Monday, February 11, 2008

...millions of 'em and mostly bad...

There are lots of books about football. Like millions. Not all of them good. In fact very few of them are good. Seriously how can they be when people like Wayne Rooney have already published an autobiography. It’s in pretty colours and there are plenty of pictures, (thankfully not too many of him), he even got a chance to learn his abc’s, but he’ll never have McIllvanney concerned though will he?

It hasn’t even got the same notoriety of Cascarino’s or that equally shy and retiring wee man, Merson. Merson's, of course, reads more like Blow than a football autobiography, it’s still not something I’d count as a good football book.

Maybe you do. And each to their own. My old man used to say that opinions are like arseholes. Everybody’s got one. Some are just bigger than others. Still that’s why we’ve got blogs innit? Save talking the ears of people in the boozer.

I’m interested in reading good football fiction. I don’t care what kind of story it’s hung out on, or badly cemented into, so long as it’s good.

The Damned United by David Peace for example is a feckin’ belter. Des Dillon’s Return of the Busby Babes isn’t. Nothing more to say on that one.

Peace’s book, on the other hand, is undoubtedly the best book about football there’s been in a long time. Read it in one sitting. Couldn’t put it down. I’ll do a full review in a future entry - I’d like to feature quality football novels as a regular thing, my only concern being that there won’t be enough of them to make it last.

I’ll be concentrating on fiction, but I don’t mind the odd non-fiction number. In Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano is a blissful run through some classic football moments, Jeff Connor’s Pointless follows East Stirling, the worst team in Scotland, at through another dismal season. It would be magical, if it wasn’t so heartbreaking. And Joe McGinnis’ book The Miracle of Castel Del Sangro is a pasta-fuelled Italian job, played in hail, rain and shine under the shadow of the mob. A good read considering Joe’s relatively late introduction to the game.

If you’re interested or you’ve read something you thought was worth picking up, I’m looking for recommendations. by returning the favour, I hope to help you cut to the chase too.

1 comment:

Paula Weston said...

I've been keen to leave a comment on this blog since it launched, but - being an AFL girl and not (deep breath)a "football" girl - I haven't had much to add. (See, I got through that par without mentioning the dreaded 's' word)

So, instead, I thought I would wade in with a question: what constitutes good football fiction?

Is it good literature that happens to mention football, or a story solely focused on the football, with an element of grace extended about the quality of writing?

Is the verdict based on how well the action is described, or how well football is used as a metaphor?

I think you get where I'm going...