Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Review: The Bromley Boys

The Bromley Boys: The True Story of Supporting the Worst Football Team in Britain is an affectionate look back at Bromley's 1969 season by lifelong - and somewhat obsessed - fan Dave Roberts.

What makes the book so much more than so many dull football memoirs is character of the narrator himself (and the fact that Bromley were indeed a bit rubbish). Eternally optimistic, a draw or narrow defeat is seen as a sign that good times must be just around the corner. It is this misguided optimism that makes the narrator so endearing - especially when it flies in the face of footballing reality. Newspapers are pored over for details of match reports and he's duly outraged when his team don't feature; a faux-sheepskin football manager's jacket (surely not the the usual Christmas present for the average teenage boy) is worn as a mark of pride and he never forgets to bring his boots to the matches - just in case someone doesn't turn up and he's asked to play.

The book is full of very funny anecdotes that display Roberts' love for his team and the lengths he goes to watch them home and away, and he is joined by a supporting cast of oddball fellow supporters who are all portrayed with affection and warmth.

It's a tribute to the author that he can look back at his teenage self and not only recognise exactly how obsessed he was but can put it down on paper 'warts and all' with openness and genuine nostalgia for a more innnocent time.

Funny, well-written and very honest, The Bromley Boys is for anyone who has ever supported a football team - especially if they were useless.