes:

  • The fear and uncertainty that come with the diagnosis of a rare and incurable cancer: and how love for a football club made an incalculable difference 
  • How football helped during gruelling chemotherapy, a stem-cell transplant, recovery and remission, and why it can matter so much in so many different ways
  • The rollercoaster recent history of Middlesbrough Football Club through the experiences of a devoted fan as he struggled with depression, cancer and more
  • The extraordinary transformation of the club – from the depths of despair and the threat of extinction, to a major European final – through important games and goals
  • The football community at its best and how it provided support and solidarity, from the Championship club chairman to the heroes at the grassroots of the game

The book features contributions from Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson, ex-manager Neil Warnock and Juninho, the Brazilian who remains a legend on Teesside.

Mark Davies is a writer, journalist and communications professional. He has worked for the BBC, CNN, Liverpool Echo, Liverpool Daily Post and Teesside Evening Gazette. He has written for The Guardian, Daily Telegraph and The Mirror as well as Middlesbrough fan sites.