Book Review: Sunday League: A Novel by Christian Flinn
The recent World Cup in Brazil showed what an incredible game football can be as it consistently produced stories that had they been predicted prior to the competition, would have been dismissed as pure fantasy.
So is the premise of a pub-team player getting a shot at appearing in the Premier League really so absurd? This meteoric rise is the central premise of Christian Flinn’s Sunday League: A Novel. Set in North-East England and with central character Danny Milburn telling the story in the first person, readers follow his journey from his local pub team the ‘Coal & Iron’ to Premier League, ‘Newcastle East End’. For ‘East End’ read Newcastle United as Flinn provides references to the team from St James’ Park throughout the book.
The main text of twenty two chapters (251 pages) is enhanced with match reports, school reports and extracts from websites, which add an authenticity to the story. It is also a book that is well observed throughout, whether describing the joys of Sunday league pitches and dressing rooms or a fans match-day routine before and after watching their team. There is a wonderful ‘ordinariness’ about the characters of Danny, his family and friends that connected with me as a reader.
This book could have fallen into cliché and been predictable, but Flinn avoids this with an engaging tale that feels genuine throughout, allied with a humour and integrity that left me with a smile on my face and a good feeling inside.
A cracking début novel from Christian Flinn.