Book Review: Wings of a Sparrow by Dougie Brimson
As football fans we love our club with a passion. We also have by tradition, rivals; the team we love to hate, the one that we love to see struggle, the one that by beating brings boundless joy and local bragging rights. But what would you do if you found yourself in charge of the enemy, as Chairman of your bitterest rivals?
In his latest offering Wings of a Sparrow, Dougie Brimson uses this unusual premise as the main stay of the plot. Central character Rob Cooper is a fanatical United fan, and editor of the club fanzine Wings of a Sparrow. His beloved team play in the Championship whilst “…the scummers…” City struggle along playing in League Two. Through an inheritance, Cooper finds himself thrust into the position of City Chairman along with a luxury lifestyle and six million pounds. However, before he can get his hands on the money, Cooper is hit with a clause that causes a massive dilemma. In order for Rob, his wife Jane and son Charlie to have a millionaire fuelled future, City have to better the points total of the previous season. Suddenly, Rob is weighed down with a choice between sticking to his tribal football instinct and destroying his nemesis or seeing them thrive through his endeavours and so provide a future for his family of indulgence and extravagance.
Brimson brings all his knowledge as a football aficionado to the table and provides an authentic voice through Rob in both in terms of the support of your team and of them. Throughout the book, the tone and language is unashamedly Brimson at his bloke-ish best and with comedy that has the satirical and waspish tones and observations of Tom Sharpe. However, don’t think that this is just another geezer’s tale and the world of football. As the book develops the emotional journey for Rob and his family is interwoven with the fortunes of City and is convincingly portrayed, adding a bittersweet thread to the story. Yes this book is comedic, yes football provides the backdrop, but ultimately it is about what doing what we believe to be right. Looks like another winner from the Brimson stable.