I picked this book up because a mate of mine hovered around the edges of Bromley’s first team many years ago (as a player that is. Not a stalker). I wasn’t aware that Dave Roberts had already documented his love affair with one of south London’s less finer clubs in “Bromley Boys”, which also became a film. As books go, it’s very much a read of two halves.
The premise is simple enough – starting in 1968, would the 14 year old Roberts ever see his team make it to Wembley? What would the next 50 years reveal? Well, at the risk of being a little unkind, it suggests that whilst the barrel wasn’t being scraped, it had certainly been heavily plumbed for “Bromley Boys” and “Home and Away” which charts his travels to non league grounds around the country.
Here and there it’s quite funny, and it’s always very self aware and depreciating- in fact at times too much so. The quirks of the hardcore fans, the dismal rivalries and the idiosyncrasies of non-league grounds, the mug collecting are bought to life and will raise a smile with anyone whose watched a sport away from the glamour of the spotlight.
However, the central problem for me is that for a significant proportion of the story, Roberts is living thousands of miles away from Bromley and relies upon Twitter and YouTube to follow his team, having told his early years as a supporter already. This made me curious about the life events that had caused Roberts to live so far afield, but parents, wives and children are only mentioned in passing as and when the story needs it. I found myself unengaged by the long distance supporting stories, and denied the personal story that sounded more interesting.
“Bromley Boy” seems a well regarded book (less so as a film), so that may be a better place to start.
Length of Read:Medium
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Jumpers for goalposts
One thing you’ve learned
Never pass the ball across your own penalty area