Tuesday, 18 September 2007

The original synopsis

This was the synopsis I sent to Portico in early February:


it's a true story about supporting Bromley, a perennially underachieving non-league team during their infamous 1969-1970 season which was one of the worst on record.

The results of their first 5 games were 0-5, 1-4, 1-6, 0-8 and 1-6. The last 18 games were lost, apart from a draw in the Kent Senior Cup. Bromley lost the replay.

It's about shifting hopes and expectations, which were constantly revised downwards. Eventually, a defeat by less than 3 goals was considered a triumph.

Throughout these dark days of appalling football played out to ever-decreasing crowds, two fans were ever-present. Me at 14, full of passion for the team which had done nothing but let me down, and a solitary figure in his mid teens, who was always on his own behind the goal, cup of tea in one hand, cigarette in the other.He was immediately identifiable by his trench coat and long ginger hair and was known only as The Grubby. Eventually, The Grubby and I would form an unlikely friendship.

This book is about how football prepared us for life by teaching us that if you expect the worst to happen, you won't be disappointed.

It's about how failure was such a part of our lives that a Sunday league team formed by a core of Bromley supporters was even worse than the team they supported. Losing a game 21-0 to 10 men was a game I still remember vividly.

It's about flirting unsuccessfully with football hooliganism.

It's about being the only Bromley supporter in a school full of Arsenal fans.

It's about total obsession with my team - like trying to persuade my dad to move to Downham, so we could have our mail delivered by Pat Brown, the star centre half whose day job was postman. And always taking my boots and shin pads to away games in my duffel bag, just in case a player or two got lost on the way or had a car crash.

I saw all but two of those 47 games league, cup and friendly games that season - starting with the pre-season West Ham fixture, where I slightly overestimated the interest in the game and turned up at 8 am to be sure of a seat. No-one else arrived until 1.25.

Bromley weren't just bad, they were awful. They were locked in a perpetual struggle with Corinthian Casuals to avoid bottom place. Casuals were a bizarre team. Not only were their shirts pink and chocolate quarters, but they stuck to a charmingly outmoded ideal of playing the game for the love of it and were resolutely amateur. As you'd imagine, this didn't help them attract the best players.

This is the opposite of Fever Pitch. This is about being cursed with a local team of relentless ineptitude, yet being unable to stop loving them.

It should particularly appeal to the baby boomers who are fed up with big money Premiership prima donnas, and the greed and cynicism which has become part of the game.


I'm Dave Roberts, a 51 year old advertising copywriter who worked in Leeds and Manchester, before moving to New Zealand in the 1980s.
I have written two books - the first, an "as told to" cricket book, and another called ' e-luv- an internet romance' ( published by Friday Books ) , which is currently part of the Waterstone's Valentine's Day promotion.

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