Jim Taylor’s obsession with football might well be about to cost him his job. The angry, youthful narrator of “Beastmouse” is mentally scarred by the injustices his favourite team has suffered. What if the Russian millionaire who flies in to rescue Leeds United is not who he seems?
Sports fiction is a relatively new genre and football writing is perhaps its best vehicle of expression since it is rooted in the lives of so many people. Although it is a truism that football reflects life, what makes the statement actually true in the case of Doolally is that the central viewpoint belongs to that of the supporter not player – and supporters feel the emotions more. The foreword is by Ardal O’Hanlon, renowned comedian with starring roles in “Father Ted” and “My Hero”, and an avid Leeds United fan. The book is centred around a passion for Leeds United, hence personal contributions from Neil Jeffries editor of Leeds, Leeds, Leeds, and Leeds supporters lan Payne of Sky TV and Peter Davies of Africa’s premier sports website Supersports.
Yet, although Doolally first developed out of the Leeds Football Writers group’s commitment to innovative writing, it is about much more than Leeds. The theme of football fans being doolally mad in some way or other is universal. A variety of pieces and genres tests again and again the stereotype of the average football fan and questions not just why people go to football matches but what really matters in their lives. The madness of the comeback by Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League Final is seen from a neutrals perspective and sits side by side with the Saturday ritual of a Newcastle United fan.
This book is sparky, quirky, and lively. An original anthology of writing which will appeal to all football fans.
Edited by David Gill
PDG Books Ltd
Review by the Editor