"Written In The Stars - Football, an Armchair and the Search for a Happy Ending"
The world of the armchair football supporter can be a lonely place at the best of times. Surround...
The world of the armchair football supporter can be a lonely place at the best of times. Surrounded by people who don't understand, forced to hover in doorways and to leave the room when the pressure gets too much, enslaved by the need to check your phone every two minutes when out celebrating your partner's birthday or doing the weekly shop, trying to find someone with whom to share your delight at a title-winning victory, whilst alone in a car in a town that doesn't care. If either of these scenario's seem familiar to you then you'll find much to relate to in Written In The Stars, the new book by long-time Chelsea supporter, Richard Stokoe.
Arising from the aftermath of the Champions League final of 2008, the book is the memoir of a man trying to make sense of his obsession with both football and, more specifically, one elusive, iconic and over-sized trophy. Re-tracing his steps from the moment he first played Subbuteo in the mid-1970's, the tale reveals an alternate reality that frequently interrupts what would otherwise be deemed the very definition of a normal life. Anxiety, superstition, infidelity, suspense, drama, and horror compete with a daily routine that, by and large, offers none of those things.
Unusually for a book about football fans, it isn't full of the usual tales of terrace camaraderie and running battles - although there are brushes with both - it is more a recounting of a fan's varied experiences as told through a series of matches, many of which will be familiar to all, and some less so. Most of the games feature Chelsea, but not all, as Stamford Bridge rubs shoulders with Selhurst Park, Kingsmeadow, Colston Avenue, and a variety of suburban living rooms. Lively comparisons are made between football and other forms of entertainment - cinema in particular - and the way in which the author describes his struggle to come to terms with his team's new-found success, after years of frustrating mediocrity, will have fans everywhere either scratching their heads in amused disbelief, or nodding in agreement with a smile on their faces.
The resulting story amounts to both a unique summary of Chelsea's history between 1984 and 2012, and an entertaining account of one man's quest to find a happy ending that he feels sure must have been written already.
Written In The Stars is available in kindle format now.
iBook available 14th August
Paperback available 21st August.
Kindle version available here
Click here for more info.