Reading between the lines

City boys backing libraries initiative

Matt Grimes and Matt Jay have been supporting a Devon Libraries’ initiative this summer called the Big Read, which has aimed to get as many people as possible reading the same books this summer and talking about them either online or by writing a short review.

The books involved were The Blasphemer by Nigel Farndale and Over the Line, by Tom Palmer.  Both books are linked to the centenary of the First World War and the latter is based on the true story of Jack Cock, a professional footballer who served in that war and survived to resume his professional football career, playing for such clubs as Chelsea and Everton.  This book is intended for young readers and is printed in an accessible format which would suit people with dyslexia.

“Over the Line is a great book – not just for kids but for anyone who is interested in football,” Matt Jay said.  “It’s amazing to think that people like me and Matt could have been in their shoes 100 years ago – playing football and going off to such a horrific war.  It really made me think about people’s sacrifices then.”

Wendy Bloomer, development officer for Devon Libraries, said she was delighted with the response from the players.

“Reading and talking about books often helps us to explore our feelings and wonder what we would do when faced with the same situation as the characters in the book.  By getting the book into such places as Exeter City FC, Stagecoach Bus Station and Middlemoor Police HQ, we hope that many people will experience a really good read and will be encouraged to visit their local library for more,” she said.

As Football in the Community’s education ambassador, Matt Grimes was keen to be involved with the project.  “I think the Big Read is a great idea to get people reading books they normally wouldn’t think about choosing,” he said.  “Like Matty, I have found reading about the First World War fascinating.”

Football in the Community has a few books of each title available if people would like to borrow them – please contact Catherine Fraser on 01392 255611 or email