Companionship, civic pride and remarkable football match captured in historical novel

TURN back time to the late 19th century to relive moments of companionship, civic pride in Hyde and a remarkable football match thanks to a new historical novel.

Retired teacher turned writer of fiction Brent Shore has self-published Twenty-six Nil, taking readers back to 1885 when the young borough of Hyde had a new town hall and a fledgling football club.

This was a time when Hyde could celebrate being a thriving and confident industrial town, a place where philanthropic mill owners were prepared to invest in new public buildings and support the ambitions of the townsfolk.

Brent Shore

Within two years, Hyde United entered the prestigious FA Cup competition and faced its first ever tie at Deepdale, the home of Preston North End, one of the most formidable teams in England.

The book charts the fortunes of the club from its birth to Preston and beyond. It also tells the story of a schoolmaster whose interest in the team grows to become a deep emotional involvement.

His own development as a character runs parallel to that of the football club, and with humorous observations of Victorian society, the novel is about much more than a football match.

Brent explained: “Twenty-six Nil is more than the retelling of the events of that infamous football match. It also offers a glimpse of life in a busy northern mill town.

“It is a tale of civic pride and companionship, ambition and set backs, and is a heart-warming story of what was an almighty defeat.”

The book is Brent’s sixth and a companion novel to ‘Blessèd are the Meek’, the story of the Hyde Chartists and the Plug Riots of the 1840s, featuring some of the same characters a few years later.

Twenty-six Nil_Cover

It was created using research from the internet and books, including one by local writer and historian Mike Pavasovic about the early days of Hyde United.

Brent, who now lives in Dorset, made two 500-mile round trips back up north to give talks about his new release at Hyde United’s Peter O’Brien Lounge and POP.

He also made sure to watch The Tigers, who he has supported since he was a boy, during his visits to the town.

But he admitted he doesn’t know yet what the subject of his next book will be as each is very different from the last.

“I retired about seven years ago and I’ve written six books so that’s nearly one a year,” he said.

“I’ve not got any more ideas at the moment – but I don’t mind if I never write another word as I’ve enjoyed these ones so much. But I’m sure something will click at the right point!”

• Find out more about Brent Shore’s novels on his website or email

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