Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Why I'm writing a book on a non-league football team's worst season ever.

I saw an article in a writer's magazine about Tom and his plans for Portico, where he mentioned he wanted to publish football books which were from a "different angle". This seemed the perfect description of my true story about teenage obsession with Bromley, my local non-league team, during their abysmal 1969/70 season. No matter how bad things got (and they got incredibly bad, with one disaster following another), my irrational belief in the team never faltered.

I got the idea for the book while watching the World Cup in 2006 and realising that I just didn't care about whether England won or lost. The gap between players and supporters seemed enormous. Can anyone apart from Cheryl Tweedy really feel passionate about Ashley Cole? I felt nostalgic for a time when it was possible to feel as though you were really a part of your team and the players were approachable.

The other thing about non-league teams like Bromley is that they attract a different kind of crowd. You'll always find the uncool, the misfits and the anorak-clad obsessives. People who simply wouldn't have fitted in at the Manchester Uniteds and Arsenals of this world. I wanted to pay tribute to these people as their stories were often a lot more interesting than what was happening on the pitch.

I'd sent the synopsis to four publishers - one turned it down flat, two wanted to see more and the other said he'd have a read when it was finished as "this kind of thing is notoriously difficult to write". None of these approaches came to anything and then I saw the article.

And no, I'm not having to rely totally on memory - I've got match reports from the library and a fellow Bromley Boy kindly lent me the programmes for the entire 1969/70 season, which he'd collected and filed away in chronological order, together with notes on scorers and major incidents. He also sent me his collection of tickets to get into the grounds.

Luckily for me, that's exactly the kind of fan Bromley has always attracted.


Mike said...

Programmes & match tickets ?

Come on...thats not obsessive at all. What about the peice of bandage used to tie up a players socks or the headband worn in 1969 to keep the floopy hair out of the face of the vast, beer bellied, centre half ?

Looking forward to reading more.

Dave said...

But I really did keep a discarded shin pad once. The stuffing had come out after a brutal tackle and the player - one of my heroes - threw it away.